The Beatles Ultimate Experience
Beatles Interviews Database: John Lennon & Yoko Ono Interview: Apple Offices, London 5/8/1969
A huge database of rare and classic Beatles interviews spanning their entire career, complete with photos
The Beatles' own thoughts and memories of writing and recording their songs and albums
The Beatles' opinions of their five feature films
Search by year, including text and 200+ photos
Research our entire database by the topic of your choice!
They're back!! Create and send your own free Beatles Email Greeting Cards!!
The best Beatles resources on the web
Contact the webmaster
John Lennon and Yoko Ono were interviewed at Apple offices in London on May 8th 1969 by David Wigg. Their conversation would air in two parts during May of 1969 on the BBC Radio-One program ‘Scene and Heard.' At the time of this interview, John and Yoko were still a-buzz from their Bed-ins for Peace, and the Beatles had already begun the recording sessions for the album, 'Abbey Road.'

Wigg would later remmeber: "The first interview with John and Yoko is at the Apple offices in London. They had just returned from their lie-in for peace at the Amsterdam Hilton and another in Montreal. On this tape John described what he hoped to achieve from his somewhat bizarre activities."

In addition to being a BBC radio personality, David Wigg was also famous for being a columnist for the Daily Express, as well as the London Evening News. In 1976, Wigg would release a double album featuring his interviews with each of the four Beatles, entitled 'The Beatles Tapes.'

                                          - Jay Spangler,

DAVID WIGG: "John, what do you and Yoko hope to achieve together, because you seem to be concentrating an awful lot of effort these days on LP's together and on your own things together."

JOHN: "Yeah. We hope to achieve peace, really. You know, that’s what we're aiming at. It's a big achievement and we're just doing our best for it, you know."

DAVID: "Do you feel your week in Amsterdam, lying in bed, has achieved anything. Have you had any encouraging results."

JOHN: "Yeah, there was a lot. First of all we made people laugh and that’s good. You know, I mean, John and Yoko are like the wind. You can't see it, but when it passes the trees bend. You know, and that's what we do. And they had a lot of results apart from us getting a nice film out of it and probably an album, a lot of people wrote to us and sent word and people from the States, all around the world. And just instances like some guy wrote and said, 'Now because of your event in Amsterdam I'm not joining the R.A.F. and I'm growing my hair.' Now all we're saying there, symbolically, instead of kicking a shop window in, say, do something like grow your hair for peace. Like, even the guy in the factory he won't cut his hair. He's doing it for peace, whether he knows it or not. You know, he's protesting without... They have no moral or... and no reason can they get him for having long hair. You know, 'bout it going in the cake and all that. He can tie his hair up for work, etcetera, etcetera. So we say, grow your hair for peace and stay in bed for peace. You know, do something like that that can't be got, can't be smashed."

DAVID: "But do you feel that growing your hair and lying in bed is a positive enough reaction. Don't you think it'd be better if people went out and did something more positive."

JOHN: "That is a positive thing. (To Yoko) You tell him."

YOKO: "It's very very positive. I mean, the fact that it stimulated other people to say that, like you said that, you know, this is the result of us doing it. You know, in other words, well, alright, let's do something positive for peace. So we started that, you see. So in that sense it's very very..."

JOHN: "So you go out and do it. If we inspired you to do something positive, we say we've done something positive. You know, you say, 'Well I can do better than that.' Do it. That's the point."

YOKO: "Yes, top us."

JOHN: "Anybody who's got an idea, top us. You know, and we'll keep the game going and try and top you. But we all want to..."

YOKO: "It's like a peace competition, you know, that's what it is. Like saying, 'Well alright, so they weren't doing so well. We can do better,' you know. It goes better."

DAVID: "A lot of people also feel that if everyone goes to bed and stays in bed for a week or a few days for peace, as a protest for peace, the whole country will come to a standstill."

