OK, we're on. Why don't we begin by ...
yeah, let's do that.
sounds like fun, but just for fun, why don't we do an *interview*
that's a fine idea. I wish I'd thought of that.
shall we ask you for your first question?
those Bunny girls ...
comment. Let's start over. Ringo, you're the last Beatle to join
the group, aren't you?
long were you guys together as a team before Ringo joined up?
John: A few
years probably, sort of off and on, really, for three years or
but really amateur.
local pub, you know. And in each other's uncle's houses.
at George's brother's wedding. Things like that. Ringo used to
fill in sometimes if our drummer was ill. With his periodic illness.
took little pills to make him ill.
you joined the others, Ringo, they weren't quite as big as they
are now, were they?
were the biggest thing in Liverpool. In them days that was big
is a point we've made before. Some people say that a man is made
of muscle and blood ... no, they don't. They say, 'How come you've
suddenly been able to adjust to fame, you know, to nationwide
fame and things?' It all started quite nicely with us, you see,
in our own sphere, where we used to play-in Liverpool. We never
used to play outside it, except when we went to Hamburg. Just
those two circles. And in each of them, I think we were round
the highest paid, and probably at the time the most popular. So
in actual fact we had the same feeling of being famous then as
we do now.
were recognized then, too, only people didn't chase us about.
it just grew. The quantity grew, not the *quality* of the feeling.
did you know that you had really hit it big? There must have been
one night when you knew it had really begun.
we'd been playing round in Liverpool for a bit without getting
anywhere, trying to get work, and the other groups kept telling
us, 'You'll do all right, you'll get work someday.' And then we
went to Hamburg, and when we came back, suddenly we were a wow.
Mind you, 70 percent of the audience thought we were a *German*
wow, but we didn't care about that.
Paul: We were
billed in the paper: 'From Hamburg-The Beatles'.
John: In Liverpool,
people didn't even know we were from Liverpool. They thought we
were from Hamburg. They said, 'Christ, they speak good English!'
Which we did, of course, being English. But that's when we first,
you know, stood there being cheered the first time.
was when we felt we were ...
on the way up ...
gonna make it in Liverpool ...
much were you earning then?
that particular night, 20 dollars.
the *group*! Hell, we used to work for a lot less than that.
Paul: We used
to work for about three or four dollars a night.
all the Coke we could drink. And we drank a lot.
you remember the first journalist who came to see you and said,
'I want to write about you?'
went round to *them* at first, didn't we?
John: We went
and said, 'We're a group and we've got this record out. Will you
then the door would slam.
heard it said that when you first went to America you were doubtful
that you'd ever make it over there.
true. We didn't think we were going to make it at all. It was
only Brian telling us we were gonna make it. And George. Brian
Epstein, our manager, and George Harrison.
knew we had a good chance - because of the record sales over there.
thing is, in America it just seemed ridiculous - I mean, the idea
of having a hit record over there. It was just, you know, something
you could never do. That's what I thought, anyway. But then I
realized that it's just the same as here, that kids everywhere
all go for the same stuff. And seeing we'd done it in England
and all, there's no reason why we couldn't do it in America, too.
But the American disc jockeys didn't know about British records;
they didn't play them, nobody promoted them, and so you didn't
there were one or two doing it as a novelty.
it wasn't until Time and Newsweek came over and wrote articles
and created an interest in us that the disc jockeys started playing
our records. And Capitol said, 'Well, can we have their records?'
You know, they had been offered our records years ago, and they
didn't want them. But when they heard we were big over here they
said, 'Can we have 'em now?' So we said, 'As long as you promote
them.' So Capitol promoted, and with them and all those articles
on us, the records just took off.
been some dispute, among your fans and critics, about whether
you're primarily entertainers or musicians - or perhaps neither.
What's your own opinion?
money-makers first; then we're entertainers.
are we, then?
we were entertainers before we were money-makers.
right, of course. It's just the press drivels you into it, so
you say it cause they like to hear it, you know?
we'd be idiots to say that it isn't a constant inspiration to
be making a lot of money. It always is, to anyone. I mean, why
do big business tycoons *stay* big business tycoons? It's not
because they're inspired at the greatness of big business; they're
in it because they're making *money* at it. We'd be idiots if
we pretended we were in it solely for kicks. In the beginning
we were, but at the same time, we were hoping to make a bit of
cash. It's a switch around now, though, from what it used to be.
