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Anonymous asked:

I just read both interviews, Part 1 and 2 of Jann Wenner’s Rolling Stone Interview of 1971. It sounds as though John and the other Beatles DID have a realistic gripe about Paul taking over, directly projects, handing out musical assignments, etc., etc. and I’m sure he had the ego by this point to match! I would probably have become irritated by Paul as well. And no hints or even reading between the lines of John being emotionally hurt by Paul with regard to loss of intimate relationship.

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Hello and thanks for writing in, Listener!

First, I’d like to point out that we haven’t reached the Lennon Remembers portion of our Break-up Series, and will dig into it much more thoroughly in a future episode (stay tuned!).  

Presumably this ask isn’t in response to anything we’ve actually discussed on the podcast, in which case I feel that I should explain that what we do on our show is reevaluate conventional wisdom and contextualize public statements within the realities of actual behaviors. In other words, not taking things like Lennon Remembers at face value is AKOM 101.

If what we were doing on this podcast was as easy as simply reading the most infamous interview John Lennon ever gave (the one upon which the conventional story of the Beatles break-up is founded), it wouldn’t be much of a podcast or a very groundbreaking analysis, would it?

Second, I’d like to mention that listeners/readers can hear the entire (3.5 hours!) interview on You Tube.  Very evocative with audio!  Wenner’s editing in the print versions often make John sound more coherent and less vitriolic towards everyone but Paul than the audio reveals (i.e. the shitty comments about Paul are always printed but the ones about George, Brian, etc often aren’t).

Next, we’d like to state the usual disclaimer (which everyone is probably already aware of but is a good reminder anyway!):  John later disavowed this interview.  In fact, he was so angry at Jann Wenner for publishing it as a book, it apparently created a permanent rift between the two.  You may choose to view/value this interview as John being super honest, but please consider that in this allegedly “truthful” book/interview, John:

  • claims George is musically/creatively inferior to John
  • declares the McCartney album “rubbish”
  • reveals his belief that he and Paul’s confidence levels are intrinsically, inversely related to one another
  • says George was so aggressively rude to Yoko that John wished he would’ve punched him over it
  • proudly admits that he “maneuvered” the other Beatles to get Klein in as manager
  • bemoans the fact that everyone says Brian Epstein was so great “just because he’s dead” and that Brian cheated and robbed the Beatles
  • makes derisive comments about “fags” at least five times in the printed version alone and calls Lee Eastman “a wasp Jew, man, that’s the worst kind of person on earth.”
  • admits to lying in interviews and deflects accountability on the basis of being “just a guy” who mouths off about stuff

As for Paul, John is admittedly all over the place, swinging fairly wildly from nostalgic (reminiscing about having “a good mind like Paul’s” on his side and co-writing with their “fingers in each others’ pies”) to bitter (”Paul thought he was the Beatles,” etc).

As for the accusations that Paul was tyrannical, we’ve addressed these before (particularly in Break-Up Episode 2).  Just as Geoff Emerick, Michael Lindsay Hogg and Doug Sulpy (and even John, when he was feeling more generous) have articulated, we too feel that Paul stepped up and led the band in a time of need and deserves unequivocal credit for that.  We believe much of the subsequent complaining from the other Beatles is akin to the kind of griping one directs at a colleague who gets promoted (“who died and made you king!?”) and while some of it was likely based in genuine irritation at Paul’s communication style, much of it was probably petty.  This is why we are looking at the situation from all angles, to get a better sense of what is reality v. spin.  In any case, we don’t dispute that there were power struggles within the band.

Any reader is free to choose John’s side in any/all of these battles.  But our overall takeaway from this particular interview is that John was unloading a lot of pent-up rage; against teachers, fans, Aunt Mimi, his mum, critics, Paul and anyone else who didn’t properly recognize his genius and praise him for it.