JOHN: "Well, wouldn't it be better than producing arms and bombs. Imagine if the American army stayed in bed for a week and the Vietnamese army. Or Nixon... and chairman Mao. Imagine if the whole world stayed in bed. There'd be peace for a week and they might get to feel what it was like. The tension would be released."

DAVID: "If there was enough trouble and there was obviously going to be a war and you were asked to fight, John. Would you fight for your country?"

JOHN: "I wouldn’t attack, no. I'd defend meself, probably, in a situation. But I wouldn't attack. I'm a pacifist, you know."

DAVID: "What do you want out of life most of all now, John?"

JOHN: "Peace, you know. Really that's all I want."

DAVID: "If anything happened to you, how would you like people to remember you?"

JOHN: "As the great peaceniks."

DAVID: "That before your music?"

JOHN: "Oh sure, yeah."

DAVID: "If you had your time over again, would you like it to work out like it has today? Would you like to be exactly what you are today. In other words, would you like to be John Lennon, Beatle?"

JOHN: "Yes, I don't regret a thing, you know. Especially since meeting Yoko. That's made everything worthwhile. And that's the end of it, you know."

DAVID: "What especially attracted you to Yoko."

JOHN: "Well, she's me in drag."


YOKO: "I'm very amazed too, you know. I mean, I'm very amazed to meet somebody like John. He's like a kind of replica of me and at the same time a little bit extra something, you know. And it's very beautiful. The thing was, I was doing things alone, you know, and my main big problem was loneliness, and a lonely fight, really. And now we're together and we're doing it together, so it's easier. And I'm really very thankful it is. It's really the best luck I had in my life, so to speak."

DAVID: "John, you seem a lot more relaxed in yourself now. What has happened? What do you put this down to? Because before, you were always a little bit frightening."

JOHN: "Yes, yeah. I put it down to Yoko, you know. She's brought out the real me. And I get nervous and tense like anybody else but I'm more relaxed than I ever was, since I was a child, you know."

DAVID: "So you would say you are going through the happiest period at the moment. You were a few years ago looking for happiness. Do you feel that you've found it?"

JOHN: "Yes."

DAVID: "And do you feel that what you did previously, going to India and things like that, were of any help?"

JOHN: "Yes. That's what I mean, I don't regret anything. Meditation, I still believe in and occasionally I use it. And I don't regret any of that. I don't regret taking drugs, because they helped me. I don't advocate them for everybody, because I don't think I should, you know. But for me it was good and India was good for me. And I met Yoko just before I went to India and had a lot of time to think, and think things out there with three months just meditating and thinking. And I came home and fell in love with Yoko and that was the end of it. And it's beautiful."

DAVID: "And what is your attitude to drugs now since the charge? Do you still take drugs?"

JOHN: "I don't possess drugs, you know. I don't really bother with them much at all these days, actually. You know, but if somebody offered me some at a party, it'd depend how I felt. The same as whisky now. I don't drink either. But depending on the situation, I might take pot, you know. But I would never carry it again. A, because I don't want to go through that. B, because I don't really want it, you know. The stuff was stuff that I'd had previously. I had already dropped it in India. You know, and I'd taken it occasionally, you know, I take a drink occasionally, and that bit."

YOKO: "These days we're sort of high on just nothing, you know. Just high."

JOHN: "Low."

YOKO: "Yes, and low. You're just being together, you know. And we're so high all the time. So it's no point in taking anything really."

JOHN: "No."

DAVID: "George said that he thought the British were against the Beatles. Do you agree with this, John? Do you feel an anti-attitude towards you at the moment which you haven't experienced before in your career?"

JOHN: "Oh, we’ve experienced it before. We've always been treated the same. The Beatles are treated like Britain's children, you know. And it's ok for the family to insult us. But you try... See what happens if abroad starts insulting us. The British will stick up for us. And it's just like a family. And it's alright for them to slap our face, but if the neighbour does it, you watch out, you know. It's always been like that. And George was very depressed and it is depressing when the whole family's picking on you, you know. Whether it's because he did something wrong. I don't believe in hitting the child, you know. We do get hurt because Britain appreciates us least, you know. But we can't help that. But at least we can live here in peace you know, really."