We used to be doing it mainly for kicks and not making a lot of
money, and now we're making money without too many kicks - except
we happen to like the money we're making. But we still enjoy making
records, going onstage, making films, and all that business.
John: We *love*
every minute of it, Beatle people!
hard-bitten refugees from the Liverpool slums - according to heart-rending
fan magazine biographies-do you feel prepared to cope with all
this sudden wealth?
managed to make the adjustment. Contrary to rumor, you see, none
of us were brought up in any slums or in great degrees of poverty.
We've always had enough; we've never been starving.
we say those articles in the American fan mags that 'Those boys
struggled up from the slums ...'
never starved. Even Ringo hasn't.
kind of families do you come from?
you know, not rich. Just workin' class. They've got jobs. Just
does your father do?
he doesn't do anything now. He used to be a bus driver ...
John: In the
you have any sisters or brothers, George?
got two brothers.
no sisters to speak of.
about you, Paul?
got one brother, and a father who used to be a cotton salesman
down in New Orleans, you know. That's probably why I look a bit
tanned. But seriously, folks, he occasionally had trouble paying
bills - but it was never, you know, never, 'Go out and pick blackberries,
son; we're a bit short this week.'
about you, John?
just the same. I used to have an auntie. And a dad whom I couldn't
lived with the Mounties.
the Mounties. They fed me well. I didn't starve.
about *your* family, Ringo, old man?
workin' class. I was brought up with my mother and me grandparents.
And then she married me stepfather when I was 13. All the time
she was working. I never starved. I used to get most things.
I never starved. She always fed me. I was an only child, so it
quite fashionable in some circles in America to hate your parents.
But none of you seem to.
probably just as against the things our parents liked or stood
for as they are in America. But we don't hate our parents for
often exactly the opposite in America.
you know, a lot of Americans are unbalanced. I don't care what
you say. No, really. A lot of them are quite normal, of course,
but we've met many unbalanced ones. You know the type of person,
the political Whig.
do you mean?
know-the professional politician type; in authority sort of thing.
Some of them are just mad! And I've met some really *maniac* American
girls! Like this girl who walked up to me in a press conference
and said, 'I'm Lily.' I said, 'Hello, how do you do?' and she
said, 'Doesn't my name * mean * anything to you?' I said, 'Ah,
no ...' and I thought, 'Oh God, it's one of these people that
you've met and you should know.' And so Derek, or press agent,
who happened to be there at the time, hanging over my shoulder,
giving me quotes, which happens at every press conference ...
better not say that.
Paul: Oh yes,
that's not true, Beatle people! But he was sort of hanging about,
and he said, 'Well, did you ring, did you write, or something?'
And she said, 'No.' and he said, 'Well, how did you get in touch
with Paul? How do you know him?' And she said, 'Through God.'
I mean, we both sort of gulped and blushed. I said, 'Well, that's
very nice, Lily. Thanks very much. I must be off now.'
wasn't a big lightning bolt from the sky?
there wasn't. But I talked to her afterward, and she said she'd
got a vision from God and God had said to her ...
been a hard day's night." (laughter)
God had said, 'Listen, Lil, Paul is waiting for you; he's in love
with you and he wants to marry you, and he'll know you right away.'
It's very funny, you know. I was trying to persuade her that she
didn't in actual fact have a vision from God, that it was ...
was probably someone *disguised* as God.
wouldn't hardly ever meet someone like that in England, but there
seemed to me to be a lot like her in America.
there are a lot more *people* in America, so you've got a much
bigger group to get nutters from.
Speaking of nutters, do you ever wake up in the morning, look
in the mirror and say, 'My God, I'm a Beatle'?
not quite. (laughter)
we only do it in each other's company. I know I never do it anymore.
used to do it more. We'd get in the car, I'd look over at John
and say, 'Christ, look at you, you're a bloody phenomenon!' and
just laugh-cause it was only him, you know. And a few old friends
of ours done it, from Liverpool. I'd catch 'em looking at me,
and I'd say, 'What's the matter with you?' It's just daft, them
just screaming and laughing, thinking I'm one of them people.
thing that makes *me* know we've made it is like tonight, when
we slipped into a sweet shop. In the old days we could have just
walked into a sweet shop and nobody would have noticed us. We
would have just got our sweets and gone out. But tonight we just
walked in-and the people just dropped their sweets. Before, you
see, there would have been no reaction at all. Except possibly,
'Look at that fellow with the long hair. Doesn't he look daft?'