“That’s what makes me what I am. It comes out, the people I meet have to say it themselves, because we get fuckin’ kicked. Nobody says it, so you scream it: look at me, a genius, for fuck’s sake! What do I have to do to prove to you son-of-a-bitches what I can do, and who I am? Don’t dare, don’t you dare fuckin’ dare criticize my work like that. You, who don’t know anything about it.”

Based solely on Lennon Remembers, one could reasonably believe John didn’t like anyone but Yoko and Allen Klein (of whom he also speaks with reverence).  Fortunately, John gave a million other interviews in his lifetime, so even though this one is given a disproportionate amount of weight (probably b/c it is the most inflammatory and “raw”) we can compare John’s comments, behavior and art over a broad spectrum of time.  We feel this gives us a better, more thorough and more authentic portrait of John’s POV.  This is a good idea with ANY public figure, but especially important in John’s case, since, by his own admission he has a tendency to say what he feels in the moment and doesn’t necessarily stand by his own statements afterwards.

John in 1976:  “I get a bit absolute in my statements. [laughs] Which sometimes get me into deep water, and sometimes into the shallow.”

To your other point, our overall impressions about John’s feelings regarding  “loss of an intimate relationship” with Paul certainly do not hinge on Lennon Remembers, nor have we ever suggested they do.  In fact, LR is commonly used as the primary proof-point by McCartney detractors and Lennon/McCartney deniers (those who willfully and sometimes passionately  ignore and/or deny the deep love between John and Paul, as described by John and Paul themselves and everyone in their lives) that Paul was a tyrant who destroyed the Beatles with his massive ego.  

We have never disputed the existence of Paul’s ego.  But consider this: John refers to himself as an egomaniac REPEATEDLY throughout this interview.  Why is there a loud faction of people who consider John being an avowed egomaniac perfectly reasonable (sexy even!), but find it unforgivable that Paul is the same way?  Consider these excerpts from Lennon Remembers:

Do you think you will record together again?

I record with Yoko, but I’m not going to record with another egomaniac. There is only room for one on an album nowadays.

How would you assess George’s talents?

[…] Maybe it was hard for him sometimes, because Paul and I are such egomaniacs, but that’s the game.

Who do you think is good today? In any arts…

The unfortunate thing about egomaniacs is that they don’t take much attention of other people’s work. I only assess people on whether they are a danger to me or my work or not.


But the Beatles were artists, and all artists have fucking’ big egos, whether they like to admit it or not […]

Yes, John rants repeatedly about Paul’s ego during this interview- while he simultaneously declares his own genius and artistic superiority over others. We find it mind-boggling how this irony continues to evade some people, but there it is.  

George Harrison has repeatedly complained about BOTH John & Paul’s egos (and their shared ego IRT “Lennon/McCartney”), but again, this is often ignored in favor of singling out Paul as the villain.  

Furthermore, it’s helpful to bear in mind when consuming Lennon Remembers that John and Yoko had received training in media-messaging by this point and were very savvy at Public Relations.  We know from people close to them that they drafted their stories in advance before offering them to the public. This fact, combined with Lennon’s tendency to “mouth off” means we have the right and responsibility to question and examine John’s claims rather than simply  parrot them mindlessly.

If you are genuinely interested in our take, we recommend our Break-Up Series. We think you will find it well-researched and thoughtful, even if you disagree with some of our conclusions.

Or if you simply dislike McCartney and find him “irritating,” that’s fine too.  Not everyone has to like everyone!

For additional discussion/analysis of Lennon Remembers, I recommend any of several threads on Erin Torkelson Weber’s site, the Historian and the Beatles.

the flawed lens of Lennon v. McCartney

Jann Wenner’s bio

how Rolling Stone shaped the breakup

discussing a podcast appearance

Thank you so much for this ask!  It is always a pleasure to share information.  Have a wonderful day.

-The AKOM crew

Anonymous asked:

What Beatles books would you recommend for a fan that’s already read lots of jean-jacket biographies?

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We’re still working on a comprehensive list to eventually add to our website.  

