- From Faith Current: “The Sacred Ordinary: St. Peter’s Church Hall” - May 1, 2023
- A brief (?) hiatus - April 22, 2023
- Something Happened - March 6, 2023
My Dear Dullblogisti,
Yesterday I wrote a post about Yoko Ono’s relationship to The Beatles, and how strange it seems to me—not only her needless antipathy, but also John Lennon’s—and how their marriage seemed to be founded on a mutual dismissal of/antagonism towards the idea of The Beatles. I mentioned how this puts any Beatles fan in a weird, yet seldom examined position of mentally defending the group against its founder and arguable leader. And because that’s the way it happened, no one comments on how bizarre it is.
I pulled the post down for two reasons—first, it felt like something I’d said many times before, most notably here; and second, I’d really like to quit analyzing John Lennon and his marriage, which ended 40 years ago and is none of my beeswax anyway.
But there were good comments there, and so I’m putting up this catch-all post. Just repost the same comments and we’ll leave them here. If you guys want to discuss this topic, feel free; but I am going to try not to engage with it. In return for your indulgent understanding, I give you this picture of John Lennon in a funny hat.
You had a post about Yoko and John’s marriage and I missed it? And good comments? 🙂 know the feeling, though; I have posts I sometimes want to make elsewhere and sometimes I leave them in draft form because I think, “do I really want to be in this discussion or open this can of worms?”
I’ll just share that I was thinking recently about Sean Ono’s assertion that everyone would have loved his mom if she’d been blonde with bangs (a slam against Cynthia?) because she enriched the Beatles. I feel that’s disingenous. Maybe she enriched John’s life, but the Beatles? I’m trying to see it. Maybe he had ideas as to why but Twitter just doesn’t offer enough opportunity to do more than make truncated assertions. I do understand that a lot of the hatred directed against Yoko was racist and misogynist and Sean shouldn’t be slammed for pointing that out. Which he was, in some spaces.
That sort of leads to another quote I’ve seen recently, that claimed anyone who disliked Yoko was just unhappy about the direction John’s life had taken and the choices he’d made, and any true fan of John Lennon would love her as he did. I disagree wholeheartedly with the second assertion, but the first? Maybe. I do wish John’s life had gone in another direction and that he’d made totally different choices. But maybe that was the one he had to make at the time; it’s not for me to decide I think he did love Yoko. And from everything I’m reading, I think he liked letting her control his life in some ways, while regretting the things he no longer had, and sometimes there was more like, and sometimes there was more regret.
But yes, I do wish he’d chosen someone who wouldn’t have encouraged his most ridiculous artistic impulses (or convinced him of theirs), or encouraged him to drop nearly every single other person in his life that wasn’t on the approved call list, so that he had to run around with assistants ten years younger than himself and be surrounded with people who were taking the Lennonos for a ride and kept around because they learned how to feed their insecurities and paranoias (oh yes, Paul only calls you to gloat!). Was John being kept from injuring himself on his old friends and family in some way? Very possibly. But would it have been any worse than being disallowed to go anywhere when Mercury was in retrograde, which happened more than Mercury actually went into retrograde, and never seeing your family or ex-wives or the only friends who’d lived the same life you had?
I know it’s too much to ever expect Sean to say “My mother had a terrible impact on my father’s life. The world would have been a much better place if they’d never met, and I was never born.” I’d certainly have tons of respect for him if he said that, though. (After all, lots of us are the product of two people who should have never been together).
Maybe Sean would have been able to have a more balanced view on his mother and his parents had John lives but I think given the circumstances of Johns death and Yoko being the only parent to raise him the majority of his life I think he idolises her a bit like many children of single mothers tend to do.
As an aside I will say that I do love how well Julian and Sean get along and don’t really seem to have any step sibling/half sibling resentments or jealousy between them and that they haven’t seemed to let any dramas between their respective mothers and dad have an bearing on them as brothers. I think that’s pretty big of them especially Julian.
This I believe: John was not a man who could stand alone. He must have a partner. Can any of us see him settling contentedly with a stable, functional, benign partner? I can’t. Whoever John chose would necessarily be dysfunctional in one way or other; he wouldn’t choose them otherwise, and they wouldn’t put up with him. Was Yoko’s dysfunction of a more toxic stripe than was strictly necessary? Probably. But then again he could have done worse, I think.
If Paul had been open to a love affair, or less devoted as a father, maybe that could have been enough for John. But once Paul had a family taking #1 priority in his life, John would feel intolerably displaced. #2 would never be enough for him.
Honestly, I think Paul understood this on some level, and that’s why he didn’t fight Yoko’s presence in the studio. Maybe Paul was just plain tired. John Lennon was a very special person, and Paul loved him to bits, but DAMN was he a lot of work. And you can see how being the resident John-wrangler was Paul’s “job,” not just in practice and in Paul’s own mind but in other people’s expectations too. Not for nothing do we see Michael Lindsay-Hogg and Neil and Linda and George and whoever else prodding Paul with “but don’t you think YOU should talk to John about this Yoko situation..?” comments during the LIB sessions. Everybody’s like “dude, rein in ya boy” and Paul’s like “……” and geez, I do not blame him.
Being John’s handler often required walking an incredibly fine line. You have to be tough enough to take his shit, yet soft enough to soothe his pain. Independent enough to keep a level head and talk him off ledges, yet codependent enough to satisfy his endless neediness. Remember the LIB tape where John says he has to smother his ego and jealousy just to endure working with Paul? And Paul is like “yeah I know” as if this is a convo they’ve had before? And the white album session “You probably hate me now…aren’t you angry at me?”/”I don’t hate you. I’m very proud of you” exchange (someone please explain that to me btw)?
Paul knew how large he loomed in John’s psyche. He didn’t want to lose John as a friend and collaborator but I think maybe he was ready to stop being John’s caretaker. Whether this perceived “rejection” occurred as An Event (a refused sexual proposition?) or through a more gradual and subtle Process, we can’t know — but I think it’s clear John feels massively REJECTED after India. Which is maybe why he gloms onto Yoko so hard and then throws her in Paul’s face like, “Look, SHE’S willing to give me her undivided attention AND live with me AND never leave me alone for 5 minutes AND make art with me (art that is BETTER than your art!) AND indulge my love=telepathy/symbiosis magical thinking AND have sex with me (which sex I am going to record and then play to you at a board meeting btw).”
Annie, I think this is quite likely to be at least part of the truth.
And thanks for making me snort-laugh with this: “Everybody’s like “dude, rein in ya boy” and Paul’s like “……” and geez, I do not blame him.”
Just realized I failed to come back to my main point, lol! Which is: there was always going to be a “Yoko.” And in order to stay with John for any length of time, the “Yoko” would necessarily have to be a little bit sick, I think, because John craved a sort of self-erasure, a magical symbiosis (or the illusion thereof, at least). How many times did he say he could only really understand himself in the context of his relationships to other people? (One of the major reasons I suspect he had borderline personality disorder, along with his visible-from-space fear of rejection). The “Yoko” had to be ruthless enough to let him have that illusion, manipulative enough to keep him from destroying himself, cold enough not to be destroyed by him. And weird enough to hold his interest.
