Tittenhurst Park

This Tittenhurst Park blog is dedicated to John Lennon's home in Sunningdale, near Ascot, Berkshire between 1969 and 1971. The aim is to gather as much material relating to the estate as possible - obviously with the emphasis on the Lennon-era, but also concerning Tittenhurst Park as it was before and after John Lennon's ownership. In addition, there will be posts about and associated with the Beatles, plus any other rubbish I feel like. The blog is purely meant for the entertainment of anyone (assuming there is actually anyone) who, like me, has an unhealthy interest in one particular Georgian mansion. Those with anything interesting to contribute in the way of links, photos, scans, stories etc. please do contact me: tittenhurstlennon@gmail.com
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John Lennon Remembers - Jann Wenner Interview Part 3

Which songs really stick in your mind as Lennon-McCartney songs?
"I Want to Hold Your Hand," "From Me To You," "She Loves You" ...I'd have to have the list, there's so many - trillions of 'em. In a rock band you have to keep writing singles. We both had our fingers in each other's pies. I remember the simplicity that was evident in "She's So Heavy," which was about Yoko. In fact, a reviewer wrote of "She's So Heavy," he seems to have lost his talent for lyrics, it's so simple and boring. But when it gets down to it, when you're drowning, you don't say, "I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me," you just scream. And in "She's So Heavy," I just sang, "I want you, I want you so bad, she's so heavy, I want you," like that. I started simplifying my lyrics then, on the double album.
What about on 'Rubber Soul' - "Norwegian Wood"?
I was trying to write about an affair without letting me wife know I was writing about an affair, so it was very gobbledygook. I was sort of writing from my experiences - girls' flats, things like that.
I remember this single coming out: "Day Tripper"/"We Can Work It Out."
That was a drug song, in a way.
"Day Tripper"?
Yes. Because it was a day tripper. I just liked the word.
At some point, right in there between 'Help' and 'A Hard Day's Night,' you got into drugs and got into drug songs.
Help was made on pot, A Hard Day's Night I was on pills. That's drugs, that's bigger drugs than pot. I've been on pills since I was fifteen, no, since I was seventeen or nineteen . . . since I became a musician. The only way to survive in Hamburg to play eight hours a night was to take pills. The waiters gave you them . . . the pills and drink. I was a fucking dropped-down drunk in art school. Help was where we turned on to pot and dropped drink, simple as that. I've always needed a drug to survive. The others too, but I always had more. I always took more pills, more of everything because I'm more crazy, probably.
When did you first start writing message songs, serious songs?
Probably after dinner, I don't know. "Day Tripper" wasn't a serious message song.
I don't mean serious message songs in that sense. I mean there was a big change in your music from "Can't Buy Me Love" to "We Can Work It Out."
I suppose it was pot then. "We Can Work It Out" was . . . Paul wrote that chorus, I wrote the middle bit about "Life is very short/There is no time for fussing and fighting . . ." all that bit. I don't remember any changeover. Other than when you take pot you're a little more aggressive than when you take alcohol. When you're on alcohol and pills, you just couldn't remember anything.
How do you think LSD affected your conception of music, in general?
Well, it was only another mirror; it wasn't a miracle. It was more of visual thing, and a therapy - that "looking at yourself" bit, you know? It did all that. But it didn't write the music. I write the music in the circumstances I'm in, whether it's on acid or in the water. The thing that we forget about the acid is to live now, this moment. Hold on now, we might have a cup of tea, we might get a moment's happiness any minute now. So that's what it's all about, just moment by moment. That's how we're living now, but really living like that and cherishing each day, and dreading it too. It might be your last, I mean it sounds funny, but you might get run over by a car and all that. I'm really beginning to cherish it when I'm cherishing it.
"Happiness Is a Warm Gun" is a nice song.
