The Beatles Ultimate Experience
Beatles Ultimate Experience: Beatles Photos & Quotes Database: 1966
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(on songwriting and recording)

Q: "Are you more confident about songwriting these days?"

GEORGE: "You get more confident as you progress. John and Paul's standard of writing has bettered over the years, so it's very hard for me to come straight to the top, on par with them."

Q: "Do you go to John and Paul for advice?"

GEORGE: "They gave me an awful lot of encouragement. Their reaction has been very good. If it hadn't, I think I would have just crawled away."

Q: "Do you put ideas forward when recording one of John and Paul's songs?"

GEORGE: "I think they welcome my ideas. We all put alot of suggestions in after we've recorded a take. That's why we take so long to record a number. We've always cooperated with one another. Paul might come into the studio and say, 'Do this' if he has worked out the chords beforehand. But they always need changing."

RINGO 1966
(on working with The Beatles)

RINGO: "The best thing about this group is that we all work everything out between us. It doesn't matter who is playing what. If someone thinks of something, then we'll try it. If I'm playing the drums and someone says, 'Try this here, or do something there,' I'll try it. The same with John on guitar... it's the same with all of us."

PAUL 1966
(dispelling a rumor)

PAUL: "All of these rumors that The Beatles are splitting up are pure rubbish... because we're all great friends, and we don't want to split up. There's never been any talk of it, except by other people."

(Japan press conference, just before the Tokyo Budokan concerts)

Q: "Some Japanese say that your performances will violate the Budokan, which is devoted to traditional Japanese martial arts, and that you set a bad example for Japanese youth by leading them astray from traditional Japanese values. What do you think of all that?"

PAUL: "It's, uhh... the thing is that if somebody from Japan, if a dancing troupe from Japan goes to Britain, nobody tries to say in Britain that they are violating the traditional laws, you know, or that they're trying to spoil anything. All we're doing is coming here and singing because we've been asked to."

JOHN: "It's better to watch singing than wrestling, anyway."

PAUL: "We're not trying to violate anything, you know... umm... We're just as traditional, anyway."

(Japanese television interview, just before the Budokan concerts)

Q: "Did you have any knowledge of Japan before coming here?"

PAUL: "Yes, a little. Not much though."

GEORGE: "About as much as most places we go to on tour."

Q: "We understand you met your Queen. What did you think of her?"

RINGO: "She's ok!"

PAUL: (laughs) "...yes, yes. She's one of the best!"

Q: "What do you think of your treatment here in Japan?"

RINGO: "It's amazing security, you know. I've never seen so many people guarding us."

Q: "Well, we want to make sure that you're not hurt while you're here."

RINGO: "But we don't want the security to hurt the fans. Don't be too rough with them."

JOHN 1966
(at Heathrow Airport, upon returning from the Philippines)

JOHN: "All along the route there were people waving, but I could see a few old men booing us. When they started on us at the airport, I was petrified. I thought I was going to get hurt so I headed for three nuns and two monks, thinking that if I was close to them people that might stop 'em. I was just pushed around. But that's the Philippines finished for me. No plane's going through the Philippines with me on it. I wouldn't even fly over it."


JOHN 1966
(the original 'Jesus' statement that led to controversy)

JOHN: "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that. I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now. I don't know which will go first, rock and roll or Christianity. Jesus was alright, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."

(on the Jesus statement controversy)

GEORGE: "Why can't we bring all this out in the open? Why is there all this stuff about blasphemy? If Christianity's as good as they say it is, it should stand up to a bit of discussion."

JOHN 1966
(rebuttal to the Jesus controversy)

JOHN: "If I had said television is more popular than Jesus, I might have got away with it. You know, but as I just happened to be talking to a friend, I used the word 'Beatles' as a remote thing-- not as what 'I' think as Beatles-- as those other Beatles like other people see us. I just said 'they' are having more influence on kids and things than anything else, including Jesus. But I said it in that way which is the wrong way. Yap yap."

Q: "Some teenagers have repeated your statements-- 'I like the Beatles more than Jesus Christ.' What do you think about that?"