But nowadays they're just amazed; they can't believe it. But actually
we're no different.
problem is that you don't seem to be like real people. You're
Paul: I know.
It's very funny, that.
all the publicity.
taken in by it, too. Because *we* react exactly the same way to
the stars *we* meet. When we meet people we've seen on telly or
films, we still think, 'Wow!'
a good thing, because we still get just as tickled. Paul: The
thing is that people, when they see you on TV and in magazines
and up in a film, and hear you on the radio, they never expect
to meet you, you know, even our fans. Their wish is to meet you,
but in the back of their mind they never think they're actually
gonna meet us. And so, when they *do* meet us, they just don't
do they usually find you-hiding in your hotel rooms?
on the street, usually.
mean you're brave enough to venture out in the streets without
always on the streets. Staggering about.
catch John sleeping in the gutter occasionally.
people see you in the street, do you ever have any action?
not really, because when you're walking about, you don't bump
into groups of people, as a rule.
you even go out shopping without getting mobbed by them, individually
John: We avoid
mountain comes to Mohammed.
shop comes to us, as he says. But sometimes we just roll into
a store and buy the stuff and leg out again.
that like looking for trouble?
we walk four times faster than the average person.
you eat safely in restaurants? George: Sure we can. I was there
the other night. John: Where?
Paul: Of course
we're *known* in the restaurants we go in.
usually it's only Americans that'll bother you.
If we go into a restaurant in London, there's always going to
be a couple of them eating there; you just tell the waiter to
hold them off if they try to come over. If they come over anyway,
you just sign.
you know, the restaurants I go to, probably if I wasn't famous,
I wouldn't go to them. Even if I had the same money and wasn't
famous I wouldn't go to them, because the people that go to them
are drags. The good thing when you go to a place where the people
are such drags, such snobs, you see, is that they won't bother
to come over to your table. They pretend they don't even know
who you are, and you get away with an easy night.
they think they're laughing at us, but really we're laughing at
them. Cause we know they know who we are.
not going to be like the rest and ask for autographs.
if they do, we just swear at them.
*I* don't, Beatle people. I sign the autograph and thank them
profusely for coming over and offer them a piece of my chop.
John: If we're
in the middle of a meal, I usually say, "Do you mind waiting
till I'm finished?"
then we keep eating until they give up and leave.
not true, Beatle people!
from these occupational hazards, are you happy in your work? Do
you really enjoy getting pelted by jelly beans and being drowned
out by thousands of screaming subteenagers?
still find it exciting.
you know ...
a while, you begin to get used to it, you know.
you really get *used* to it?
you still get excited when you go onto a stage and the audience
is great, you know. But obviously you're not as excited as as
you were when you first heard that one of your records had reached
number one. I mean, you really go *wild* with excitement then;
you go out drinking and celebrating and things.
we just go out drinkin' anyway.
you stick pretty much together offstage?
yes and no. Groups like this are normally not friends, you know;
they're just four people out there thrown together to make an
act. There may be two of them who sort of go off and are friends,
you know, but ...
what do you mean by that?
platonic, of course. But we're all rather *good* friends, as it
you do see a good deal of one another when you're not working?
you know, it depends. We needn't always go to the same places
together. In earlier days, of course, when we didn't know London,
and we didn't know anyone *in* London, then we really did stick
together, and it would be like four fellows down from the north
on a coach trip. But nowadays, you know, we've got our own girlfriends
- they're in London - so that we each normally go out with our
girlfriends on our days off. Except for John, of course, who's
any of the rest of you have plans to settle down?
Paul: I haven't
and I are gettin' married.
each other. But that's a thing you'd better keep secret.
better not tell anybody.
mean, if we said something like that, people'd probably think
we were queers. After all, that's not the sort of thing you can
put in a reputable magazine like Playboy. And anyway, we don't
want to start the rumor going.
better change the subject, then. Do you remember the other night
when this girl came backstage ...
not. And she said ...
been a hard day's night."
she pointed at you, George, and said, "There1s a Beatle!"
And you others said, "That's George." and she said,
"No, its a Beatle."
you said, "This way to the bedroom."
it was, "Would you like us to introduce you to him?"
John: I like
my line better.
the point is that she didn't believe there was such a thing as
an actual Beatle *person*.
right, you know.
you run across many like her?
there any other kind?
John: In America,
some of those American girls have been great.
Baez is good, yeah, very good.
the only one I like.