John might have preferred for Paul to become his Yoko, but in the end Paul was too healthy to go all the way down that rabbit hole.
Excellent comment! I think that’s the best summary of the John/Paul dynamic I have read!
I think Linda was probably a big part to in pushing Paul to assert himself or value himself first in the Paul/John dynamic.
And was the you hate me / I’m proud of you exchange something that was caught on tape? I’ve never heard or read that before so that’s really interesting and kind of sweet.
Your comment also reminded me of how I think it’s in the Hunter Davies biography John mentions, during a joint interview with Cynthia, how the Beatles all only want to hang around each other and Cynthia drops in that she thinks John needs the other Beatles more then they need him.
@LeighAnn: the “proud of you” exchange was reported as an overheard conversation in the Sandford McCartney bio, I believe. I don’t remember if he named the source. I’m thinking maybe they were talking about Two Virgins? I often can’t help but wonder if John WANTED Paul to be pissed off by the Yoko situation. As in, he wanted Paul to FIGHT for him. Either as proof Paul still loved him, AND/OR to give him a good excuse to get angry and flounce out of the band. Retroactively, John&Yoko managed to spin the latter narrative (that Paul had victimized them and their relationship). But was that John’s first choice? Or did he hope Paul would confront him, admit being hurt and jealous, and work to “win” him back from Yoko? In other words, did he want Paul to fight to keep him in the way Julia never did?
Sometimes I even wonder if John (and Yoko?) was angling for the Beatles to morph into a John/Paul/Yoko collaboration-band of some kind. Plastic McLono Wings. ….Which actually might’ve been pretty great. I’d buy that album.
Oh yes, the Davies/Cynthia/John conversation is a prime example of John’s extremely unstable sense of self.
I agree, Annie, that’s a great synopsis. 🙂 And I’ve been in the position of being the “handler” for a brilliant person incapacitated by drugs and mental illness, and I think you’ve hit the nail on the Ouch.
One other thing has just jumped out at me about their relationship, reading your notes about the performative nature of their love, and having recently read Peter Brown’s silly book and listening to a podcast with Ethan Russell and thinking about the slew of gooey John-and-Yoko stuff that’s sure to be coming out this year around the 40th anniversary of John’s death and his 80th: why so performative, even beyond the studio? Why did they have to try and convince everyone that they were MORE IN LOVE with each other than anyone had EVER BEEN IN LOVE? I mean, they were two consenting, screwing, married-to-other-people opposite-sex adults, just like two million others in the world at any given moment. Why did they have to pretend to be so epic? Even Peter Brown was pulling that “What John and Yoko were developing between them was a love of classic proportions, a legend as big as the Beatles themselves.” I mean, really? These days you have Mark Lewisohn and Ethan Russell sighing and mooning over how much in looooove John and Yoko were.
I mean, sure, they were in love. How nice! Adorbs. Was it put out that their love was more special than boring people’s love to make it look better that John had ditched Cyn and Julian? To transport their art? To bring them more attention? To sock it to the haterz?
I think you’ve hit the nail on the Ouch.
Haha, love that. 🙂
Great points about J&Y being “performative.” I think you are right about justifying John’s leaving his family — and leaving the band if it came to that, as they must have known it might. “I got married” is a pretty weak tea excuse for leaving your job. “Our love is so cosmic that I can’t work with anyone other than Yoko now” is…odd, but somewhat better cover. Other thoughts:
If they felt it their mission to advocate peace, what better way than to weaponize their love? Peace and love, man! (I say this non-ironically.)
Preemptive strike against haterz: “Don’t even TRY to talk me out of this, our love is BEYOND YOUR UNDERSTANDING and I will not hear a word against it!”
If you guys haven’t already checked out the Another Kind Of Mind podcast, you need to listen to it right now. They do exactly the same calling out of the bullshit narrative that you are doing.
Oh, I’m a big fan of AKOM! 🙂
Thank you — I’m already way there with that podcast. 😀 There was a thread on AKOM a while back, even.
In a comment that got deleted, Tasmin mentioned that in their last conversations, George encouraged Paul to stop fighting for the name credit reversal, specifically that it “wasn’t worth Paul’s health.” I thought that was so sweet and asked them if they knew any more details about that, or remembered where they read/heard it. 🙂
Hi Annie! Paul has referenced George encouraging him to forgive Yoko in a few interviews. This is the one I was able to find:
Rolling Stone Oct. 2013
“In fact, another voice from the past — that of George Harrison — had encouraged him to forgive and forget. “George would say to me, ‘You don’t want stuff like that hanging around in your life.’”
I think he said it wasn’t worth Paul’s health in a different interview, or I’m paraphrasing.
I enjoyed your comments above. Good insights.
Thanks, Tasmin. 🙂 So sweet of George to encourage Paul to let things go. And if he put it in terms of Paul’s health, while he himself was dying, that adds another layer of poignancy. Those two had a sometimes sticky relationship but ultimately a lot of love for each other. Karma seemed to have it out for those two but I think they got there in the end. Eric Idle’s speech at George’s Hollywood star unveiling, about how involved and attentive Paul was during George’s last months, was so lovely.
I think Paul looking after George on his death bed is one of the most beautiful acts of friendship in the Beatles story.
I’m glad that they were able to have a stronger relationship before George died and that Ringo and Paul have a strong friendship now. It makes me curious how much of that was impacted by Johns death making them realise that life’s to short to hold grudges. Like what would the dynamic have been between all four of them had John lived. Would time have healed all wounds or without the loss and shock of Johns death would they have still carried petty grudges amongst the four of them and go back and forth between being friends and frenemies.
Agreed, LeighAnn. Especially coming as it did on the heels of Linda’s illness and death.
George and Paul’s relationship is rather fascinating, imo. I often think of them as being like Frasier and Niles Crane. 🙂 (If you don’t know the show, they’re two brothers eternally locked in a competitive and mutually annoying relationship, but they are also fiercely loyal and can’t stay mad long.)
The nuances of their relationship get short shrift in Beatles fandom, I feel. Maybe I’ll submit a guest post about them. 🙂
Annie, please do submit a post! I agree that the relationship between George and Paul frequently gets overlooked.
Especially given that George and Paul were friends the longest. And were they writing together before John cane into the picture? Was In spite of all the danger written pre introduction to John?
I agree they had a Big brother/Little brother thing going on- although I’ve know of Frasier I haven’t actually watched it before but that dynamic sounds right for them (and a bit for John and Paul too).
I compare it a bit to the Wesley brothers in Harry Potter where Paul and George has a bit of a Percy/Ron dynamic of the serious responsible and ambitious older brother wanting what’s best for his younger brother and trying to keep him out of trouble while the younger brother thinks he’s bossy and opinionated for thinking he knows what’s best. Then you have John and Ringo who are a bit like the Weasley twins in the sense that they were the fun cooler older brothers who would happily encourage you to get into trouble. But at the end of the day and despite any clashing personalities they all fiercely loved each other as brothers even if sometimes they didn’t like each other.