JOHN: "Well, originally I was pointing out that fact in reference to England-- that we meant more to kids than Jesus did, or religion, at that time. I wasn't knocking it or putting it down, I was just saying it as a fact. And it's sort of... It is true, 'specially more for England than here. I'm not saying that we're better, or greater, or comparing us with Jesus Christ as a person or God as a thing or whatever it is, you know. I just said what I said and it was wrong, or was taken wrong. And now it's all this."

Q: "There have been threats against your life, there have been record burnings, you've been banned from some radio stations-- Does this bother you?"

JOHN: "Well, it worries me."

Q: "Do you think you're being crucified?"

JOHN: "No, I wouldn't say THAT at all!"

JOHN 1966
(answering questions regarding the 'Jesus' controversy)

Q: "Mr. Lennon, are you all christians?"

JOHN: "Well, we were brought up as christians. I don't profess to be a practicing christian... but I think Christ was what he was, and if anybody says anything great about him, I believe. I'm not a practicing christian like I was brought up to be. But I don't have unchristian thoughts."

Q: "Was there as much repercussion and reaction to your statements throughout Europe, and other countries in the world as there was here in America?"

JOHN: "I don't think Europe heard about it. They will now."


(rebuttal to the 'Jesus' controversy)

Q: "Do you consider that now since you've been here in the United States for almost a week, that this religious issue is answered once and for all? Would you clarify and repeat the answer that you gave in Chicago?"

JOHN: "I can't repeat it again because I don't know what I said, you know."

Q: "Well, would you clarify the remarks that were attributed to you?"

JOHN: "You tell me what you think I meant, and I'll tell you whether I agree or not."

Q: "Well, some of the remarks attributed to you in some of the newspapers... the press here... concerning the remark that you made comparing the relative popularity of the Beatles with Jesus Christ... and that the Beatles were more popular. This created quite a controversy and a furor in this country, as you are obviously aware."

PAUL: "Did you know that, John? You created a furor."

Q: "Now, would you clarify the remark?"

JOHN: "Well, I've clarified it about 800 times, you know. I could have said TV or something else, you know... and that's as clear as it can be. I just used Beatles because I know about them a bit more than TV. But I could have said any number of things. (jokingly) It wouldn't have got as much publicity though."

PAUL: (laughs)

Q: "My question is directed at all of you. Do you think this controversy has hurt your careers or has helped you professionally?"

PAUL: "It hasn't helped or hindered it, I don't think. I think most sensible people took it for what it was... and it was only the biggots that took it up and thought it was, you know, on 'their' side... thinking, 'Aha! Here's something to get them for.' But when they read it, they saw that there was nothing wrong with it really. It's just that they thought that by John saying that we were more popular than Jesus-- they thought, 'Ah, he's bound to be arrogant.'"

(during the 'Jesus statement' controversy)

JOHN: "I was just talking to a friend of mine, who also happens to be a reporter. I wasn't saying The Beatles were 'better' than God or Christianity. I could have said motor cars are more popular than Jesus. I just used the name Beatles because I can talk about us easier to use as an example, especially to a close friend. The point of what I was saying came from what I'd read and observed of Christianity. It just seemed to me to be shrinking. I wasn't saying it was bad. I was just saying that it seems to be shrinking and losing contact."

PAUL: "And we deplore the fact that it is, you know."

JOHN: "When the story of it came out in England, a few people wrote in the papers, 'He can have his own opinion,' and then it just vanished. It was very small. But by the time it got over here and was put into a kid's magazine, it just lost it's context and everyone started making their own versions."

Q: "As this has begun to die down, a great many ministers have agreed with you in the full context of what you said. Most of the oversimplification of what you said has come from the 'Bible Belt.'"

PAUL: "Yea, they seem to think that John is trying to get at them, but he isn't at all. It was just a straight comment on something, which may be right or may be wrong... but he's got to answer as he feels honestly. If they think for him to do that is wrong, then they don't believe in free speech. I thought everyone here did."

(on the 'Jesus' controversy)

JOHN: "The thing is, it doesn't matter about people not liking our records, or not liking the way we look, or what we say, you know. They're entitled to not like us. And we're entitled to not have anything to do with them, or not to regard them. We've all got our rights, you know.

Q: "What difference has all this controversy made to this tour, Paul?"