Oh, I like that, one of my best. I had forgotten about that. Oh, I love it. I think it's a beautiful song. I like all the different things that are happening in it. Like "God," I had put together some three sections of different songs, it was meant to be - it seemed to run through all the different kinds of rock music. It wasn't about "H" at all. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," which I swear to God, or swear to Mao, or to anybody you like, I had no idea spelled LSD - "Happiness" - George Martin had a book on guns which he told me about - I can't remember - or I think he showed me a cover of a magazine that said HAPPINESS IS A WARM GUN. It was a gun magazine, that's it: I read it, thought it was a fantastic, insane thing to say. A warm gun means you just shot something.
When did you realize that LSD were the initials of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"?
Only after I read it or somebody told me. I didn't even see it on the label. I didn't look at the initials. I don't look - I mean I never play things backwards. I listened to it as I made it. Every time after that though I would look at the titles to see what it said, and usually they never said anything.
You said to me 'Sgt. Pepper' is the one. That was the album?
Well, it was a peak. Paul and I were definitely working together, especially on "A Day In The Life" that was a real . . . the way we wrote a lot of the time: you'd write the good bit, the part that was easy, like "I read the news today" or whatever it was, then when you got stuck or whenever it got hard, instead of carrying on, you just drop it; then we would meet each other, and I would sing half, and he would be inspired to write the next bit and vice versa. He was a bit shy about it because I think he thought it's already a good song. Sometimes we wouldn't let each other interfere with a song either, because you tend to be a bit lax with someone else's stuff, you experiment a bit. So we were doing it in his room with the piano. He said "Should we do this?" "Yeah, let's do that." I keep saying that I always preferred the double album, because my music is better on the double album; I don't care about the whole concept of Pepper, it might be better, but the music was better for me on the double album, because I'm being myself on it. I think it's as simple as the new album, like "I'm So Tired" is just the guitar. I felt more at ease with that than the production. I don't like production much. But Pepper was a peak all right.
How did you get involved in LSD?
A dentist in London laid it on George, me and our wives at a dinner party at his house without telling us. He was a friend of George's and our dentist at the time, and he just put it in our coffee or something. He didn't know what it was; all the . . . middle-class London swingers, or whatever, had all heard about it, and they didn't know it was different from pot or pills. They gave it to us, and he was saying, "I advise you not to leave," and we thought he was trying to keep us for an orgy in his house. So we went out to the Ad Lib discotheque. We didn't know what was going on, and we thought we were going crackers. It was insane, going around London on it. We thought when we went to the club that it was on fire, and then we thought it was a premiere and that it was just an ordinary light outside. We thought, shit, what's going on here? We were cackling in the streets, and then people were shouting, "Let's break a window." We were just insane. We were just out of our heads . . . . We finally got on the lift. We all thought there was a fire on it; there was just a little red light, and we were all screaming aaaagh - like that - and we were all hot and hysterical. We all arrived on the floor - this was a discotheque that was up a building - and the lift stops, and the door opens and we were all aaaagh. We see that it's the club, and we walk in and sit down and the table's elongating. I think we went to eat before that, and it was just like the thing I had read describing the effects of opium, and I thought, "Fuck! It's happening!"
Where did you got after the Ad Lib?
Well, it seemed to go on all night. I can't remember the details. George somehow or other managed to drive us home in his Mini, but we were going about ten miles per hour - it seemed like a thousand. And Patti [Boyd Harrison] was saying, "Let's jump out and play football." There were these big rugby poles and things like that. And I was getting all sorts of hysterical jokes, coming out like speed because I was always on that, too. George was going, "Don't make me laugh, oh, God!" It was just terrifying, but it was fantastic. I did some drawings of four faces saying, "We all agree with you!" You know, things like that. I gave the originals to Ringo. I did a lot of drawing that night. And then George's house seemed to be, you know, just like a big submarine. I was driving it; they all went to bed. I was carrying on in it; it seemed to float above his wall, which was eighteen feet, and I was driving it. The second time we had acid, in L.A., was different.
What happened then?
Well, then we took it deliberately.
How do you think that affected your conception of the music, in general?
Well, it was only another mirror; it wasn't a miracle. It was more of a visual thing, and a therapy - that "looking at yourself" bit, you know. It did all that. But it didn't write the music. I write the music in the circumstances in which I'm in, whether it's on acid or in the water.