I’ve gotten an error page 3 times, so this will be my last try for the day….apologies to the mods if I’ve been spamming your inbox.
@Nancy: Thanks, I might just do that!
@LeighAnn: I like the Weasley analogy. 🙂 One of my favorite George & Paul stories is Paul introducing George to a group of older friends at school and George immediately headbutting one of them. His explanation? “He isn’t worthy of your friendship.” WHAT. lol.
Annie, earlier something odd was going on with the server — seems ok now. Cyberspace, a perpetual challenge . . .
Shoot, not all comments have a “Reply” link so this is out of order.
@Annie, my comment, “Please. It wasn’t Paul’s job to give John a better life,” was directed at the “Yeah” Michelle added after quoting Paul’s “This One” lyric. IMO, the implication was that Paul could’ve / should’ve given John a better life.
I really enjoy your posts!
BTW, my son named our dog after Niles Crane. If anyone needs a gateway episode, try “Three Valentines,” season 6, episode 14.
Of course John’s death had an effect on how Paul responded to George in his final days. He didn’t get to make peace or even say goodbye to John and it inspired him to write the song This One, how there is no better moment than this one to tell someone ‘I love you’, because you might not get that chance again. I remember an interview with Paul on 60 Minutes or something where he was asked about This One – “Is it about a marriage?” Paul: “About a relationship, yeah.” Then, as is his custom when talking about his innermost feelings, he projects onto George his regret about not telling John he loved him (George having ended on a bad note with John in the ’70s). The song is from 1989 and is totes about John and not Linda. “Couldn’t I have given you a better life?” Yeah.
@Michelle: that is another case of selective memory, I’m afraid. It was actually in the CBS documentary 48Hours, where Dan Rather asks him about this song, and he says he was thinking “I hope I tell her “I love
her” enough instead of just the casual “Love you, Lin” on the way to work in the morning…. As usual, he then says it can also apply to other situations or people, parents for instance etc. You can check it out here, it starts at around minute 3.38:
“‘Couldn’t I have given you a better life?’ Yeah.” Please. No doubt they were shits to each other on occasion, but it wasn’t Paul’s job to give John a better life.
@Jesse- That’s Paul bullshitting, as if he and Linda had a conventional marriage: “Bye honey, I’m off to work!” Didn’t she go with him to the studio every day? Didn’t he once say that every love song he ever wrote was for Linda? If that’s not saying “I love you” enough, I don’t know what is.
@Laura- Didn’t say it was his job, but why would he say that to Linda? That would be weird. Maybe he wasn’t as good of a husband as people think? But it’s in the past tense. Linda was still alive. Is he speaking for some imaginary husband? Everyone here says that Yoko ruined John’s life and that he was a bedridden hermit, yet they can’t believe Paul – who knew him personally – would feel saddened by that. And look at the whole verse, about magic happening if only they had remained calm (kept business out their conversations, perhaps) and missed opportunities because the timing was never quite right. Paul’s lyrics are generally vague, but then he throws in a verse that sounds ultra specific. Take the song “Don’t Be Careless Love” from the same album. Starts off as a standard nightmare out of Thriller or something, but then he sings, “Saw your face in the morning paper/Saw your body rolled up in a rug/Chopped up into two little pieces/By some thug.” Doesn’t that sound as if he’s describing the news of John’s death? At any rate, “thug” is far more appropriate than “jerk”. So at least it was more than a drag for him.
@Michelle: I can´t recall them ever claiming that she went to the studio with him every single day, and I really doubt that she did, certainly not by 1989.
Anyway, they already had been married about 20 years by then, and he did express in other interviews that he had not always been a perfect husband, was sorry for “always throwing her into the deep end” and “ruining her career” and that his fans and the press treated her like shit when she married him. So, in my opinion it makes perfect sense for him to say “couldn´t I have given you a better life”, e.g by introducing her better to the public or not including her in the band untrained, or just be a more attentive guy etc.
But of course your interpretation is different, no surprise here, so I will not discuss this any further with you – you are so invested in that McLennon thinking that there really is no point.
My beef is mostly when you ( or other people) claim that for a fact he said so and so, when he evidently did not. Why can´t you just admit that ok, you misremembered that bit? You can still stick with your opinion that he is bullshitting, but you should say so and not try to corroborate your belief by making up things and using him as a key witness and putting things in his mouth. Other people, younger fans for example, who can´t remember the documentary you were citing from, might think this is valid information when it is not and I will continue to point out where they can check things and make up their minds themselves. If they come to the same conclusion as you, oh well, so be it..
But far too often these false information gets copied and repeated elsewhere, because people are too lazy or unable to check themselves, and then it suddenly becomes fact, because they read it here.
Finally, I have to say that I do think it is possible that the song in some parts also deals with Paul´s regret at not having totally mended that relationship before John was killed – like mentioned earlier, he likes his songs to have broader meanings and said that it can be also mean that one should size the moment to tell any person close to oneself how important and cherished and loved they are. His songs are hardly ever about just one thing, but that unfortunately is a common misunderstanding, IMHO.
it wasn’t Paul’s job to give John a better life.
Tell that to Paul’s hyper responsibility and guilt complexes, @Laura! 🙂
@Jesse: That particular clip you linked isn’t the full conversation. Like @Michelle, I remember seeing a longer one (or maybe a different one altogether) where he goes on to tie in George and John. Couldn’t find it on YouTube, but I did find this transcript on some random site:
“You always think, well I’m saving it up, I’ll tell them one day. And what happens with a lot of people with John for instance, getting back to that subject… He died…. Um.. I was lucky, for the last few months he was alive, we managed to get our relationship back on we were talking, we were having really nice conversations, real nice and friendly…
George actually.. um.. didn’t – I don’t think, get his relationship right.. I think they were arguing right up till the end, which I think is a great source of sadness to him.. And I’m sure in the feeling of this song, that George was always planning to tell John he loved him, but time ran out. So that’s what the song is about.”
Come to think of it there might be a different interview altogether that I’m remembering, because I could swear he mentioned that the Krishna painting (on which the chorus is based) made him think of George. Even the white swan image pings my John-radar. John told Julian that he would send him signs from beyond the grave in the form of white feathers, and then there’s the white peacock in the Anthology photoshoot that Paul said was John making an appearance. “Fade this swan to black.” 🙁
Anyway! I think multiple people including John were on Paul’s mind, because he is a one-man guilt factory, and the romantic lyrics don’t at all dissuade me from that opinion. I mean, can we all at least agree that “Best Friend” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKsRKl-Fjzw) is about John? That song includes the lines “I wake up in the morning, I’m still dreaming ’boutcha. I tell you, pretty babe, I’m blue / I wake up in the evening, I’m still screaming out over you, over you.” So, y’know. There’s precedent.
