Beatles’ fans will enjoy a web site that has compiled interviews from the Fab Four between 1962 and 1984. Here’s a taste of John. You can find the link at the bottom.
Penthouse magazine September 1984 – “Paul was always upset about the White Album. He never liked it because on that one I did my music, he did his, and George did his. And first, he didn’t like George having so many tracks. He wanted it to be more a group thing, which really means more Paul. So he never liked that album, and I always preferred it to all the other albums, including Pepper, because I thought the music was better. The Pepper myth is bigger, but the music on the White Album is far superior, I think.”
“Rubber Soul was our pot album, and Revolver was acid. I mean, we weren’t all stoned making Rubber Soul because in those days we couldn’t work on pot. We never recorded under acid or anything like that. It’s like saying, ‘Did Dylan Thomas write Under Milk Wood on beer?’ What the fuck does that have to do with it? The beer is to prevent the rest of the world from crowding in on him. The drugs are to prevent the rest of the world from crowding in on you. They don’t make you write better. I never wrote any better stuff because I was on acid or not on acid.”
“The acid thing in America was going on long before Pepper. Leary was going around saying, ‘Take it, take it, take it.’ We followed his instruction. I did it just like he said in the Book Of The Dead, and then I wrote Tomorrow Never Knows,’ which is on Revolver, and which was almost the first acid song — ‘Lay down all thought, surrender to the void’.”
U.K. underground newspaper Red Mole in 1971 – “I was pleased when the movement in America took up ‘Give Peace a Chance’ because I had written it with that in mind really. I hoped that instead of singing ‘We shall overcome’ from 1800 or something, they would have something contemporary. I felt an obligation even then to write a song that people would sing in the pub or on a demonstration. That is why I would like to compose songs for the revolution now.”
Playboy 1981 – Q: You don’t agree that the Beatles created the best rock ‘n roll that’s been produced?”
“I don’t. The Beatles, you see… I’m too involved in them artistically. I cannot see them objectively. I cannot listen to them objectively. I’m dissatisfied with every record the Beatles ever fucking made. There ain’t one of them I wouldn’t remake… including all the Beatles records and all my individual ones. So I cannot possibly give you an assessment of what the Beatles are.
“When I was a Beatle, I thought we were the best fucking group in the god-damned world. And believing that is what made us what we were… whether we call it the best rock ‘n roll group or the best pop group or whatever. But you play me those tracks today and I want to remake every damn one of them. There’s not a single one… I heard ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ on the radio last night. It’s abysmal, you know. The track is just terrible. I mean, it’s great, but it wasn’t made right, know what I mean? But that’s the artistic trip, isn’t it? That’s why you keep going. But to get back to your original question about the Beatles and their music, the answer is that we did some good stuff and we did some bad stuff.”
Q: Many people feel that none of the songs Paul has done alone match the songs he did as a Beatle. Do you honestly feel that any of your songs on the Plastic Ono Band records will have the lasting imprint of ‘Eleanor Rigby’ or ‘Strawberry Fields’?”
“‘Imagine,’ ‘Love’ and those Plastic Ono Band songs stand up to any song that was written when I was a Beatle. Now, it may take you 20 or 30 years to appreciate that, but the fact is, if you check those songs out, you will see that it is as good as any fucking stuff that was ever done.”
Rolling Stone 1981 (three days before his death) – “All we need is love. I believe it. It’s damn hard, but I absolutely believe it. We’re not the first to say, ‘Imagine no countries’ or ‘Give peace a chance,’ but we’re carrying that torch, like the Olympic torch, passing it from hand to hand, to each other, to each country, to each generation. That’s our job. We have to conceive of an idea before we can do it.”
“I’ve never claimed divinity. I’ve never claimed purity of soul. I’ve never claimed to have the answer to life. I only put out songs and answer questions as honestly as I can, but only as honestly as I can — no more, no less. I cannot live up to other people’s expectations of me because they’re illusionary.”
“I’m older now. I see the world through different eyes. I still believe in love, peace and understanding, as Elvis Costello said, and what’s so funny about love, peace and understanding?”