December 3, 2005

"Don't take away our portable Rome..."

"...where we can all have our houses and our cars, and our lovers and our wives, and our office girls and parties and drink and drugs." That's how John Lennon described the attitude of the circle that surrounded the Beatles -- why they never told their tales or showed the photographs they had:
"If you couldn't get groupies, we had whores," he claimed. "Whatever was going.

"There were photos of me crawling round on my knees coming out of whorehouses in Amsterdam with people saying: 'Good morning, John.'"

The BBC airs the 1970 interview today.


sean said...

Aren't you thinking about John Lennon more than he deserves? I mean, I was young too once (a few years after you, i.e. I was born 1958), but the importance of, say, Neil Young to me when I was 16 is not an objective characteristic of Neil Young.

theMickey's said...

I think being British had alot to do with it.Of course their manager(brian) had pretty close reins on `em.I think SirGeorge also was in charge of 'grooming'but not to the extent of brian.
If you`ve never read 'the rolling stones, an unauthorized biography' by a disgruntled roadie(Tony? something) I`d suggest. It was one of my counter culture books I`ve lost over the years; quite a few sirprizes...oh, and it`s got grreat pics

vbspurs said...

I was moseying along in my car today, but what do I see but an enormous poster of John Lennon, of the Yoko days -- bearded, scraggly, looking everything I dislike about that era.

It was a huge advertisement for 105.9 -- our local oldies radio station (must be new, or else, I hadn't heard of yet).

So I checked it out.

Hey. Not bad.

What with Althouse always pushing the 70s card, and this newfound station, I may conduct a love-in yet.

P.S.: If they show this on BBC America tonight, I'll advise Ann to post an update.

Palladian said...

The only difference between the Beatles and their coterie and the Romans is that the Romans actually accomplished something.

Sorry, I couldn't resist. The Beatles were fine until people started to take them seriously. You know someone is writing a dissertation about them right now. With a colon in the title.

Robert said...

John who?

Troy said...

The Beatles will be around in some form long term, but they're not Romans that's for sure... Moreso for cultural purposes than for any real musical achievement. One can only get so far with three chords and while Yesterday and Julia, etc. are pretty tunes they aren't substantial in any revolutionary or merely technically competent way.

If it weren't for copyright and modern technology, "Norwegian Wood" would be a minstrel song people would sing in a songbook of collected folk songs with the author marked "Anonymous" and the tune marked "Traditional".

John Lennon (in 50 years or so -- after all the Boomers die out)will most likely end up as letter "d." on a multiple choice exam question for the question -- Which one of the following led the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in 1917? a. V.I. Lenin, b. The Lennon Sisters, c. Chico Marx, d. John Lennon.

sonicfrog said...

Off topic. New Squirrel at my blog. Not the one from my back yard. This one is better. MUCH BETTER!! You could say it's super!

bill said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bill said...

recommended reading: Ken Kesey has a nice story about John Lennon in his collection, Demon Box, titled "Now we know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall."

Starts with a visit to the Beatles with some Hell's Angels and Lennon stops a rumble with a word. And the rest is, as Kesey puts it:

What this story is really about is not so much John Lennon as about all the stuff his passing stirred up around our farm, effluvia both bygone and yet to be, tangible and chimeral ... mainly about these three visitations I had that week of his death, like the three ghosts from "A Christmas Carol."

Later, Kesey is drinking with Hunter S. Thompson:

...Thompson mused that he didn't understand why it was people like Lennon they seemed to set their sights for, instead of people like him.

"I mean, I've pissed off quite a few citizens in my time," the good doctor let us know.

"But you've never disappointed them," I told him. "You never promised world Peace or Universal Love, did you?"

ChrisO said...

It's useless trying to defend or support Lennon and the Beatles to people who have already made up their minds. The music, particularly, is of course a matter of taste. But it's hard to deny the impact they had on popular culture. Especially considering that their entire recorded output encompassed about six or seven years. To go from "She Loves You" to Let It Be" in that time span is simply mind-boggling. Most bands now are playing the same songs they played seven years ago.

For those of us who embraced the revolutionary social changes of the 60s, the Beatles will always hold a place in our hearts. To suggest they'll just be a footnote in 50 years is ridiculous. Of course, popular culture moves on. Who on the cultural scene do you think will be more than a footnote in 50 years?

Everything changed in the 60s and 70s, and in many ways the Beatles were in the vanguard. If you think all of the changes were bad and the Beatles were just nasty drug evangelists, fine. But don't claim that nothing happened.