Whose idea was it to go to India?
Probably George's; I have no idea.
You wrote "Sexy Sadie" about the Maharishi?
That's about the Maharishi, yes. I copped out and I wouldn't write "Maharishi what have you done, you made a fool of everyone," but now it can be told, Fab Listeners.
When did you realize he was making a fool of you?
I don't know, I just sort of saw him.
While in India?
Yes, there was a big hullabaloo about him trying to rape Mia Farrow and trying to get off with Mia Farrow and a few other women and things like that. And we went down to him after we stayed up all night discussing "was it true or not true?" When George started thinking it might be true, I thought, well, it must be true, because if George is doubting him, there must be something in it. So we went to see Maharishi; the whole gang of us the next day charged down to his hut, his bungalow, his very rich-looking bungalow in the mountains. I was the spokesman, as usual, when the dirty work came, I had to be the leader - wherever the scene was, when it came to the nitty-gritty, I had to do the speaking. And I said, "We're leaving." He asked why and all that shit, and I said, "Well, if you're so cosmic, you'll know why," because he was always intimating, and there were all these right-hand men intimating, that he did miracles. And I said, "You know why." And he said, "I don't know why, you must tell me," and I just kept saying, "You ought to know." He gave me a look like, "I'll kill you, you bastard," and he gave me such a look. And I knew then, when he looked at me, you know, because I had called his bluff, because I said if you know all, you know. Cosmic consciousness, that's what we're all here for. I was a bit rough on him.
You say on your record that "Freaks on the phone won't leave me alone/So don't give me that brother, bother. . ."
Because I'm sick of all these aggressive hippies or whatever they are, the Now Generation, sort of being very uptight with me, you know, either on the street or anywhere, or on the phone, demanding my attention as if I owed them something. I'm not their fucking parents, that's what it is. They come to the door with a fucking peace symbol and expect to just sort of march around the house or something like an old Beatle fan. They're under the delusion of awareness by having long hair and that's what I'm sick of. I'm sick of them, they frighten me, a lot of uptight maniacs going around wearing fuckin' peace symbols.
What did you think of Charles Manson and that thing?
I don't know what I thought when it happened. I just think a lot of the things he says are true, that he is a child of the state, made by us, and he took their children in when nobody else would, is what he did. Of course he's cracked, all right.
How would you trace the breakup of the Beatles?
After Brian [Epstein] died, we collapsed. Paul took over and supposedly led us. But what is leading us when we went round in circles? We broke up then. That was the disintegration.
When did you first feel that the Beatles had broken up? When did that idea first hit you?
I don't remember. I was in my own pain. I wasn't noticing, really. I just did it like a job. We made the double album, the set . . . it's like if you took each track off and gave it all mine and all George's . . . it was like me and a backing group, Paul and a backing group. I enjoyed it, but we broke up then. I didn't really want to talk about all this . . . go on.
Do you mind?
Well, we're halfway through it now, so let's do it.
You said you quit the Beatles first.
Well, I said to Paul, "I'm leaving." I knew before we went to Toronto. I told Allen [Klein] I was leaving. I told Eric Clapton and Klaus [Voormann] that I was leaving and that I'd probably use them as a group. I hadn't decided how to do it - to have a permanent new group or what. Then later on I though, fuck, I'm not going to get stuck with another set of people, you know, whoever they are. So I announced it to myself and to the people around me on the way to Toronto. Allen came with me, and I told Allen it was over. When I got back, there were a few meetings, and Allen had said, well, cool it, 'cause there was a lot to do businesswise, you know, and it would not have been suitable at the time. And then we were discussing something in the office with Paul, and I kept saying no, no, no to everything, you see. So it came to a point I had to say something, of course, and Paul asked, "What do you mean?" I said, "I mean the group is over, I'm leaving."
What was Paul's reaction?
Like anybody when you say divorce - you know, their face goes all sorts of colors. It's like he knew, really, that this was the final thing

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