ABOUT THIS INTERVIEW:
On August 17th 1966, the Beatles and their entourage flew from Philadelphia to Toronto as the 6th stop along their
1966 North American tour. This was the Beatles' return to Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens, appearing for two performances
on this day.
The following press conference was held at King Edward Sheraton Hotel between the afternoon and evening concerts.
At the time of this press conference, the Beatles' Revolver was the #1 album.
Following their August 17th shows, the Beatles would stay overnight in Toronto, leaving on the afternoon of the 18th
for Boston where they would perform for one show at Suffolk Downs.
- Jay Spangler, www.beatlesinterviews.org
TONY BARROW: (yelling) "May we please have quiet before we start with questioning!"
Q: "First question for John. This tremendous enthusiasm of youth, if it were channelled into
good causes, would have a tremendous effect. How about the Beatles starting a 'Feed The World's Hungry'
fund through the United Nations?"
JOHN: "Well, you know. It's an idea. We can't just say yes or no now."
Q: "And the second positive question -- What are some of the positive elements of
Christianity at its best that you feel you can support?"
JOHN: "The basic ideas of Christianity. We suport that."
Q: "Would you recommend them to young people?"
JOHN: "I'd recommend them for anybody. Old people as well, you know."
JOHN: "Especially, yeah."
Q: "Mister Lennon, is there any connection the lonely people in Eleanor Rigby and your recent
attempt to formulate an opinion on religion?"
JOHN: "Well, there's a connection inasmuch as you've connected it. That's all. And it just happened at the
same time over here, but Eleanor Rigby came after that article. The article's quite a few months old, and Eleanor
Rigby came a couple of months later."
Q: "Mister Lennon, do you possibly put a message in your songs as a sort of crusade or do you just make
songs that you like because you think other people will like them?"
JOHN: "I don't know, you know. I don't write them for other people, really. They're only for other people
after they're finished, if they like them or not then, you know. When I write them, or we write them, it's gotta
be for yourself."
Q: "The Beatles, in general, you seem a healthy bunch. You rarely cancel due to..."
JOHN: (to George) "I told you we were."
PAUL: "Very healthy."
JOHN: "Well, George and I were disputing it. He's thinking we're unhealthy, and I was saying we are healthy...
or they wouldn't let us make films."
Q: "This question is for John. Which question do you dislike being asked the most?"
JOHN: "At the moment, the one they're all asking when we first get in about the statement I made."
Q: "Could you tell us about that?"
JOHN: "Uhh, well, you... (laughs)
JOHN: "Well, I mean, you ask me what you want to know about it, and I'll tell you. I'm just going to
go over it and over it."
Q: "This has been asked before -- What did you really say? Was this taken out of context?"
JOHN: "The words themselves weren't out of context, 'cuz they were from an article. The article was
out of context 'cuz it was taken from the paper and from England, you know. That's how it was out of
Q: "Do you feel this has hurt your image in any way?"
JOHN: "Uhh, no."
PAUL: "It's been straightened out, I think."
JOHN: "With a few people, you know, but I don't think I mind about them."
Q: "George, I think the business of John's statement has been cleared up pretty well. I'd like to
ask you what you think is really important in life? I tend to agree that probably the Beatles are more
popular, if popularity is gaged, than Jesus. But is popularity the most important thing? What is the most
important thing in life?"
GEORGE: "Love is the main thing, I'd say. But I mean, there's lots of things in Christianity that
are so right which, all the people who set about us after the comment made, they dont really sort of keep
up with what they are supposed to believe in. I mean, first of all, love thy neighbor like thyself. They
tended to hate a bit more, didn't they, the people who disliked us. Well, for a kick off, that's not a
Christian answer to whatever Lennon said."
Q: "John, may I ask you, what is it in your estimation that can and does really inspire the young
JOHN: "I don't know, honestly, you know. I just know that what we're doing inspires them to a degree,
but not to inspire them to do anything else other than enjoy themselves."
Q: "What you do excites them and makes them enjoy themselves."