Jayne Mansfield. Playboy made her.
a bit different, isn't she? *Different*.
she's a clot.
Paul, the god of the Beatles.
Paul: I didn't
mean it, Beatle people! Actually, I haven't even met her. But
you won't print that anyway, of course, because Playboy is very
*pro* Mansfield. They think she's a rave. But she really is an
the way, what are Beatle people?
something they use in the fan mags in America. They all start
out, "Hi there, Beatle people, 'spect you're wondering what
the Fab Foursome are doing these days!" Now we use it all
the time, too.
I mean, you know, there's nothing wrong with that. It's harmless.
of low level journalese, there was a comment in one of the London
papers the other that paralleled you guys to Hitler. Seriously!
It said you have the same technique of drawing cheers from the
power isn't so much us being like Hitler; it's that the audience
and the show have got sort of, you know, a Hitler *feel* about
them, because the audience will shout when they're told to. That's
what the critic was talking about. Actually, that article was
one which I got really annoyed about, cause she's never even met
woman who wrote it. She's never met us, but she's dead against
us. Like that Hitler bit. And she said we were very boring people.
"The Boresome Foursome", she called us. You know, this
woman was really just shouting her mouth off about us - as people,
*you* come on. I ran up the newspaper, you know, but they wouldn't
let me speak to her. In actual fact, they said, "Well, I'll
tell you, the reason we don't give her phone number out is because
she never likes to speak to people on the phone because she's
got a terrible stutter." So I never did actually follow it
up. Felt sorry for her. But I mean, the cheek of her, writing
this damn article about us. And telling everyone how we're starting
riots, and how we're such bores - and she's never even met us,
mind you! I mean, we could turn around and say the same about
her! I could go and thump her!
do *you* feel about the press? Has your attitude changed in the
last year or so?
Playboy: In what way?
Ringo: I hate
'em now more than I did before.
you hear about the riot in Glasgow on the night of your last show
John: We heard
about it after.
you know that the next day there was a letter that accused you
of directly *inciting* the violence?
can we say that? We don1t even wiggle. It's not bloody fair.
is like Belfast. There'll probably be a skirmish there, too. But
it's not because of us. It's because people in certain cities
just hate the cops more than in other cities.
were ridiculous riots last time we were there - but it wasn't
riots for us. The crowd was there for us, but the riots after
our show ...
the drunks come out, out of the pubs.
it was just beatin' up coppers.
just used the occasion as a pretext to get at the cops?
Paul: In Dublin
this trip, did you see where the crowd sort of stopped all the
traffic? They even pulled a driver out of a bus.
also called out the fire brigade. We had four engines this time.
it's vaguely related, I suppose. It's got *something* to do with
it, inasmuch as the crowds happen to be there because of our show.
nobody who's got a bit of common sense would seriously think that
15-year-old girls are going round smashing shop windows on account
not. Those girls are *eight* years old.
talk of violence leads to a related question. Do you think there'll
be another war soon?
Ringo: I hope
not. Not just after we1ve got our money through the taxes.
trouble is, if they do start another war, then everybody goes
you think the Rolling Stones will be the first to go?
Paul: It won't
matter, because we'll probably be in London or Liverpool at the
time, and when they drop the bomb, it'll be in the middle of the
city. So we probably won't even know it when it happens.
brought this up for a reason, fellows. There was an essay not
long ago in a very serious commentary magazine, saying that before
every major war in this century, there has been a major wave of
public hysteria over certain specific entertainers. There was
the Irene Castle craze before World War I ...
remember that well.
then, before World War II, there was the swing craze, with Benny
Goodman and Artie Shaw, and all the dancing in the aisles. And
now *you* - before ...
on! It's not our fault!
not saying you may have anything to do with inciting a war ...
don't you think you may be a symptom of the times, part of an
undercurrent that's building up?
sort of comparison just falls down when you look at it, really.
It's just like saying that this morning a fly landed on my bed
and I looked at my watch and it was eight o' clock, and that therefore
every morning at eight o' clock flies land on the bed. It doesn't
prove anything just cause it happens a few times.
move on to another observation about you. Did you know that the
Duke of Edinburgh was recently quoted as saying he thought you
were on your way out?
comment. See my manager.
Paul: He didn't
say it, though. There was a retraction, wasn't there?
we got a telegram. Wonderful news.
we sent one back. Addressed to "Liz and Phil".
you ever met the Queen?
she's the only one we haven't met. We've met all the others.
a good lad, though.
you like to meet him?
really. Not more than anyone else.
