“We’re here to talk about apples, you know.” – That is what John Lennon said to the interviewer when asked whether Paul McCartney and Lennon had come to New York because of a lawsuit. Unlike some other interviews out there, this conversation was as enriching as it could get. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were in New York to promote Apple Corps, but it wasn’t just Apple that they talked about.
One of the very interesting things about The Beatles’ interviews is how grounded they are in reality, though the band were world-famous as few people had been before them, they showed great humility. Their interviews don’t just cover their musical releases or stories. The topics range from politics to global issues to discussions on the different sides of the music industry and their personal progress.
In 1968, John Lennon and Paul McCartney held a press conference at Americana Hotel in New York City on May 14th, 1968. They were in the U.S. to promote Apple Corps, their brand new venture. Apple Corps was founded by the members of The Beatles which replaced their previous multimedia corporation, Beatles Ltd. and was put in place for a variety of reasons. Lennon commented on the founding of Apple, “Our accountant came up and said, ‘We got this amount of money. Do you want to give it to the government or do something with it?’”
In the 1968 interview, Lennon elaborated on this, saying, “Who wants to set up a system where people who just want to make a film about anything, don’t have to go on their knees in somebody’s office, probably yours (referring to the big media houses who were present there at the interview).” McCartney further said, “We’ve already bought all our dreams. We want to share that possibility with others.”
The interview itself ranged to a wide variety of topics — from The Beatles’ relationship with the Maharishi, to their thoughts on the Liberian Liberation Movement, to what they thought of meditation and even trying to dig into their personal lives. It was a mix of a variety of subjects, some light-hearted and some, just its opposite. No matter what, McCartney and Lennon did not shy away from any part of the discussion, standing toe to toe with their interviewer.
McCartney, as he later admitted himself, was suffering from “personal paranoia” on the day of the interview. This was probably the reason why Lennon did most of the talking that day, with occasional inputs from McCartney. “I just felt very uneasy about the whole thing; maybe it was because we were out of our depths … They were interviewing us as a serious economic force — which we weren’t,” he said.
The interview was held quite long after The Beatles had stopped touring. It became evident that both John Lennon and Paul McCartney had become unused to being in interviews or dealing with the press in such a forthright manner, but carried the interview forward in their stride. We rarely get such a candid look behind the scenes of icons, but in the footage below, we get a real sense of Lennon-McCartney’s songwriting powerhouse.
Below, enjoy a clip of the interview.