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Beatles Interviews Database: John Lennon Interview: Juke Box Jury 6/22/1963
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On June 22nd 1963, John Lennon would make an appearance at Television Theatre in London for a taping of the BBC-TV program Juke Box Jury. The program would be broadcast one week later on June 29th.

Juke Box Jury was a weekly program featuring a panel of four celebrities who were given the task of rating newly released records as 'HIT' or 'MISS,' based on their personal opinions of the recording's potential to become a popular chart hit. Other panelists appearing with Lennon on this edition of Juke Box Jury included Katie Boyle, Caroline Maudling, and Bruce Prochnik.

Lennon's appearance on Juke Box Jury stirred a small bit of controversy when he rated every record as a 'MISS.' Following the broadcast of the program, his critics attacked him as cynical and not liking anything, and his fans of course defended his honesty and outspokenness.

In this program, Lennon gives a scathing review of the new record from one of his heroes, Devil In Disguise by Elvis Presley.

Immediately following the taping of the show, Brian Epstein had arranged for Lennon to be flown by helicopter from Battersea Airport to Abergavenny. He would arrive just moments before the Beatles performance that evening at the Abergavenny Town Hall Ballroom in Monmouthshire, Wales.

The video of John Lennon's appearance on Juke Box Jury no longer exists, having suffered the same unfortunate fate as many early television programs. Luckily, most of the audio from this television appearance has survived.

All four Beatles would appear together as Juke Box Jury panelists later in the year on December 7th.

Juke Box Jury began as a program in America during the earliest days of television. The BBC version of the show debuted in 1959 and ran until 1967. The host of Juke Box Jury in Britain was David Jacobs.

                                          - Jay Spangler,

Song heard: So Much In Love - The Tymes

JOHN: "Uhh, I thought it was Rolf Harris at first. And then I thought, 'No, it's the Drifters.' And then it's just... you know. It's nobody."

(giggling from the panel)

JOHN: "I don't think it's a hit."

DAVID JACOBS: "You didn't like it?"

JOHN: "Well, it was alright, you know. The style was alright but it wasn't good enough in that idiom. (pause, then comically) Idiom?"


(John votes by holding up the MISS card)

Song heard: The Click Song - Miriam Makeba and the Belafonte Singers

JOHN: "It's nice you know... Not for that reason. Because, you know, these foreign records -- this kind of, you know, the language -- It just didn't go. It's quite nice actually, but if it was in English it'd mean even less."


JOHN: "It's intriguing because it's foreign, you know. But you can pick them out a mile away with all the gimmicks and all the different styles."

(John votes by holding up the MISS card)

Song heard: Flamenco - Russ Conway

JOHN: "I like pianos and things, but not sort of pub pianos playing flamenco music, with 'click click.' It doesn't work, you know. It still sounds... It still sounds honky, you know. It doesn't sound anything like flamenco."


JOHN: "He hasn't pinched the best bits of real Spanish music, I don't think. Sorry."

(John votes by holding up the MISS card)

Song heard: Devil In Disguise - Elvis Presley

JOHN: "Well, you know, I used to go mad on Elvis, like all the groups, but not now. I don't like this. And I hate songs with 'walk' and 'talk' in it -- you know, those lyrics. She walks, she talks. I don't like that. And I don't like the double beat: doom-cha doom-cha, that bit. It's awful. (pause) Poor ol' Elvis."


BRUCE PROCHNIK: "Your heart bleeds for him."

JOHN: "Well, I've got all his early records and I keep playing them. He mustn't make another like this. But somebody said today he sounds like Bing Crosby now, and he does."


JOHN: "There'll be people writing in now. I know what they're saying (comically in a low, slow voice) 'What d'ya mean!?'"


JOHN: "I don't like him anymore."

KATIE BOYLE: "If he did sound like Bing Crosby, would it be bad?"

JOHN: "Well, for Elvis... yes."


(John votes by holding up the MISS card)

Song heard: On Top Of Spaghetti - Tom Glaser

JOHN: "Oh. I can't stand these all-together-now records. I like the idea of one shouting and one answering, but not that. I prefer the recent Little Eva, Smokey-Locomotion, folks. But not that, you know. (describing the group-sing-a-long nature of Glaser's song) It's like an outing."


JOHN: "A coach trip."

(John votes by holding up the MISS card)

Song heard: First Quarrel - Paul and Paula

JOHN: "Well, I like their first record (Hey Paula), because I like the octave singing -- her singing, you know, one above him. And it wasn't bad. I didn't buy it. And the second one, you know, wasn't worth bothering. And this.. this has 'Jim' in, you know. All these American records are always about Jim and Bobby and Alfred and all this."


JOHN: "I don't like it."

(John votes by holding up the MISS card)

Song heard: Don't Ever Let Me Down - Julie Grant

JOHN: "Ahh, I can't think of a thing to say. At the beginning I thought, you know, 'Oh, it's one of those with an intro,' but the intro wasn't strong enough."

DAVID JACOBS: "Do you like girls records or not?"

JOHN: "Yeah, I like girl singers. I like Shirelles and Chiffons, you know. They're different. But I can't think of any girl in particular."

DAVID JACOBS: "But not that particular record."

JOHN: "No."

(John votes by holding up the MISS card)

Source: Transcribed by from audio copy of the television appearance

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