Annie, I think the “multiple people” is key to the way McCartney writes a lot of songs. Emotions from one relationship (or more than one) may sometimes be expressed within a single song. And he also has a way of using conventional forms at times — for instance, “You Gave Me The Answer” is probably “about” Linda, but it’s also a riff on a distinctively 1930s musical style.
as is his custom when talking about his innermost feelings, he projects onto George
Right?? Doesn’t the Amoralto Tumblr have an entire #projecting issues onto George tag? Heh.
@Annie – Amoralto is actually a very cool tumblr. Yeah, that tag is on there for Paul as well as #saying we when I mean I (or something to that effect).
Good catch on the full interview I was talking about. Thank you, I’m not crazy. It was part of a large segment on Paul who was being spotlighted on the program during his ’89 tour. About the song “Best Friend”, when it was released as part of the re-mastered edition of Red Rose Speedway, it was mentioned on Paul’s official site that it could be a message to John, or many believed it was. Here: https://www.paulmccartney.com/news-blogs/news/new-live-audio-best-friend-and-the-mess
I just want to say if you haven’t read Michaels original John and Yoko piece, click on the link he provided. It’s excellent, and the comments are really good. I learned a lot.
This is my take on John and Yoko:
In my 56 years of life, I’ve seen that mentally unhealthy people attract mentally unhealthy people. I’ve been guilty of demonizing Yoko, (I still think she’s yucky) but I also realize John CHOSE her. He chose to leave Cynthia and Julian, and chose to leave The Beatles.
I believe John was probably BiPolar, and suffered from PTSD from his childhood. Probably also from the whole Beatle experience. I don’t know Yokos pathology, but she was also damaged, and unhealthy.
Right there you have a recipe for disaster.
I’m just sad that John didn’t or couldn’t get the help he needed. From everything I’ve read, he was looking to get with Paul, and perhaps the group, before he died. That is a comforting thought.
I wish after Yoko passes, Sean would come forward with the truth of his parents, and their relationship. But I doubt he will.
One more thought that I wrote before the post was removed;
I don’t know if we’ll ever know the whole truth of Yoko’s manipulation of John. Paul has made peace with her, and has stated that Yoko and Olivia Harrison are part of the business now, and all have an equal say in what Beatles Inc., does. They also all consider The Beatles as a family, and their kids are all friends, and will likely take over the running of The Beatles empire.
Yoko has been successful in her making herself a Beatle.
Why would Sean badmouth his mom, when he doesn’t feel that way? Seriously, why would a son who wasn’t wronged by his mother do that? This place is way too judgmental and armchair psyhgobabbly for my taste. I’m out. Thanks for the Open Season on Johnandyoko thread, by he way. Stay classy.
Michelle, Michael Gerber created this thread because people wanted to talk about the subject. You are also welcome to make your points here. I do hope you’ll continue to comment, but if you choose not to, I wish you well.
Sean seems to be close to his mom, and I think that’s great. And as has also been pointed out on this thread, Sean and Julian also seem to have a good relationship. My own take on John and Yoko is that no one outside that relationship is likely to be able to fully understand it, and that all conclusions should be taken with generous amounts of salt.
I’d just like to rephrase that I don’t think that Sean should hate his mother or blame her for ruining his father who he barely knows life- that’s I agree a ridiculous notion.
Perhaps I didn’t explain myself well but I was more commenting on the fact that Sean is in a somewhat unique situation in that while other children as they grow older start to have a more balanced view on there parents and accept that their parents aren’t perfect and have flaws, it would be understandable if Sean idolised his mother as she was the only one left to raise him after losing his dad the way he did. A lot of children of single mothers are fiercely protective of their mums and full of admiration for them for being able to raise them despite the challenges of being a single parent.
I certainly don’t see anything wrong with Sean idolising his mother and I think had I been in his shoes I would have as well.
And because I didn’t say it before Yoko should be praised for the fact that unlike a lot of other celebrity children, Sean seems well adjusted and happy and professionally content. He hasn’t gone wild or hit the drugs like many a celebrity child has even without the trauma of losing their dad so young.
And considering in Johns own life how losing his mother and having an absent father in his teens (amongst other early traumas) was the catalyst for a lot of destructive behaviour and unhealthy habits, I think John would be happy and proud with how Sean has turned out and that’s a credit to Yoko.
But as Nancy said it’s all speculation and none us really know.
While I think there’s no doubt that Sean was a very much loved and wanted child, I also think he was exploited by both Yoko and John, and that it damaged him terribly. I disagree with LeighAnn that Sean seems well adjusted and happy; he seems like a rather sad, disturbed person to me, and I’m not surprised.
John and Yoko used Sean to sell themselves as the perfect family, and they paraded him like he was the Christ child. This carried on for years after John was killed, with Yoko putting Sean on display at award ceremonies, allowing journalists to get access to him, and even putting him in the middle of the Paul/Yoko/Michael Jackson music rights debacle. What kind of parent would do that? The kind of parent who would allow Michael Jackson access to their child, obviously. And Sean was just as vulnerable as any of the other kids whose parents were seduced by the fame and the money, because he wasn’t being protected. He was exploited and that’s the ugly truth of it.
For all Julian’s grievances about the way John treated him in comparison to Sean, he was actually the lucky one. Because he was left alone to live a (relatively) normal life, and as a result, he grew up to be a (relatively) normal person. I mean, he’s clearly damaged by everything he’s been through (who wouldn’t be?), but you can tell he lives in the real world and can relate to normal people. No way does Sean give that impression.
Elizabeth, your comment reminded me of an interview I came across with Linda around 1984. She speaks glowingly of Michael Jackson (so it’s clearly before he stabbed Paul in the back with the Northern Songs catalog), and how good he was with their kids. “Gentle, and takes off with our kids, and that’s it! He loves kids.”
Hearing that, it made me think of how James McCartney has some obvious issues, and makes me wonder if something horrible happened there during that period when Jackson had charmed James’ parents. and the McCartneys were *sensible* people who were generally protective of their children. Yoko was neither.
Hi Elizabeth. Are you able to elaborate on why think Sean is disturbed? I’m just curious if there’s some back ground I’m missing as he’s seems pretty normal to me. He shares his parents liberal hippie ideals in the political sense and he sometimes comes off privileged and spoilt but that’s not anything out of the ordinary of rich celebrities. I just can’t see any scandals or controversies or drug habits in his past that would indicate that he’s disturbed. He seems your usual level of celebrity rich person brand of normal. Given John and Yokos history and Johns death I think Sean has turned out alright.
Don’t forget that Yoko and John had I believe two or three miscarriages before they had Sean so in a way he was a miracle child to them. And John was pretty devoted by all accounts to raising Sean better then his distant parenting of Julian, theres enough home videos that have been leaked or shared that show Sean John and Yoko spending time as a family together, so while I don’t think they were the perfect family I do think they were a genuine family.
As for the Michael Jackson thing the accusations only started coming out in 93 when Sean would have been 18-19 so I’m assuming he was younger when he played at his house prior to the accusations and given he had eccentric celebrity parents he and Yoko probably didn’t find Michael being eccentric that strange.
On the Rock and Roll hall of fame award ceremonies I think the family attending is pretty standard. I think Paul had his kids at his ceremony and didn’t Stella induct him?
