Funny Boys

Excerpts from Beatle interviews found here:

Q: “What do you think of the rumors that get spread about you in gossip magazines?”

JOHN: “I don’t give it much thought… other than the one about my wife having more children than I can account for.”



Q: “Did you have a chance to get away from anybody at any time on the trip [to the US]?”

GEORGE: “Yeah.”

RINGO: “He got away from me– twice!”



Q: “How about these escape plans you keep beating about? You got out of one place disguised as policemen.”

GEORGE: “We didn’t, actually. We put the policemen’s helmets on…””

PAUL: “The policemen said, ‘Aww, let’s have a laugh, and put these helmets…'”

RINGO: “Have you ever seen a policeman in a corduroy coat?”

JOHN: “I have. I saw one back in 1832, I think.”

Q: “Did you put the helmets on over the haircuts?”

JOHN: “Well, we couldn’t put them underneath.”

(Beatles laugh)


Q :”It’s said, John Lennon, that you have the most ‘Goon-type’ humor of the four Beatles.”

JOHN: “Who said that?”

Q: “I think I read it in one of the newspapers.”

JOHN: “You know what the newspapers are like.”

Q: “I don’t know. What are they like?”

JOHN: “Wrong.”

Q: (laughs) “This is going wrong… I want to get a nice ‘Personality’ bit.”

JOHN: “I haven’t got a nice personality.”


Q: I’d like to know what happened to the color of John Lennon’s hair?”

RINGO: “So would we.”

JOHN: “Well, it’s covered in sweat, you see, so it looks darker than it is. It’s wet. (comic voice) That’s why it looks different.”


PAUL: “He hasn’t got his ‘toup’ on.”


Q: “How do you like not having any privacy?”

PAUL: “We do have some, you know.”

JOHN: “We just had some before. Didn’t we, Paul?”

PAUL: “We don’t have alot.”

Q: (to John) “Your hair looks like it’s red. Is it red or is it wind-blown?”

JOHN: “Red? Oh no. Well, I’ve had a shower, you see. It sometimes goes a bit funny. You know, one can never tell… One gets underwater.”

[Note: I’ve found so many comments from interviewers and fans about the colour of John’s hair.]

Q: “Do you write alot of the songs in the hotel room?”

JOHN: “Well, yeah.”

Q: “Ringo?”

RINGO: “Yes?”

Q: “It’s rumored that you have written some things for symphony orchestras.”

BEATLES: (laugh)

RINGO: “I don’t even write letters.”



Q: “Do you think you will ever be invited behind the Iron Curtain?”

JOHN: “If they’ve got enough Rubles, or whatever they’ve got.”


Q: “I understand they do not have an income tax.”

JOHN: “Well, they’ve got no money, either.”



Q: “Paul, is John the boss of the Beatles? Do you agree with that?”

PAUL: “I don’t know really. On some things he is. I’m trying to think if he is.”

JOHN: “No, I’m not.”

PAUL: “There’s no real leader, anyway. It depends who shouts the loudest.”


The Big One

Guess the way it stacks up now and the way it was around the time when Paul dropped the big one is that he wants right out of it all and they don’t.  George was greatly disappointed that Paul should come off like he was injured by Klein (business manager) whom George believes to have greatly eased the effects of the present and insured the safety of the future.

George view is “Did you have to be so nasty.  You can go so far but you can never get back, and you can say things which get in the way forever.  For me, I would be glad to play with all of us again.”

John’s view is:  “Okay.  If this is it, this is it.  We’ve all left the Beatles anyway.”  If Paul were to approach him and say,  “Let’s do it together again,” he probably would; with no more words, he probably would do it.

Ringo?  He was the peacemaker for John, George and himself to Paul and was shaken to find Paul intransigent to the point of saying some pretty blunt things.  But none of the Beatles is vindictive, and pettiness is their natural enemy, and when Paul released his album, Ringo sent a telegram congratulation him on “Maybe I’m Amazed” (one of the tracks) and meant it.  Ringo has a lot of heart and more soul than most and since he knows he will be a Beatles to the grave, he will cooperate should it all come together again.

Around separation time, John was first to hear, by phone, and he told Paul he thought it had actually happened months ago.  George and Ringo read the specifies of it in the London Daily Mirror, though they too had spoken by phone to Paul land they knew in general terms that he wanted to be his own man from now on.

Derek Taylor, The party’s Over for the Beatles,Sunday Magazine, July 26, 1970

The irony of the Beatles’ and their associates’ naivety and wrongheadedness about Klein and Paul’s motives.


The Impossible Game

It was due to Paul’s resourcefulness and tenacity that the Beatles held together and moved forward so remarkably after the death of the manager who had made them famous, Brian Epstein. Though Lennon is more commonly regarded as the Beatles’ true genius… it is also fair to say that without McCartney, the Beatles would not have mattered in history with such ingenuity and durability. Also, unlike Lennon, McCartney understood that the Beatles’ four members would never create so much wonder separately as they had collectively. So for Paul McCartney — the only Beatle who had never left the group in a fit of pique or out of whim — to leave meant, in fact, the Beatles were over. He wasn’t about to play any games about his love for what the Beatles were, nor was he going to dishonor his own pain.

McCartney had simply been forced into an impossible position by John Lennon, George Harrison and Allen Klein. At least two of those men should have loved Paul as much as he loved them, but instead they had come to resent what they saw as his drive and his domineering ways. Who knows what Lennon and Harrison thought would have become of the Beatles had it not been for McCartney — the only opinion they ever offered on the matter was that they had never expected to survive past Epstein’s demise.