PAUL: "It's made it more hectic. It's made all the press conferences mean a bit more. The questions are a bit more serious this time."

Q: "It seems to me you've always been successful because you've been outspoken and direct. Does it seem a bit hard to you that people are now knocking you for this very thing?"

PAUL: "Yes! It seems hard. You know... free speech."

RINGO 1966
(press conference: Los Angeles 8/28/66)

Q: "Ringo, one question-- How much did you contribute to 'What Goes On' and are you contributing to any other Lennon/McCartney compositions?"

RINGO: "Umm, about five words to 'What Goes On.' And I haven't done a thing since." (laughs)


(press conference: Los Angeles 8/28/66)

Q: "I'd like to direct this question to messrs. Lennon and McCartney. In a recent article, 'Time' magazine put down Pop music. And they referred to 'Day Tripper' as being about a prostitute..."

PAUL: (nodding jokingly) "Oh yeah."

Q: "...and 'Norwegian Wood' as being about a lesbian."

PAUL: (nodding) "Oh yeah."

Q: "I just wanted to know what your intent was when you wrote it, and what your feeling is about the 'Time' magazine criticism of the music that is being written today."

PAUL: "We were just trying to write songs about prostitutes and lesbians, that's all."

(room erupts with laughter and applause)

JOHN: "...quipped Ringo."

PAUL: (chuckles) "Cut!!"

JOHN: "You can't use it on the air, that."

(press conference excerpt)

Q: "Do you mind being asked sensitive questions? For example, in America people keep asking you questions about Vietnam. Does this seem useful?"

PAUL: "I dont know, you know. If you can say that war is no good, and a few people believe you, then it may be good. I dont know."

JOHN: "It would seem a bit silly to be in America and for nobody to mention Vietnam, as if nothing was happening."

Q: "But why should they ask you about it?"

JOHN: "Because Americans always ask showbiz people what they think... so do the British, you know how it is. But you can't just keep quiet about anything unless your a munk. (jokingly) I'm sorry munks... I didn't mean it! I meant actually..."

PAUL: (laughs)

Q: "What is your opinion of Americans who go to Canada to avoid the draft?"

PAUL: "It seems like anyone who feels that fighting is wrong should have the right not to go."

JOHN: "We all just don't agree with war. There's no need to kill anyone for any reason."

GEORGE: "The words, 'Thou shalt not kill' mean just that... not 'Amend section A'... There's no reason whatsoever. No one can force you to kill anyone if you feel it's wrong."

PAUL 1966
(on the existence of Bernard Webb)

PAUL: "I tried to write a song under another name, just to see if it was the Lennon/McCartney bit that sold our songs. I called myself Bernard Webb... a fictitious student in Paris, and very unavailable for interviews. The song was 'Woman' for Peter and Gordon. They made it into a big hit. Now it's come out that it was me. I realized that when I saw a banner saying, 'Long Live Bernard Webb.'"

JOHN 1966
(press conference excerpt)

Q: "Don't you find it time-consuming taking care of all the long hair?"

JOHN: "It's more of a problem with short hair... having to keep it short. People have only had short hair since the First World War."

Q: "John, how would you define Beatlemania?"

JOHN: "I couldn't define it, you know. Alot of people have tried. I'm not going to try. I'll leave it to the psychologists and let them get it wrong."

(on the album, 'Revolver')

Q: "With the Revolver album, are you trying to create trends?"

PAUL: "I don't think we ever try to establish trends. We try to keep moving forward and do something different... and if in the meantime it starts a trend, that's ok. But we never try consciously to start them."

Q: "John, have you ever attempted to songwrite on your own without Paul, or with another writer?"

JOHN: "Well, I've written many things without Paul before. For years we've worked together and separately."

Q: "What about with a different co-writer?"

JOHN: "Another writer I don't need."

PAUL 1966
(following the release of the 'Revolver' album)

Q: "How did you come to write Eleanor Rigby?"