In the meantime, I recently picked up Truant Boy by Martin Shough on the advice of some listeners and am really enjoying it so far!


Anonymous asked:

Thanks for shining a light on Linda! What a remarkable woman, with her quiet self confidence & her groundedness. This is such an attractive quality, I understand why Paul fell. Why she meant to him freedom, home, love. Why he wanted to make a home with her, why he always thought of her as his girlfriend. “Maybe I’m amazed”, indeed.. ❤️

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You’re welcome!  We love her too.

The breakup is always analyzed in terms of John, Paul and Yoko, but this ignores such a critical element.  Linda’s impact is a vital piece of the puzzle that is repeatedly overlooked. 

We consider Linda McCartney a major game changer in the Beatles dynamic and therefore believe she is important to consider in her own right. 

In this episode, we explore her impact on both Paul AND John.

-from episode 6 of our Break-up Series

The breakup is always analyzed in terms of John, Paul and Yoko, but this ignores such a critical element.  Linda’s impact is a vital piece of the puzzle that is repeatedly overlooked. 

We consider Linda McCartney a major game changer in the Beatles dynamic and therefore believe she is important to consider in her own right. 

In this episode, we explore her impact on both Paul AND John.

-from episode 6 of our Break-up Series

Anonymous asked:

Thanks for such a well-researched and well-argued series! It still stuns me how defensive and angry people get about Yoko’s claims about John’s feelings for Paul. I wonder: if Paul had died prematurely and Linda publicly claimed that Paul believed everyone was bisexual, “didn’t mind” attractive men, wanted to have sex with men (but never found the right guy) and contemplated an affair with John…. Would people be pushing back this hard? I suspect jean jackets would run amok with that info!

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Well, we agree.

The thing is that no matter how overexposed the Beatles’ lives have been over the years, there is still plenty we don’t know about John and Paul.  But we do know that the standard story of their relationship and its fallout contains numerous plot holes.  Essentially we are striving to get to the emotional core of their relationship and understand the events that occurred between them.  Granted, it’s very hard to be objective about these topics and I think we all end up relying on our perceptions of John & Paul’s individual personas -along with our own particular life experience- to make sense of their behaviors.  But when we get down to it, we don’t know these people.  Memoirs notwithstanding, the vast majority of authors don’t know them either (Barry Miles being an exception).  Still, we rely on books to feed us a comprehensible narrative.  Yet once you realize that Beatles biographers can’t really be trusted to be objective and are often working from rehashed information and outdated stereotypes, it gets very difficult to suss out the truth.

If we treat the study of the Beatles’ disintegration with the seriousness we would afford, say, a basic civil lawsuit, it should go without saying that all credible evidence should be considered.  We have argued repeatedly that the information provided by Yoko in the past 15 years (regarding John’s sexuality and feelings for Paul) is important and should inform the way we interpret the events of the break-up (and HDYS, for example).  This is as close to a “break in the case” as we have gotten in 50 years and yet the mainstream authorship (and most of the fandom by default) is still unwilling to redress and reassess the Old Story or reconsider things we’ve collectively taken for granted for 50 years. Not to sound whiny, but it is very frustrating to hit this wall over and over and over again.

We understand that reconsidering new evidence is challenging and that people can be extremely resistant to abandoning ideas they cherish or have an emotional attachment to.  We at AKOM certainly aren’t immune to having strong emotions about the Beatles, which is why we are constantly checking ourselves (and each other) and why we mandate that we consider every voice in the Beatles/McCartney/Lennon universe, not just the ones we like.  Furthermore, we believe it is never wise to hold too tightly to any particular theory and important to remain receptive to new information as it comes to light.  
We also believe the glut of wishful thinking demonstrated by everyone in Beatles world (fandom, authorship) is harmful to discourse. 

But in terms of Yoko’s comments, let’s just pressure-test it for a moment. What exactly is unbelievable about it?  