PAUL: "They get inspired by people who talk honestly to them. And not people who take the long way
'round and talk in riddles. I think, you know, if they believe us on some things it's because we can say it
like they would think it, 'cuz we're exactly the same. We don't pretend to be anything better than we are,
Q: "Do you always play it straight, Ringo?"
RINGO: (pause) "Nope."
Q: "It seems to me that it's the grown-ups that are small-minded about all these things -- the children
don't seem to be at all and they don't believe any of this. But the parents are telling them that they should
do. And this is where the big mistake is made, is the parent's leading them the wrong way."
PAUL: "Well, you know, there's a gap between the generations that's very hard to fill. I don't think
most children think of their parents as human beings 'til the children themselves are about sixteen,
seventeen, you know."
JOHN: "Older than that."
PAUL: "And they suddenly realize that they're just people like them and not, sort of, great big
people to be feared. You know, THAT'S the gap that should be healed."
Q: "What are the Beatles going to do about their diminishing popularity?"
JOHN: "WHAT dimishing pop...?"
GEORGE: "For a start, there's no signs as far as we're concerned of it diminishing. Our
records and our shows are still selling as well as ever. You're just giving your opinion."
PAUL: (jokingly) "You're finished, George, you're finished!"
GEORGE: "And if our popularity does diminish, we'll be the last to worry."
PAUL: "Hurray!" (whistles)
Q: "With the background instrumentalisation for Eleanor Rigby, aren't you really
heading into something very new?"
PAUL: "No. Very old."
JOHN: "Violins are old."
Q: "What's happening for pop music now, going back to the old?"
PAUL: "It's not..."
JOHN: "It's progressing, you know."
PAUL: "It's progressing because it's having new things with the old, instead of
just the old on its own."
PAUL & JOHN: "Or just the new."
PAUL: "It's combining them. You know, it's taking bits from everything and being, I
don't know... (pause) liberal."
Q: "Do you think you could go electronic?"
PAUL: "Yes, you know. We could go anything."
GEORGE: "Not totally..."
JOHN: (jokingly) Oh, I could."
Q: "The four of you -- Would you sometime like to visit Russia?"
JOHN: "As Beatles or as people?"
JOHN: "Yes, wouldn't mind."
Q: "What kind of reception do you think you would get from a) the people and
b) the officials?"
JOHN: "From the people it would be okay. I don't know about the officials.
You know, I think it would be okay now."
GEORGE: "Okay now."
Q: "John, are you going to have a hand in writing your next movie?"
JOHN: "Umm, I don't think so. I hope not, you know. I'd sooner somebody else
wrote it. I don't know how to do it."
Q: "When is it coming out, do you know?"
JOHN: "I don't know when it's starting even. Probably the..."
GEORGE: "January, I think."
JOHN: "January. February."
Q: "Gentlemen, you received the medals for assisting the British economy a couple
of years ago. The economy is in kind of rough shape now..."
GEORGE: ...and we're still assisting it now."
Q: "Anything to give it a fresh boost?"
JOHN: "Well, we could give them the medals back."
(laughter, followed by applause)
JOHN: "Ahh, it's very friendly here.
Q: "With the people throwing things on the stage, are you worried ever about getting
JOHN: "You worry about your eyes, mainly. You know, 'cuz little things you
Q: "John, I don't want to get you too tangled in politics, but I read that you
weren't very excited about the situation in Vietnam. I would be interested in knowing
your opinion, or any of the Beatles opinion, about the question of the United
States involvement in Vietnam and whether or not you see this as a possibility of a
world confrontation with China, and whether you think it's dangerous, and whether you
think it's important for people to become informed and concerned on this issue."
JOHN: "I mean, we all just don't agree with war for any reason whatsoever. There's
no reason on earth why anybody should kill anybody else."
Q: "Well, why don't you say... Why don't you come out and..."
GEORGE: "The main thing is..."
JOHN: "Because somebody would shoot us for saying it, that's why."
GEORGE: "Somebody once said 'Thou
shalt not kill means THAT, not amend section A.' And there's a lot of people who are
amending section A and who are killing. And it's up to them to sort themselves out."
PAUL: "But we can't say things like that."