@LeighAnn, I agree that to me Sean appears to be surprisingely well adjusted, but I also remember being taken aback when Yoko put him up on stage and into the limelight at a very young age to help induct Elvis Presley into the Hall of Fame. He was 11. And he was also 11 when he was sent to a Swiss boarding school for 4 years, and returning home, lived in his own flat at the Dakota. But they seem to have a close relationship, so what do I know….
Sean has been in a relationship with Charlotte Kemp Muhl for the past 15 years. He has been active in the music community with her as a collaborator and without. Doesn’t sound like a sad, disturbed person to me. I’m sure Paul gave Michael Jackson access to his kids too. It’s easy to question that in retrospect. That was long before the allegations about him even surfaced. Why does everyone associated with John – except for the other Beatles – have to be mentally disturbed?
Good points, Michelle. Sean seems at least as mentally healthy, if not healthier — based on publicly available knowledge— as James McCartney. And Paul McCartney had a much more extensive working relationship and friendship with Michael Jackson than John did. Seems to me that the lapse of judgment was much more on Paul’s part than John’s.
Do you mean Yoko, Nancy? I got the impression that the Michael Jackson connection came after John was murdered. Paul sure did get a surprise at the outcome of that friendship, that’s for sure, in more ways than one.
Sean seems … okay, from what I’ve seen. Like LeighAnn says, priviliged for sure, though he went through a rebellious teenage phase (who didn’t?).
I agree with you, Elizabeth.
I listened to an interview on The Beatles Channel with Julian. He seems like such a nice person. He said he forgave Yoko for Sean. It was important to Sean he said, and both of them wanted a relationship.
I think Yoko is fortunate that Paul and Julian were willing to forgive her. Especially Julian.
I think that’s what I have a very hard time with; how she treated Julian.
I agree that Sean was loved by John and Yoko, LeighAnn. But even the worst type of abusers love their kids – it doesn’t stop them from inflicting terrible damage. Sean was loved, but he was also used by John and Yoko as a commodity. That’s abuse, whether there was any malicious intent behind it or not.
John and Yoko were terrible parents to all their children – drug-addled, narcissistic and irresponsible beyond all belief. There is no excuse for Yoko allowing Michael Jackson to have access to Sean in the way he did. I don’t care what allegations had been made public when Sean was a child; any parent would know it was wrong. She is just as guilty as all the other parents who allowed themselves to be seduced by the fame and the money. Worse, in fact, because she already had those things.
As for why I think Sean is disturbed, I don’t really want to make a list of the things that stand out to me. But there’s clearly something not right about a man his age so obviously trying to adopt someone else’s persona.
I think that’s much too harsh an assessment, Elizabeth. And as far as “drug-addled,” that charge could be leveled at the McCartneys as well.
I don’t know that it’s fair to pass judgement on John and Yoko fitness as parents because of past drug use. As Nancy said Paul George and Ringo all engages in substance abuse, Ringo also admitted to being physically abusive, so if that were the measure of parental fitness then all the Beatles would fail.
John and Yoko were clean by the time they had Sean. Yoko has one short relapse while Sean was young and by accounts John took Sean to the Bahamas I believe while she got herself sorted again in New York which demonstrates that John and Yoko obviously wanted to protect Sean.
The Kyoko situation I feel reflects more on Anthony poor judgement then Yoko. Running away and stealing your own daughter to punish her mother for her indiscretions is putting your own feelings before what’s best for your child.
I don’t think John and Yoko were perfect parents as I don’t think there is such a thing as perfect parents. All parents are human and there’s really no step by step guide to how to raise kids. I also think Julian obviously and Sean might have some let downs in their past with regards to their parents. But both men seem to love John, love their mothers (and Julian even seems close to Yoko), love and have a good relationship with one another and have spoken of fond memories of when they were children.
I’ve wondered how comfortable John would’ve been for Sean to be in the spotlight at such a young age. I remember reading an interview from the mid 90’s with Sean’s godfather Elton John and when asked about Sean he said he felt he was being exploited.
Also Sean’s girlfriend wrote a very rude and disrespectful comment on an Instagram post of John, Julian and Cynthia a few months ago. I’ve only seen a screenshot of it so I assume the previous comments she was replying to were critical of Yoko. She says that Yoko was never mean to Julian, that Yoko gave Julian a huge amount of money in the settlement, that Julian told lies about Yoko to the press because Cynthia was jealous of Yoko, that John never loved Cynthia and only married her because of pregnancy, that both Julian and Cynthia made money off of John and she called Cynthia smarmy and parasitic for writing books about her life with John. So if Sean’s girlfriend is saying this does this mean Sean feels this way too? Is this the narrative that has been fed to him? Charlotte posts nice comments on Julian’s Instagram posts but also feels comfortable talking shit about his mother on others.
Jayne, I feel as if you’ve encapsulated why Michael took the original post down — it seems that any discussion of John and Yoko tends to devolve I to blame and bad feeling, a la the comments you mention.
It just seems deeply unproductive for people to be arguing in that way about events that happened decades ago that they were not personally involved in.
Makes me think that it must be really hard to be a Beatles child or romantically involved with one.
Nancy, I agree that it is unproductive. I was just shocked that she felt the need to comment publicly on social media. I highly doubt she would call Cynthia smarmy and parasitic to Julian’s face. It’s just upsetting to think that Sean would feel this way too. As far as I’m aware he hasn’t talked publicly about John’s relationship with Julian and Cynthia.
Comments like this just give us a glimpse into the Ono household.
Sean Lennon is a cool guy. His music is very good, his relationship with Julian is good. In one interview, he called Julian his hero & gushed about how Julian helped introduce him to music. He’s done interviews with his mother & seems close & protective of her. I’ve been diving into his music (which is surprisingly awesome!) People don’t have to like Yoko or JohnandYoko (I don’t), but IMO you have to give Yoko credit for raising her son to become a good , well-adjusted person under extremely unique circumstances.
I don’t mean to be harsh, Nancy. But at the same time, these are the facts.
I don’t know what affect the McCartneys’ drug use had on their kids. They weren’t using heroin, so I doubt whether they ever had the same kind of lows. John and Yoko weren’t fit to be parents in 1968/9. If they had been poor and Kyoko’s father hadn’t ‘kidnapped’ her, she would have been removed from their care by social services – and rightly so.
Well, if what Denny Laine said was true about the McCartneys using their kids to hide their pot when they went through customs, they were no less irresponsible than John and Yoko.
Michelle, I just don’t understand why you insist on turning everything into a John versus Paul bunfight. I’m quite sure you are right and that the McCartneys were also not model parents, despite their public image. But this discussion is about John and Yoko’s failings as parents, and not Paul and Linda’s.
LeighAnn, have you read ‘The Other Side of Lennon’ by Sandra Shevey? She interviewed two women who were working for John and Yoko as housekeepers/assistants/general dogsbodies during the time they lived at Tittenhurst, and they both described how John and Yoko spent entire days in bed in a drug haze, while little Kyoko was left alone in her bedroom, praying that her daddy would come and take her away. Tony Cox didn’t ‘steal’ his daughter to punish her mother for her indiscretions. He took his daughter to get her away from John and Yoko, and I don’t blame him. If that was my child, I would have done the same.