Is it plausible that John was bisexual? Yes.
Is it plausible he never fully acted upon his sexual attraction to men? Yes.
Is it plausible that he never acted upon it because he had an ideal version of a boyfriend/partner, one that was not just attractive but “mentally advanced?”  Yes.
Is it plausible that John contemplated an affair with Paul? Yes.
Is it plausible that there was “something there, from John’s side, not Paul’s,” either in Yoko’s perception or John’s perception or reality?  Yes, yes and yes.

Is it plausible that this is what John is “so angry” about? Yes.

We can’t “prove” these claims provided by Yoko, but we have no cause to dismiss them.  So we should pursue them.

What would Yoko gain from revealing this info?  Nothing. It does her no favors to suggest John had deep, sexual and/or potentially romantic feelings for Paul.  

Did she regret letting the cat out of the bag?  Perhaps, as she tried to scare Norman with a team of lawyers (but ultimately had no legal grounds to recant).

Is it consistent with how Yoko behaved toward Paul since 1968?  Yes, she became suspicious about John & Paul two weeks after she and John started dating and we have evidence she worked to keep them apart on several occasions throughout the 70s (and eavesdropped on at least one phone call).

Does this information make sense of John’s confounding behavior towards Paul? Potentially, yes.  This is what we’re exploring in our series.

We never want to oversimplify things.  We’re not suggesting that John’s behavior was motivated solely by romantic rejection or that John didn’t have mixed feelings for Paul (evidence shows he very much did, at least post break-up).  We just think that maybe a part of John fell for Paul and hated himself for it – not just for homophobic reasons, but for competitive reasons too – and that he ultimately took that anger and embarrassment out on Paul.  

Feeling rejected is rough for everyone, but John’s sense of self was so closely tied to Paul’s validation and love.  We suspect the notion that John cared more or wanted more would be something that would eat away at him for a long, long time (regardless of critical acclaim or being awarded the Coolest Guy in Rock trophy).  Perhaps years.  Perhaps always.  And perhaps it would make him forever bitter about Paul in a way that cannot be explained by Paul’s “bossiness” or “granny music.”

Anyway, this got ridiculously long but thank you for the ask!  And thank you for listening.  🙂

-The AKOM crew

For the record, we always welcome different POVs, ideas and constructive criticism.  We do not respond to trolls.  🙂

Anonymous asked:

Episode 6 was amazing, guys!!! Keep up the amazing work! I particularly loved the part where you speculate that the reason Paul pushes the “John just fell in love with Yoko” agenda so much is so he can believe it himself, that if John was fulfilled with her, it was all worth it. I also think John pushed this undying myth for the same reason; why he made fun of groups like Zeppelin, Wings and Stones in his Playboy interview, to convince himself he was happier with his wife than in The Beatles.

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Thank you for the kind words!

And we suspect you may be right about John’s notorious shit-talking of other artists in later years.  

Thanks for listening!  🙂

Anonymous asked:

I’m still baffled at the “beginning of holiday-end of holiday” pictures… How????

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I know, right?  They must’ve been very “busy.”  

Anonymous asked:

“Paul’s triumphant victory mustaches” LOL! Thanks for the great new episode.

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You’re welcome, listener!

A crossection of John and Paul shots from 1969, as referenced in Part 6 of “If I Ran Away from You,” our podcast series on The Beatles breakup.

Paul’s “hot on the farm” Ram beard, as discussed in Part 6 of “If I Ran Away from You,” our series on the Beatles breakup.

Paul’s “hot on the farm” Ram beard, as discussed in part 6 of, “If I Ran Away from You,” our series on the Beatles breakup.

Paul’s “victory moustache” from various super-creative times in his life, as referenced in Part 6 of “If I Ran Away from You,” our series on the Beatles breakup.

John in the summer of 1969, as referenced in Part 6 of “If I Ran Away from You,” our series on the Beatles breakup.

John in the summer of 1969, as referenced in Part 6 of “If I Ran Away from You,” our series on the Beatles breakup.