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John Lennon: Ringo's Right, We Can't Tour Again

December 5, 2007

photo by Jim MarshallOriginally published in NME, 7 June 1969

John Lennon, over here in Canada with his wife Yoko, revealed for the first time that there had been considerable disagreement between him and Paul McCartney over the couple's nude Two Virgins album cover and that up until recently John had wanted to do concert tours again but had failed to talk round the other Beatles.

These disclosures were made to me when I went with John and Yoko from their Toronto hotel to the airport where they were to fly to Montreal for a seven day bed-in.

Beatlemania is still just as big here and on more than one occasion we'd been engulfed by swarms of half-crazy teenagers who descended on John like starving Asians at a Rome banquet.

Sitting in the back of the taxi John looked tired. Yoko was nonchalant.

Don't Agree

Lennon, all in white, sighed again and said: "I think Ringo was right about not touring." And later..."The Beatles are just a democratic group of middle-aged teenagers. We just don't happen to agree on doing concert tours. I've wanted to do some for a while, but I'm not sure anymore."

It was an uneventful trip to the airport, a welcome respite from the maddening crowds that had besieged the hotel earlier.

We had arrived unannounced, but in less than 60 seconds a crowd had gathered and we were rushed into a small, vacant room.

We sat there for over an hour; John, Yoko, daughter Kyoko who's five, a Beatles' cameraman, and myself.


The Lennons are now accustomed to the fanatical behaviour of teenagers, but John wasn't quite prepared for the storm of controversy over the recent Two Virgins album, which had John and Yoko pictured naked on the front cover.

"I expected some noise about it," John said, "but not as much as we got. I'd planned to produce an album with Yoko before we became lovers. Paul had had Mary Hopkin. George had Jackie Lomax, so I wanted to do something with Yoko.

"I was in India meditating about the album, when it suddenly hit me. I wrote Yoko telling her that I planned to have her in the nude on the cover. She was quite surprised, but nowhere near as much as George and Paul.

"Paul gave me long lectures about it, and said 'Is there really any need for this?' It took me five months to persuade them.

"It was a natural turn of events that I got in the picture, too. When we got the pictures back, I admit I was a bit shocked. I thought ‘Hello, we're on.’ I figured that if I was mildly shocked, what would others think?

"But it was worth it for the howl that went up. It really blew their minds. It cleared the air a bit. People always try to kill anything that's honest. The album wasn't ugly; it was just a point of view."

The Two Virgins cover, despite police confiscations here, did not create as big a stir as Jim Morrison (of the Doors) with his alleged indecent exposure in Florida. Lennon wasn't particularly impressed by what happened.

"I suppose the show wasn't going too well, so Jim decided to liven things up a bit. If he likes doing that sort of thing that's okay. If he did do it, I would have liked to see him do it properly and have intercourse on stage."

Lennon still thinks that the Beatles have more influence on young people than Jesus Christ, an opinion which brought a heavy load of wrath upon him when first he mentioned it two years ago.

"Some ministers even stood up in their churches and agreed with it then," said Lennon. "Kids are still more influenced by us than by Jesus Christ. As it happens, I'm very big on Jesus Christ.

"I've always fancied him because he was honest. He said in his book that anyone who followed his ways would be knocked. He was so right about that."

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7 Comments Page 1 of 1
anonymous - Thursday, December 6, 2007 07:18 PM
Ladies and Gents: Paul McCartney wanted to keep the band going...was the PURE musician of the group...was it's real leader after '66...I love ALL the guys...Paul issued "McCartney" out of FRUSTRATION...Fab 4-ever..readitnowwarisover...Mr Flaming Pie
anonymous - Thursday, December 6, 2007 08:30 AM
Imagine what it would have been like if they had done a tour of small venues in 69?? Amazing!
John Paul - Thursday, December 6, 2007 05:23 AM
I Think ALL the above is fairly right,but I not sure paul wanted do big tour,Fact is they all got tired of the loud screaming birds,no one could hear the music not even them.Jp.
mercyjames - Thursday, December 6, 2007 05:12 AM
Paul wanted to tour doing small club shows and so forth. John was interested in doing big shows. But George and Ringo weren't interested. And as we all know, by 1969 John wasn't that interested in the Beatles either.
Sander - Thursday, December 6, 2007 12:55 AM
Wasn't it Paul who wanted to tour?
Mick - Wednesday, December 5, 2007 01:42 PM
I always thought John was right about anti-nationalism and no borders
anonymous - Wednesday, December 5, 2007 12:52 PM
I always thought John was right when he said The Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ.
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December 10, 2007

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"Thriller" celebrates its 25th anniversary this week. To that effect, there's a pretty cool article on how it changed the face of pop music. (Slate)

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