What they described was horrible. John and Yoko were so incapacitated that they couldn’t even get up to use the toilet – they had to use bedpans. That environment was no place for a child. Like most heroin addicts, they had a squalid existence, despite their palatial surroundings.
Not John vs Paul, just answering your argument that Paul and Linda’s drug use wasn’t as bad because it didn’t involve heroin or their kids.
In reference to how mentally healthy Sean and James McCartney are, I think it would be very hard to be a son of John Lennon or Paul McCartney. You can’t tell me that hasn’t had an effect on Sean, Julian or James. In fact, Julian has talked about this. It’s a big shadow to live under, especially when the sons decide to go into music.
Yoko seems extremely controlling and manipulative, and while I’m sure she loves Sean, she has her issues, which would affect him. I also get the sense after reading interviews with Sean, that Yoko was quite dependent on him, emotionally. That makes sense after losing John.
I read an interview with James McCartney a few years ago, and he was very close to his mother Linda, and took it quite hard when she died. He says he loved Paul very much, but needed to move away and find his own identity.
On this I agree. I do think the Beatles shadow has affected all the kids in that they with the exception of Stella have struggled to form there own identity beyond being John or George or Paul or Ringo son/daughter.
As an aside I love that the Beatle kids also seem close to each other and also seem close to the Rolling Stones kids.
From the Associated Press:
The man who killed John Lennon in 1980 says he was seeking glory and deserved the death penalty for a “despicable” act.
Mark David Chapman made the comments in response to questions last month from a parole board, which denied him parole for an 11th time. As in previous parole board hearings, the now 65-year-old inmate expressed remorse for gunning down the former Beatle outside the musician’s Manhattan apartment building.
“I assassinated him .. because he was very, very, very famous and that’s the only reason and I was very, very, very, very much seeking self-glory. Very selfish,” Chapman said, according to a transcript released by the state Monday after an open records request.
Looking back 40 years later, Chapman called his actions “creepy” and “despicable.” He said he thinks all the time about the pain he inflicted on Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono.
“I just want her to know that she knows her husband like no one else and knows the kind of man he was. I didn’t,” he said.
Chapman shot and killed Lennon on the night of Dec. 8, 1980, as he and Ono were returning to their Upper West Side apartment. Lennon had signed an autograph for Chapman on a copy of his recently released album, “Double Fantasy,” earlier that day.
“He was actually kind to me that day,” Chapman said.
Chapman is serving a 20-years-to-life sentence at Wende Correctional Facility, east of Buffalo. He told the board he would have “no complaint whatsoever” if they chose to leave him in prison for the rest of his life.
“I deserve zero, nothing. At the time I deserved the death penalty. When you knowingly plot someone’s murder and know it’s wrong and you do it for yourself, that’s a death penalty right there, in my opinion,” he said.
In denying him parole, the board said Chapman committed an “evil act” and said they found his statement that “infamy brings you glory” disturbing.
Chapman will be up for parole again in August 2022.
“He was actually kind to me that day.” Did he expect otherwise? I know this guy is worthy of contempt but John was always accommodated to fans. Chapman’s actions weren’t creepy (understatement). HE is creepy. For those who argue that Chapman would be out by now if he hadn’t killed someone so famous, they are absolutely right. But John’s fame is the only reason this parasite targeted him. I don’t see the injustice.
Since we are taking about Sean he is doing a documentary with the BBC for John’s 80th where Sean will interview Paul Julian and Elton (no Ringo by the looks of it which is strange since I think he was much closer to John then Elton but cest la vie) It’s a two parter airing 3/4th Oct.
I was just coming here to say I’d seen this notification just this morning! Wow … I wonder what to think. It will be fascinating, no doubt. http://www.johnlennon.com/news/john-lennon-at-80-world-exclusive-bbc-documentary/
I’m curious whether Sean will ask better questions and get more interesting answers then the usual standard by the numbers interviews and prepared answers.
I was thinking the same thing. In the link Kristy provided it gives a sort of preview of what each will talk about. Julia is discussed in some of Paul’s interview so there’s a chance we’ll hear something new and interesting.
I would have liked to reply directly to certain posts in this thread, but the reply buttons are not there, so I have to stick one big post at the end – hope it is not too confusing…
@Annie: What do you mean, not the full conversation? That is the original documentary. And he does mention Linda here, not John, not George. I believe you ( and Michelle) are remembering a different one, or rather are mixing up the two, because Michelle remembered the first few sentences of the conversation with Dan Rather verbatim correctly! So yeah, there may be another interview where he talks about the John/George situation – as I said and as Nancy explained, his songs often deal with more than just one person or experience.
But we have to disagree about Best Friend. John his pretty baby? Nah. Not convincing unless you think they actually were lovers. However, he has stressed that Linda was not only his wife but a friend as well. Paraphrasing here, one of the reasons he put her in the band was, he said was because „when I was up on stage I could look up and there was my best friend“…. His old friends had deserted him and treated him very badly, so in 1971 Linda was to him „the best friend a man can ever have“ ( and a pretty baby). And regarding the „ I´m still screaming about you ( after he wakes up), and „I´m blue“ lyrics – I guess they simply had a row.
Interestingly , that is actually quite similar to what John said about Yoko and that I believe may be part of the reason for the split. Earlier both were each others best friends and had girlfriends / a wife on the side, so to say. But then they grew up and found out that it is much better if you can find that one special person which is both. Wedding bells are breaking up this old gang of mine….
When Linda died George Martin had this to say : “Paul has to bear the grief of not only losing his love and the linchpin of his family but also the best friend he ever had.″
That is quite telling.. .
@Michelle, I can´t find anything about Best Friend being directed at John on that site. Dear Friend, yes. That is a song to John, no dispute.
Jesse, did you click on the link to Best Friend/The Mess. It says the former song was “believed by many to be a message to John Lennon.” Now, I don’t know who writes those blurbs but they are on his official site.
I found the full 48 Hours episode (it was Bernard Goldberg who interviewed Paul, not Dan Rather).
Annie’s transcript of the full conversation is correct (it starts at about 59:20). He talks about John and George in relation to This One. Anyway, great song!
Sorry, if this appears twice, but I had an error message when I tried to reply earlier..
@Michelle, re: Best Friend – yes, I overlooked it at first but it is there. However, that does not mean that it is about John. Many ( John included) also believed all of Ram to be directed at him, and according to Paul himself it is not.
And re 48hours – the interviewer is not Dan Rather, you are right. And also, even though the video you posted the link for goes mute when the song starts I found another version where indeed Paul goes on to mention the regret George may feel about missing the opportunity to make up with John, and how the song relates to a situation like that as well. So, yeah, a typical Paul song with lots of different angles!
