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Beatles Interviews Database: Lennon & McCartney Interview: Ivor Novello Awards, 3/20/1967
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Immediately following a brief 'Top Of The Pops' chat with John Lennon and Paul McCartney on March 20th 1967 about progress on their upcoming album, Brian Matthew recorded a second interview with the songwriting team.

John and Paul would be honored with three Ivor Novello awards for the year 1966 at the annual ceremonies held on March 23rd 1967. Since John and Paul could not attend the ceremonies in person, Matthew taped the following conversation with them for inclusion in the program. The interview was recorded at EMI's Abbey Road studios.

The Ivor Novello is a prestigious annual award in Britain for high achievement in songwriting and composing.

                                          - Jay Spangler,

Q: "This (first award) goes to the A-side of the record issued in 1966 which acheived the highest certified British sales in the period the 1st of January to the 31st of December 1966. You may have been wondering whether the Beatles have won anything. They did get one or two awards. This is the first of them, and it goes to 'Yellow Submarine.' Best-selling A-side number in Britain last year, for which John and Paul you get this."

PAUL: "We are truly grateful."

JOHN: (excitedly) "Great, great."

PAUL: "That is really wonderful. I see it's inscribed on the side of it."

JOHN: "That's an old one from Brian's piano."

PAUL: (laughs) "Well, this is wonderful. And I'd like to thank everybody, on behalf of John, George, Ringo and myself."

Q: "Yes."

PAUL: "Thank you."

Q: "Good. Who was principly reponsible, Paul or John?"

JOHN: "Paul."

PAUL: "John, really."

JOHN & PAUL: "No. No."

Q: "I see."

JOHN: "Ringo."

PAUL: "No, it's the old patty, you know. The old vaudeville. I suppose I thought of the idea and then John and I wrote it. There's your correct answer, Brian."

Q: "Yeah. What were you setting out to write? I mean, did you think of a song for Ringo in the first place, or what?"

PAUL: "We just sort of thought, we have to have a song. That it was. Sort of bit of fantasy in it, you know. And the only way to do that would be to have it so kids could understand it, and anyone could take it on any level. Multi-level song."

Q: "Yeah. I heard a funny sort of story that you used to perform this to your nephews. Is that all wrong?"

PAUL: (jokingly) "That's all wrong. That was Mozart's Piano Concerto."

Q: (mock-seriousness) "Oh, I see."


Q: "John, earlier before we started recording, you said it was in effect written as two separate songs."

JOHN: "Yeah. I seem to remember, like, the submarine... the chorus bit, you coming in with it."

PAUL: "Yeah."

JOHN: "And wasn't the other bit something that I had already going, and we put them together?"

PAUL: "Well, yeah. Right. Yeah."

JOHN: "And it made sense to make it into..."

PAUL: "Yeah, the bit... (sings melody to verse) 'Dut-ta-da, da-dut-ta-da.'"

JOHN: "With Ringo in mind, again."

Q: "Yes."

JOHN: "Always thinking of him, you see, at times like this."


JOHN: "And that's what happened."

Q: "And they, like, gelled."

PAUL & JOHN: "Yeah."

Q: "And now on to the most performed work of the year. And this, I should explain, includes live broadcast, television performances, and performances in ballrooms throughout the country. And the winner for 1966 was Michelle. Paul, do you even remember this song?"

PAUL: (sings) "'Mee-shell, my bell.' I know the one."

Q: "Good!! Did you write it or did John?"

PAUL: "Well, you know..."

JOHN: "I think Paul wrote that one. I remember saying, 'Why don't you pinch THAT bit from so-and-so's song' and he said 'Right.'"

Q: "What was it pinched FROM?"

JOHN: "Uhhhh, I'm not telling."

PAUL: "It was pinched from something. Most of them are, Brian."

Q: (laughs) "Are they!"

PAUL: "But you've got to own up eventually. (laughs) No, it's just a slight pinch, but you never notice, you know."

Q: "No."

PAUL: "And, I mean, I couldn't tell you because the P.R.S. would probably rip me."


JOHN: "It's a wonderful award and we'd like to say 'Bon we.'"

Q: "Oh, because it's a French song."

JOHN: "Yeah."

Q: "The last award to be presented to the Beatles... they have become runners-up to themselves. Give us the inside story on the song 'Yesterday.'"

JOHN: "Ah well, this is John saying I don't know anything about that one. I'll hand you over to Paul."

PAUL: (laughs) "This is Paul, taking up the story in a slight holiday-villa in Corsica. Stumming away on a medieval guitar, I thought (sings) 'Scrambled Egg'. But I never could finish it, and eventually I took it back in with the ancient wisdom of the east, John came out with (sings) 'Yesterday.'"

Q: "Apart from being the runner-up in the 'most performed' section, I think that must have been the most recorded number last year... must've been about 400 versions of it. You must have heard some of them. Is there any one that you think is a standout performance?"

JOHN: "Uhh, one by a young fellow called Paul McCartney had a sort of plaintive approach."

PAUL: (laughs)

Q: "A naive charm."

PAUL: "Yes, uhh... Andy Williams."

JOHN: "The arrangement of the strings was wrong."

PAUL: "Yeah."

JOHN: "That was the trouble with Andy's version."

Q: "There was Matthew Monroe."

JOHN & PAUL: "Yeah."

PAUL: "That was arranged by a good friend of ours. Charlie Drake."

Q: "Ahh."


PAUL: "And he did a very good arrangement. I would like to thank him personally."

Q: "Yeah, good. So, would you say that probably is your favorite version of them all?"

PAUL: "Uhh, well I think Charlie Drake."

JOHN: "Yeah, Charlie Drake."

PAUL: "Charlie Drake and Matt did a fine, fine record on that."

Source: Transcribed by from audio copy of the interview

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