PAUL: "I was sitting at the piano when I thought of it. The first few bars just came to me, and I got this name in my head... Daisy Hawkins picks up the rice in the church. I don't know why. I couldn't think of much more so I put it away for a day. Then the name Father McCartney came to me, and all the lonely people. But I thought that people would think it was supposed to be about my Dad sitting knitting his socks. Dad's a happy lad. So I went through the telephone book and I got the name McKenzie. I was in Bristol when I decided Daisy Hawkins wasn't a good name. I walked 'round looking at the shops, and I saw the name Rigby. Then I took the song down to John's house in Weybridge. We sat around, laughing, got stoned, and finished it off."

(press conference excerpt)

Q: "George, what career would you have chosen if you had not become an entertainer?"

GEORGE: "I had a short go at being an electrician's apprentice, but I kept blowing things up, so I got dumped."

Q: "Is The Beatles' popularity beginning to taper off?"

PAUL: "I will agree that our popularity has hit a peak... but I also agreed with a man who said the same thing last year. And we were both wrong."


Q: "What do you think about the pamphlet calling you four communists?"

PAUL: "Us? Communists? We can't be communists. We're the world's number one capitalists. Imagine us... communists."


Q: "Are The Beatles disinterested in politics?"

JOHN: "No. We just think politicians are disinteresting."


Q: "If you could have any wish at this moment, what would it be?"

JOHN: "No more unscheduled public appearances. We've had enough. We're going to stay in the hotel except for the concerts."

Q: "Won't that make you feel like caged animals?"

JOHN: "No. We feed ourselves."

(regarding their changing sound)

Q: "Your music has changed immensely since you first started out. Is it because you've become more professional, or is it because you are trying to impress the public?"

JOHN: "It's not trying or being professional. It's just a progression."

GEORGE: "We're trying to impress ourselves in a way. That's why we keep trying to do things better... we never get satisfied."

(press conference excerpt)

Q: "I'd like to address this to John and Paul. You write alot of stuff that other people steal from you, and also purchase from you. And different arrangement-- Ella Fitzgerald and Boston Pops, and stuff like that. When you listen to this on the radio or records and stuff, how do you feel about them using your pieces and changing them around to suit their styles?"

PAUL: "The thing is, they don't steal it."

Q: "No. I know that."

PAUL: "Well, you just said they did!"


PAUL: "Really I mean, you know, it's... Once we've done a song and it's published anyone can do it. So, you know, whether we like it or not depends on whether they've done it to our taste."

Q; "Well then, let's ask it this way. Who do you think does it the best... the Beatles' songs?"

JOHN: "Us."


Q: "Who?"

JOHN: "Us."

(on songwriting and recording)

Q: "Are you more confident about songwriting these days?"

GEORGE: "You get more confident as you progress. John and Paul's standard of writing has bettered over the years, so it's very hard for me to come straight to the top, on par with them."

Q: "Do you go to John and Paul for advice?"

GEORGE: "They gave me an awful lot of encouragement. Their reaction has been very good. If it hadn't, I think I would have just crawled away."

Q: "Do you put ideas forward when recording one of John and Paul's songs?"

GEORGE: "I think they welcome my ideas. We all put alot of suggestions in after we've recorded a take. That's why we take so long to record a number. We've always cooperated with one another. Paul might come into the studio and say, 'Do this' if he has worked out the chords beforehand. But they always need changing."

(inspiring young people)

Q: "What is it that inspires young people?"

JOHN: "I don't know, honestly. I just know that what we're doing inspires them to a degree. But it doesn't inspire them to do anything other than enjoy themselves."

PAUL: "Young people get inspired by people who talk honestly to them. I think if they believe us on some things, it's because we can say it like they would think it... because we're exactly the same and we don't pretend to be anything better than we are."

(interviewed outside of the recording studio 12/20/66)

RINGO: "The thing is, we can't do a tour like we've been doing all these years because our music has progressed and we've used more instruments. It would be soft us going on stage, the four of us, and trying to do the records we've made with orchestras and bands and things. If we went on stage we'd have to have a whole line-up of men behind us."

Q: "If you never toured again would it worry you?"

PAUL: "No, I don't think so. The thing about that is, performance for us... it's gone down hill... because we can't develop when no one can hear us. We want to do it, but if we're not listened to and we can't even hear ourselves, then we can't improve... we can't get any better. So we're trying to get better with things like recording."

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