What I found most troubling, most tragic, in all of this was two things: Both Lennon and Harrison (Lennon, clearly, in particular) did their best to sabotage the Beatles from mid-1968 onward, and when it all came irrevocably apart, I believe that both men regretted what they had wrought. I don’t think that John Lennon and George Harrison (but Lennon, again, in particular) truly meant the Beatles to end, even though they might not have known it in the moment. I think they meant to shift the balance of power, I think they meant for the Beatles to become, in a sense, a more casual form of collaboration, and I think they clearly intended to rein in Paul McCartney. But they overplayed their hand and — there’s no way around it — they treated McCartney shamefully during 1969, and unforgivably in the early months of 1970.

When McCartney sued to dissolve the band’s partnership, the three other Beatles claimed in court papers that they saw no reason to dissolve, that there was no real incompatibility that would prevent them all from continuing to make music together. They were saying this for legal and financial reasons, of course, but on some level, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr almost certainly meant it. They had thrown away something special, and the man they chose to align themselves with, accountant and manager Allen Klein, turned out to be somebody they lost faith in. After that happened, they again had Paul McCartney to thank, because his legal actions at the end probably saved their legacy. But the other Beatles never apologized to McCartney for how they handled him in 1970. Some things healed with time, but some losses were eternal. Near the end of his life, John Lennon said, “My partings are not as nice as I’d like them to be. I regret a bad taste to it.”

Mikal Gilmore, Why The Beatles Broke Up, Rolling Stone Magazine

Maxwell’s Silver Hammer

Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, otherwise known as those moments when Paul’s creative process and raison d’etre runs counter to those of Mssrs. Lennon, Harrison, and Starr.

First up, John Lennon, discussing the song in an interview:

It’s a typical McCartney sing-a-long, or whatever you call it. He did quite a lot of work on it. I was in…I was ill, after the accident [in Scotland] when they did most of that track, and I believe they really ground George and Ringo in the ground recording it, you know (laughs).

And later, this:

That’s Paul’s. I hate it. All I remember is the track–he made us do it a hundred million times. He did everything to make it into a single and it never was and it never could’ve been, but he put guitar licks on it and he had somebody hitting iron pieces and we spent more money on that song than any of them in the whole album. I think.

Next up, George:

Sometimes Paul would make us do these really fruity songs. I mean, my god, Maxwell’s Silver Hammer was so fruity. After a while we did a good job on it, but when Paul got an idea or an arrangement in his head…

And Ringo, from Rolling Stone:

The worst session ever was Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. It was the worst track we ever had to record. It went on for fucking weeks. I thought it was mad.

And finally, Paul, discussing Maxwell’s Silver Hammer in Many Years From Now, and Anthology:

Maxwell’s Silver Hammer was my analogy for when something goes wrong out of the blue, as it so often does, as I was beginning to find out at that time in my life. I wanted something symbolic of that, so to me it was some fictitious character called Maxwell with a silver hammer. I don’t know why it was silver, it just sounded better than Maxwell’s hammer. It was needed for scanning. We still use that expression even now when something unexpected happens. […] ‘Joan was quizzical, studied pataphysical science in the home’–nobody knows what it means; I only explained it to Linda just the other day. That’s the lovely thing about it. I am the only person who ever put the name of pataphysics into the record charts, c’mon–It was great. I love those surreal little touches. [,,]We put together quite a nice album, and the only arguments were about things like me spending three days on Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. I remember George saying, ‘You’ve taken three days, it’s only a song; Yeah, but I want to get it right. I’ve got some thoughts on this one.’ It was early-days Moog work and it did take a bit of time.


He Blew His Mind Out In A Car

Over a long lunch, Mike [McCartney] spent hours telling me tales about Tara and Swinging London and a picture emerged of a far more substantial figure than the playboy prince I’d described. Browne, he explained, was an icon of the times because of what he symbolised. He was at the centre of the London scene when, for one brief moment, social barriers ceased to matter. The Right Hons and the right-on were rubbing shoulders in the clubs of London’s West End in a new spirit of classlessness. Often it was Browne, with his louche smile, mop-top hair and Carnaby Street clobber, making the important introductions. […]   At the time of his death, Browne was involved in a highly fractious divorce case with Nicki, his wife of three years, and a custody battle for their two children, which was eventually won by Browne’s mother, the redoubtable Oonagh Guinness.  [..]Just weeks later, while lawyers began the job of extricating Browne from the marriage, he crashed his friend’s Lotus Elan while out on a date with a model named Suki Poitier

A few weeks later, in January 1967, John Lennon was sitting at his upright piano, trying to write a song for the album that would become Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club. Feeling creatively bereft, he did what he often did and sought inspiration in the morning’s newspaper headlines. He propped a copy of the Daily Mail on the music stand. On page three was a report on the child custody battle between Browne’s mini-skirted widow and his fur-coated mother. He fingered the keys and out came the opening lines – “I read the news today, oh boy . . . ” – of what would become a kind of epitaph to Browne.

Paul Howard, The Irish Times, 2016



Here I was, with my hair combed as much as a Beatle as I could muster, and Paul’s leaning in because I was so nervous. I was saying “I’m Andy Gold, and he couldn’t understand because I was just muttering under my breath. And so John is cracking up at me being an idiot [laughs]. His hair was very, very red, I remember being struck by that–because up til then, I wasn’t clear from pictures how red his hair was.

Singer/Songwriter Andrew Gold talking about seeing The Beatles in 1964 as a 13-year old when they appeared in Brentwood, California, at a fund-raiser for the Hemophilia Society attended by Hollywood’s who’s who and their children, the day after their Hollywood Bowl concert.

(filed under:I admit I have a thing about John’s red hair.)