Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Greatest Book I've Ever Burned

John and Yoko spent early July, 1971 at the Record Plant East in New York, overdubbing and Mixing Imagine and recording tracks for Yoko's companion LP, Fly. They returned to England on July 14th and spent the rest of the month shooting scenes for the Imagine companion film and promoting new product such as the "God Save Us" single and a reissue of Yoko's book Grapefruit.

On the 17th, they taped an appearance for that evening's edition of the BBC1 chat show Parkinson. Host Michael Parkinson was game enough to conduct part of the interview from within a black bag (an experience which Eamonn Andrews and David Frost had earlier declined to participate in), but the line of questioning was decidedly stale.

After three years in the public eye with Yoko, and fresh from visiting freaks and artists in New York, John had to be frustrated spending this entire interview explaining his choice of partner and defending Yoko's concepts to a hostile British press. It's little wonder he would soon make America his permanent home.

Sometime in the latter half of July (possibly during a press day on the 20th), John was interviewed at Tittenhurst for BBC Radio's Scene And Heard. An atrocious off-air tape exists, mostly indecipherable, but topics include a progress update on Imagine, John's reasons for not participating in the upcoming Concert For Bangla Desh, and his opinion of Ram.

John also responds to a rumor published in Disc And Music Echo about a "lost" Beatles single called "Baby Jane" or "Maisy Jones". He assumes they are referring to "What's The New Mary Jane", and even sings a bit of it. If anyone has a better copy of this interview, or can understand more of what's being said, please let me know!


  1. O how I wish I DID have a better sounding copy of that interview (I'd share it with you at once!).

    Hey John, I have a bunch of random questions for you, here's one (it's off-topic to this particular post...):

    Do you date the Dylan/George demos of "I'd Have You Anytime" and "Nowhere To Go" as being from 1968 or 1970? I've seen it listed as both. I'm inclined to think '68 (he's using his Nashville Skyline voice, isn't he?)....but then wouldn't George have at least played through it once during the miles of Let It Be sessions?

    Secondly: I see lots of discrepancies between "Eight Arms To Hold You" (Chip Maddinger I think is the author) and "The Beatles Diary: After the Breakup"(Keith Badham I think is the author). They were both written around the same time....which do you favor? I usually defer to the Chip Maddinger one (even though I HATE when authors put in their two cents on what was a good song or album! Mark Lewhison, god bless him, disses It's All Too Much, for instance.) (no one's worse than Clinton Heylin, the Dylan biographer, but that's for another blog).

    Anyways, just wondering! (i have other questions, but I'll leave it there!).

    Again, thank you for posting this stuff. I'm a few posts behind, just finished up the WPLJ Howard Smith interview from December 70. It really makes you think Jann Wenner just caught John on the wrong day!!!

    1. I think the Bob/George demos are from May '70, for the very reason you cite: with all the newly-composed Harrisongs and Basement Tape Dylan songs George plays on the Nagras, there would have to be some version of these numbers if they were from November '68. Or at least a mention: "Hey lads, I wrote a couple of tunes with Bob - want to hear them?"

      When it comes to discrepancies in Badman vs. Madinger, I'll trust Madinger every time - Chip is a very thorough researcher, where Badman tends to compile other people's stories and trust the dates and details blindly.

  2. Scathing words for Badman!! (just kidding!!) But that is exactly what I wanted to know, thank you! And I'm happy that I'm already been deferring to the right one! (I'll forgive Chip for dissing "I Wanna Be Santa Claus" of Ringo's best albums! I love the cover art as well, which Chip also puts down! I must have bought 20 copies of that over the years, giving it as gifts.....I'm probably the only one, given the sales figures!)

    1. Eight Arms to Hold You (still available at was written by Chip Madinger AND Mark Easter. Probably only those two know who wrote what and which opinion was theirs.