DAVID: "You said you don't believe in hitting a child."

JOHN: "I don't believe in hitting him to correct him. I don't believe in corporal punishment as the answer. I can understand people think it's the only way to deal with them 'cuz I understand those people. I don't think they're right, because it doesn't help murderers to hang them or help violent people to be violent to them. It is all they understand but... Violence begets violence, you know. And you can't kill off all the violent people or all the murderers. We'd have to kill off the government."

DAVID: "Do you take everything you do seriously?"

JOHN: "Seriously with a pinch of salt. You know, I don't take it too seriously because I think that's the trouble with Art quotes, Music quotes, the Peace Movement quotes and the World quotes, you know. So I take everything with a pinch of salt. But I take life seriously, you know. The serious job of being happy."

DAVID: "But the only thing that disturbs me a little bit is that a lot of people are jeering, aren't they, and making fun, now."

JOHN: "What they do... If anybody takes a stand..."

DAVID: "Not taking you seriously."

JOHN: "But that is good. That's part of our policy, is not to be taken seriously because I think our opposition, whoever they may be in all their manifest forms, don't know how to handle humour, you know. And we're humorists, we're Laurel and Hardy, that's John and Yoko. And we stand a better chance under that guise 'cuz all the serious people like Martin Luther King and Kennedy and Gandhi got shot."

DAVID: "Yes, that's a very interesting point. So you don't mind being the court jesters, John?"

JOHN: "Oh no, we're willing to be the world's clowns."

DAVID: "John, on one broadcast to France, you said that you were God. Were you serious about that?"

JOHN: "Yes, I..."

DAVID: "Do you really feel you are God?"

JOHN: "We’re all God, you know. I mean, Christ said, the kingdom of heaven is within you. And that's what it means, you know. And the Indians say that and the Zen people say that. It's a basic thing of religion. We're all God. I'm not a God or the God, not the God. But we're all God and we're all potentially divine and potentially evil. We all have everything within us. And the kingdom of heaven is nigh and within us, you know. And if you look hard enough you see it."

DAVID: "You then believe in life after death?"

JOHN: "I do. Without any doubt I believe in it."

DAVID: "Have you had any special experiences that make you believe so convincingly?"

JOHN: "In meditation, on drugs, on diets, I've been aware of soul and been aware the power. Somebody asked a witch on TV, "Are you a black witch or a white witch?' And she said, 'There's no such thing.' There is a power which people tap and they use it for whatever ends they use it. Now God is a power which we're all capable of tapping. We're all lightbulbs that can tap the electricity. You can use electricity to kill people or to light the room, you know. And God is that. Neither one or the other but everything. And we use him to our best ability and it's no good blaming God for war because you can use the H-bomb for cheap power throughout the world or you can use it for a bomb, you know. The H-power, whatever it is, atomic power. And that's... God is that."

DAVID: "What does life mean to you, John. Will it matter to you if it finished tomorrow or do you want to live to an old age?"

JOHN: "I'd like to live to a ripe old age, with Yoko only, you know. And I'm not afraid of dying. I don't know how it'd feel at the moment. But I'm prepared for death because I don't believe in it. I think it's just getting out of one car and getting into another."

DAVID: "Do you ever go to church."

JOHN: "No, I don’t need to go to church, because church... I respect churches because of the sacredness that's been put on them over the years by people who do believe. I think a lot of bad things have happened in the name of the church and in the name of Christ and therefore I shy away from church. And as Donovan once said, I go to my own church and my own temple once a day, you know. And I think people who need a church should go, and the others who know the church is in your own head should visit that temple, 'cuz that's where the source is."

Source: Transcribed by from audio copy of the interview

Return to Database Menu