“Tell me why, why, why do you treat me so bad, so bad, when you’re the best friend a man ever had?” Why (in 1972) would he say he’s “I’mstill dreaming about you”;“still screaming out over you, over you” I can’t hear that as being about Linda. Not saying she wasn’t also a best friend to him, but this song has every hallmark of a “Letter to My Ex” to my ears. Paul has called John “baby” before, and as for “pretty”… well, why not? John was pretty. John called Paul pretty. Does that mean they had sex? Not necessarily (tho it would explain a lot). My best friend and I don’t want to have sex but we love to cuddle and gaze at each other and talk about how beautiful we think the other is. That’s seen as more normal for female friends to do than male, but whatever; John and Paul aren’t very normal. I’m not interested in debating whether they were physical lovers, I just think we are going to miss a huge chunk of their back-and-forth if we dismiss any songs with romantic overtones. John and Paul talked about each other in romantic/spousal terms a lot in interview/conversation; why not in songwriting too?
I really do not want to go back and forth with you about dissecting the lyrics, but just one thing I´d like to explain: the „I’m still dreaming about you“ in my opinion is in direct continuation of the „waking up“ line – he dreams about the other person still after waking up, not still years later.
You can read it like you want, but it also can be read like I do. Both make sense.
And I certainly do not deny that there was a strong love between John and Paul, I just do not believe that they wrote as many songs about each other as many fans who look at all the songs through their „Beatles tinted“ glasses seem to think. I think nowadays the danger is not missing any back and forth between them, but finding too much of it. I find it odd that so many people seem to think that all of their lives still revolved around each other for years and even decades after the split. Just because the fans are so fascinated by and passionate about this period and the relationships from that time it does not mean it was the most important thing all the time for them as well.
Fair nuff, reasonable minds can differ. 🙂
I’m reminded of John’s ever endearing, “It’s just handy to f*ck your best friend” line in 1971. I think it was in relation to Yoko not only being his artistic equal, but a friend w/benefits.
Paul debuted “Best Friend” in concert during his first Wings tour in 1972, several months after John said on the Mike Douglas show, “If I can’t have a fight with my best friend [Paul], I don’t know who I can have a fight with.” Just thought it was an interesting coincidence. That’s the only time I know of where John called Paul his best friend. He was more inclined to call him his brother in interviews and on one famous occasion, his estranged fiance.
@Annie M: “John and Paul talked about each other in romantic/spousal terms a lot in interview/conversation; why not in songwriting too?”
Paul does it again in Part 2 of the BBC’s John Lennon at 80. They played a clip in the intro to Part 1 with Elton John and Julian Lennon (which was great, by the way; Sean is lovely). Paul describes how he and John complemented each other: “They say with marriages, opposites attract.”
It really makes a difference in how Paul talks when he has a sympathetic interviewer instead of one who’s focusing on their rivalries and arguments (i.e., Howard Stern). Sean really wanted Paul to have liked his dad’s solo stuff. He made a point about “McCartney” and “Plastic Ono Band” being quite similar as albums, both of them stripped-down, and I think he might have taken Paul by surprise a little with that?
I’d be interested to see a post about these interviews with Elton, Julian, and Paul. Sean came across as earnest and lovely, yes, though, apropos to this thread, he did show himself as happy to perpetuate the untruth put across by John and Yoko that they reunited 5ever with starry eyes at the Thanksgiving concert with Elton John. Sean brought it up multiple times with Elton and even said “and nine months later I was born!” More like eleven months, you know, possibly induced prematurely, and John was with May until early the following year, but. I mean, if Sean wanted to show himself as truthful (Gimme Some Truth, isn’t that the latest campaign?) he could have said the concert led to John and Yoko’s eventual reconciliation, not posed it as direct conception. I also found it interesting that they played the clip of John and Elton singing “I Saw Her Standing There” withOUT John’s interesting introduction to the song. I guess the JohnandYoko party line makes a more streamlined story.
Though everyone has their own mythologization process. Paul even admitted to Sean that he’d told the story of the “crosstown bus to learn the G7 chord” story he’d started to wonder if it wasn’t true.
I mean, “told the story so many times,” sheesh.
I find it fascinating that Paul has been on Stern several times, since Stern is such a wild card with his questions. Despite his habitual “guardedness” in interviews generally, I think there’s a definite part of Paul that wants to be asked odd and probing questions. How much/truthfully he answers them is his prerogative.
I just heard him say the “I’ve said it so much I wonder if it’s true or not” line about the story of Ringo slipping out during the first part of the “Hey Jude” recording, and sneaking back in just in time to bring in the drums. It was at his hour+ interview at LIPA. I hope this isn’t the beginning of memory loss for him 🙁
Annie, I don’t think that’s necessarily a symptom of memory loss — research on memory now shows that we alter memories each time we access them, and that the concept of “memory” is much more fluid than traditionally thought. And especially since so many of these stories have been told, retold, and asked about over the years, I can well believe that everyone associated with them sometimes wonders what they individually remember vs. what they’ve heard repeated.
Here’s a link to an article explaining the memory research I’m referring to. Pretty fascinating.
“Sean really wanted Paul to have liked his dad’s solo stuff. ”
Did he? All he said was that they still seemed to influence each other and it was almost like they never drifted apart, and Paul agreed. Did Paul really sound surprised to you when Sean said that they both released debut albums that were stripped down and unlike anything the Beatles had done as a band? Well, he’s not wrong. And both men were at a low point emotionally, I believe. “Every Night” sounds like depression to me. Of course, Sean did ask the standard question that everybody gets asked when they are doing an interview in honor of someone, which this basically was: What solo songs of his do you like? I admit, it is silly to pose it to someone who was that close to the artist to the point of perhaps taking the songs personally, like Jealous Guy. Paul has said he doesn’t feel comfortable attending John tributes and singing his songs on stage. And also it seems to me that Paul is still in competition with John. Both were loathe to dish out praise to the other, at least publicly. Paul said that Beautiful Boy is a favorite of his, naturally. And to be fair to Sean who asked the question, Paul does say he’s a big fan of John’s, so…
Sean can present his story however he sees fit, and people can buy into it or not. He lost his dad at a very young age, and if that is his way of hanging on to any happy moments to get over grief, who are we to tell him he’s wrong. Too much myth busting going on. Who cares at this point? What does it matter if John and Yoko had a happy marriage or not?
Paul loves to tell how he noticed John on the bus and in the chip shop before he knew who he was or that he even played music. He liked the way he looked, apparently. But why does he say he was glad he and John reunited? That never happened. They may have reconciled over the phone, according to his previous statements. If anything, Sean wanted Paul to feel good when he said that John was happy whenever he was going to see Paul. Where that came from, I have no idea.
“I find it fascinating that Paul has been on Stern several times, since Stern is such a wild card with his questions. Despite his habitual “guardedness” in interviews generally, I think there’s a definite part of Paul that wants to be asked odd and probing questions.”
What probing questions would you ask? I tend to think he’s really tired of telling the same stories. Anyone with a pulse would.
I prefer a more earnest, civil and less confrontational discussion with less “attempting to shut down this discussion with pithy dismissal,” which is why I rarely reply to your posts, but here we are again. For probably the last time on my side, but we all have fun with discussion in our own ways, I guess?