Paul: I dunno.
Somebody like that you wish you could have met when he was really
at his peak, you know, and sort of doing things and being great.
But there wouldn't be a lot of point now, because he's sort of
gone into retirement and doesn't do a lot of things anymore.
there any other celebrity you *would* like to meet?
Paul: I wouldn't
mind meeting Adolf Hitler.
could have every room in your home papered.
you like to meet Princess Margaret?
Paul: We have.
how do you like her?
And Philip's OK, too.
after what he supposedly said about you?
Ringo: I don't
care what he said; I still think he's OK. He didn't say anything
about me personally.
if he *had* said things about us, it doesn't make him worse, you
of royalty ...
never condemns anything unless it's something that they know everybody
I was royal ...
Paul: If I
was royal I would crack long jokes and get a mighty laugh. If
I was royal.
guys seem to be pretty irreverent characters. Are any of you churchgoers?
particularly. But we're not antireligious. We probably seem to
be antireligious because of the fact that none of us believe in
John: If you
say you don't believe in God, everybody assumes you're antireligious,
and you probably think that's what we mean by that. We're not
quite sure *what* we are, but I know we're more agnostic than
you speaking for the group or just yourself?
our official religious spokesman.
Paul: We all
feel roughly the same. We're all agnostics.
people are, anyway.
better to admit it than to be a hypocrite.
only thing we1ve got against religion is the hypocritical side
of it, which I can't stand. Like the clergy is always moaning
about people being poor, while they themselves are all going around
with millions of quid worth of robes on. That's the stuff I can't
Paul: A new
bronze door stuck on the Vatican.
have cost a mighty penny.
believe it or not, we1re not anti-Christ.
anti-Pope and anti-Christian.
you know, in America ...
were more shocked by us saying we were agnostics.
went potty; they couldn't take it. Same as in Australia, where
they couldn't stand us not liking sports.
Paul: In America
they're fanatical about God. I know someone over there who said
he was an atheist. The papers nearly refused to print it because
it was such shocking news that someone could actually be an atheist.
Yeah, and admit it.
speaks for all of us.
bring up another topic that's shocking to some, how do you feel
about the homosexual problem?
yeah, well, we're all homosexuals too.
we're all queer.
don't tell anyone.
seriously, is there more homosexuality in England than elsewhere?
you saying there's more over here than in America?
just that they've got crewcuts in America. You can't spot 'em.
probably a million more queers in America than in England. England
has its scandals - like Profumo and all - but at least they're
we do have more than our share of queers, don'1t you think?
Paul: It seems
that way because there are more printed about them over here.
they find out that somebody is a bit bent, the press will always
splash it about.
Take Profumo, for example. He's just an ordinary ...
just an ordinary fellow who sleeps with women. Yet it's adultery
in the eyes of the law, and it's an international incident. But
in actual fact, if you check up on the statistics, you find that
there are hardly *any married* men who've been completely faithful
to their wives.
have! Listen, Beatle people ...
right, we know John's spotless. But when a thing like that gets
into the newspapers, everybody goes very, very, Puritan, and they
pretend they don't know what sex is about.
get so bloody virtuous all of a sudden.
and some poor heel has got to take the brunt of the whole thing.
But in actual fact, if you ask the average Briton what they really
think of the Profumo case, they'd probably say, "He was knockin1
off some bird. So what?"
you1ve met Mandy Rice-Davies, haven1t you?
are you looking at *me* for?
we hear she was looking at *you*.
John: We did
meet Christine Keeler.
tell you who *I* met. I met what's-her-name - April Ashley.
John: I met
her too, the other night.
she the one who used to be a man, changed her sex and married
into the nobility?
swears at me, you know. But when she sobers up she apologizes.
I quite like her. Him. It. That.
trouble with saying something like "Profumo was a victim
of circumstances" or "April Ashley isn't so bad, even
though she's changed sex" - saying things like that in print
to most people seems so shocking; whereas in actual fact, if you
really think about it, it isn't. Just saying a thing like that
sounds more shocking than it is.
Ringo: I got
up in the Ad Lib the other night and a big handbag hit me in the
gut. I thought it was somebody I knew; I didn't have any glasses
on. I said "Hello" and a bloody big worker "Arrgh."
So I just ran into the bog. Because I'd heard about things like
from this interview to The Beatles