JOHN: "We're not allowed to have opinions. You might have noticed, you know."
Q: "Continuing in that line, what do you think of the youthful Americans who are
coming across the border to Canada to escape the draft? Are you in favor of the draft or
military disipline for the younger generation?"
GEORGE: "I think anybody who doesn't feel like fighting or feels like fighting
is wrong has a right not to go in the army. There's nobody can force you into
going and killing someone."
JOHN: "But they do."
PAUL: "Shouldn't be able to, really."
JOHN: (sighs, and continues jokingly) "Ahh, we've had it in Memphis now."
Q: "Paul and John, have you ever thought of writing a musical such as 'My
JOHN: "Nothing like that, anyway."
Q: "Why DON'T you write one?"
PAUL: "We thought about writing a musical, but not like 'My Fair Lady,' because
if we did one like that... There are people around that can write that kind of musical
better than we can because they were doing that fifty years ago, you know. And the only
thing is that if we tried to write a musical, we'd try to write one with up to date
tunes and up to date music. It's difficult to think what to do, 'cuz everyone seems to
go to fifty-year-old ones... you know, that sort of era."
Q: "In bringing Eleanor Rigby and Yellow Submarine, are you trying establish
any sort of a trend in music, away from rock?"
PAUL: "No. I don't think we ever try to establish trends, you know. We try to
keep moving forward and do something different. And if in the meantime it starts trends,
you know, that's okay. But we never try consciously to start them."
Q: "It's certainly original."
PAUL: "Thank you."
Q: "Can I ask Paul, it's either my imagination or are you doing less
physical effort on stage now in your performances?"
PAUL: "I dunno, probably, you know. I mean, you manage to sort out after a few
years just how much jumping around will produce just how much sweat. Perspiration."
Q: "Mister Lennon, you're were asked a question you said, 'The Beatles are people.'
What do you think, that you are..."
JOHN: "I really meant, you know..."
Q: "...do you think you're going to split up?"
JOHN: "Well, everything's possible, you know. There's no answer to that. We obviously
are not going to go around holding hands forever."
JOHN: "We've got to split up or progress. I mean, we might... You know, I can't...
It might happen. It's quite possible."
Q: "This one is for Ringo. Your actions are so limited so much by public demand
and riots and mobs. What normal, everyday thing would you like to do that you cannot because
of your fame?"
RINGO: "Umm, when were off I live quite normally. It's only on tour we're like this
and we're always in hotels and that. But when we're off, I'm just like you."
JOHN: "He's one of THOSE."
Q: Gentlemen, have you given any thought as to when your popularity might end, and if so,
do you think you'll be around in another ten years time?"
PAUL: "We'll be, you know... The only reason we won't be around is we'll be dead. But, uhh,
as Beatles we could be around still doing the same thing as we're doing now only we have developed
a bit. But you know, it'd be a bit embarrassing at 35."
JOHN: (jokingly, to Paul) "Long Tall Sally."
PAUL: (giggling) "Yeah."
Q: "Paul, I've gotten ten variations of the story of how you chipped your tooth.
Can you set the record straight? How did it happen?"
PAUL: "Umm, it was Christmas and I'd had a few drinks and I went for a ride on a moped. And
I was watching the moon and I fell off."
TONY BARROW: "This is the last question."
Q: "This question is for Ringo."
Q: "You must get frightened sometimes with all these youngsters screaming so loud. If you do,
what is the time or what city does this most happen in?"
RINGO: "The screaming never frightens you, it's just when they start a break and try to get
Q: "At what point or what tour have you been the most worried about maybe being attacked?"
RINGO: "Cleveland, I think."
Q: "Cleveland on the current tour?"
JOHN: "Oh, this tour."
RINGO: (to the others) "Was it Cleveland?"
BEATLES: (exaggerated) "Sure. Yeah."
RINGO: "They broke through there."
PAUL: (to Tony Barrow) Is that it? (to the reporters) Thank you. Goodbye."
JOHN: "Thank you."
Source: Transcribed by www.beatlesinterviews.org from audio copy of the press conference