“Did Paul really sound surprised to you when Sean said that they both released debut albums… ” I thought he just sounded a little surprised, yes, but not in a bad way. Just that they were being compared stylistically, for once, by someone who made a point to admire both albums instead of contrasting them, and in a way of noting that both John and Paul were in the same sort of space after the Beatles breakup. I can’t quantify exactly or psychologically, it just sounded like a little surprise there at the way the question was phrased. Maybe it’s me projecting onto Paul, as I usually hear how “raw and unfiltered!1!” POB is whereas even last week I had to leave a group over the constant ad nauseam posts from old dudes how much of a blatant, unproduced disappointment “McCartney” was, “he needed John to tell him what to do, hur hur.” I get so tired of those guys; maybe it was a pleasant experience for me to hear Sean be so admiring and to be looking at the similarities. I haven’t listened to every Paul interview so I don’t know if he’s been asked it that way before.
Overall I think the way Sean talked and asked his questions, the tone of his voice and the words he used, showed a real admiration for both his dad and Paul. The way Sean asked about the chord similarities between the two of them in their solo careers, that he privately imagined some songs would be liked by Paul, made me think it important to him that Paul admired his dad’s solo career as John admired Paul’s (in John’s own special way). I haven’t really read much about Paul commenting on John’s solo stuff, honestly.
I made the point about the concert reunion and Sean’s repeated discussion of it with Elton John because sure, they did reunite, eventually, and further eventually resulting in Sean’s existence! That is undisputed. I would be surprised, however, if Sean (1) really, truly believes the rosy fantasy, and (2) can’t count. I guess I had just hoped that given the proven unsustainability of the most egregious bits of the Ballad of John and Yoko (see this thread and others similar), there might be more truth-tellers in the next generation. Gimme Some Truth! Again, I’ve seen the Lennon estate pushing that everywhere for John’s year, and it makes me, personally, not everyone, feel pretty eye-rolly. I’m including other Beatles kids in that wish for some forthrightness, at least for historical and discussion purposes. Others may, like Michael Gerber suggested in another recent post, find it all unsavory and wish to retain the story as it’s been given.
” But why does he say he was glad he and John reunited? That never happened.” Well, unless one counts LA, and the christmas caroling in New York, and the visit to watch Saturday Night Live, and any other times they met throughout the 70s and seemed to be okay about it? Think of me now and again, old friend? Paul is pretty cagey anymore about when he actually last saw or talked to John. He’s told different stories in the past, and in this interview with Sean, just kept it sort of vague. But he wasn’t lying. Maybe they didn’t reunite as JohnandPaul to never be separated again, as if that’d ever have worked, but they did meet civilly at several points.
Overall, though, I really liked the tone Sean took with the interviews. They really kept their toes out of the muddy waters. I would be interested to see some of the background discussions that took place to make this all happen the way it did.
Kristy, sorry if my post sounded confrontational. Thanks for clarifying what you meant. I also think it’s great when people point out their similarities rather than their differences. It doesn’t happen often. They had a lot more in common than not in my opinion.
About John and Paul’s relationship in the ’70s, it’s hard to know what’s true anymore. Take the story told by BBC broadcaster Richard Skinner, who apparently was a friend of Paul’s. He said that Paul told him after John was killed that he and John were planning to write and record together in December 1980, but the studio they wanted was booked so they decided to meet up in the new year. Skinner said John wasn’t even supposed to be in New York on the night he was killed. Was he making that up? If THE John Lennon and Paul McCartney wanted to book a studio – any studio – it would be made available on the spot wouldn’t you think? If true, it makes it all the more tragic. Here is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_C2kd_x1qLM&feature=emb_logo
@Michelle, Skinner is the only source for this, and he is not very believable, I think. He also told his story elsewhere in 2007, but slightly different :
“When John Lennon was shot, I happened to have Paul McCartney‘s home telephone number.
I phoned and he didn‘t know. I spoke to his butler or somebody like that and he passed on the news.
About three hours later, about eight o‘clock in the morning, Paul McCartney phoned me in the Newsbeat office.”
His butler? Seriously? No, I do not think he was a friend and certainly did not phone him at home. This is also corroborated by the recollection of Skinner’s colleague, Annie Nightingale, who said in 1985:
„I was awoken by a phone call from my Radio 1 colleague, Richard Skinner, who was a member of the station’s Newsbeat team, asking me if I had Paul McCartney’s home number. The Old Grey Whistle Test’s producer, Mike Appleton, decided that we should do a live tribute programme that evening. It was, naturally, a day of intense activity, with chasing film and video clips, checking facts and trying to persuade people who had known John to come into the studio to talk about him. Few would agree to do so. They were too upset. One of our regular production team waltzed into the Whistle Test office in the midafternoon and cheerfully threw herself into helping out in any way she could. She had not heard the news. She thought our sudden interest in John Lennon was because he was coming in to the studio that evening to do a live interview. We were, in fact, scheduled to have filmed an interview with him in New York on 10th December“
I suspect the rest of Skinner’s story is just as fishy, probably a mix of misremembering things like the scheduled live interview, misunderstanding what a shocked Paul may have said on the phone and plain embelishment. There may be a kernel of truth in it, because I also read elsewhere that John indeed had planned to visit Britain soon and also that he had agreed to help Ringo with a new recording in January 1981 ( Jack Douglas is the source for that, I think). Paul apparently already had contributed to that. Maybe Paul indeed mentioned that to Skinner on the phone. But I doubt there ever was a date fixed for them to work together, because would he not have mentioned that also in later interviews? He repeats that „I am soo lucky that we made up before he died” trope so much, why would he not also tell us if they had had a date for a session?
Yeah, it doesn’t pass the smell test. I mean, we would have heard about it from Paul or someone from the studio they were trying to book (as if they wouldn’t be able to book any studio they wanted, first dibs by another artist be damned), or anyone else in addition to Skinner.
Anyway, Paul will be talking with Alec Baldwin starting this Friday and through the week about John for his 80th on the Beatles Channel. Unfortunately, I don’t get Sirius anymore so if he says anything we haven’t heard before that’s interesting, hopefully someone here mentions it.
“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.” — Alice Walker
I like this very much.
Yoko is suing Fred Seaman for violating his 2002 court agreement to not profit off John. He’s apparently given an interview, showed memorabilia of Johns (it doesn’t specify if it’s stolen or was gifted to him) and also over plans he has to reissue his book (which in the original court case he admitted during his apology in court had intentional inaccuracies).
She’s suing for $150 thousand.
I read the article on Daily Mail and apparently Seaman when his book was released sent one to Sean who said he was looking forward to burning it. I don’t know what reaction he was hoping to get from sending a book to the son that bags his mother and portrays his dead father as some drug addled twisted recluse.
Poor Fred. His two year stint as Lennon’s P.A has turned into almost FORTY years of being habitually litigated by Yoko, with occasional beatings by hired goons. What a nightmare. The relentlessness with which she has continued to sue/vilify a long gone assistant through decades is sadistic.