Press Conference in New York City (1966, August 22)
|The Beatles flew into New York in the late hours of August 21 during their 1966 tour. They took August 22 off as a free day in New York, still making time for a press conference at Manhatten's Warwick Hotel. On the 23rd they would return to New York's Shea Stadium, the venue that had been the highlight of their previous American tour.
Q: "Would any of you care to comment on any aspect of the war in Vietnam?"
John: "We don't like it."
Q: "Could you elaborate any?"
John: "No. I've elaborated enough, you know. We just don't like it. We don't like war."
George: "It's, you know... It's just war is wrong, and it's obvious it's wrong. and that's all that needs to be said about it."
Paul: "We can elaborate in England."
Q: "I have a question for Paul. I don't know if you know about it yet, but two young ladies threatened to jump to their death from the twenty-second floor of the hotel here in Manhatten if they could see you. How do you feel about young girls acting this way?"
Paul: "If they could see me?"
Q: "They wanted to see you - If you would come over they wouldn't jump. The police finally rescued them. They threatened to jump unless you came over."
Paul: "Good god, you know... Phew! I don't understand it. I don't know. Umm... silly, that. I'll see 'em, you know."
Q: "Will the Beatles be inactive when John goes on movie location for the (How I Won The War) motion picture?"
John: "I'm only doing it because we've got a holiday, you know. I wouldn't do it if we had any work. (pause) We're not out of work, mind you."
Q: "When you arrived at the airport and there were only nine girls waiting to meet you, were you disappointed, and do you think that's a reflection of a loss of popularity in this country?"
John: (jokingly) "Yeah, we're real brought down by it."
Paul: "Really disappointed!"
Paul: "Three o'clock in the morning they expected millions."
Q: "Now that Paul is the only bachelor Beatle, do you find that the girls gravitate more to him than they do to the rest of you fellas? How do you feel about that?"
John: "They always did!"
Paul: "Well, the thing that we found... We found after all this business, of all the buttons that say 'I love Ringo,' "I love John,' John's were outselling everyone's."
John: "A rather distinctive Beatle."
Paul: "A distinctive Beatle."
Q: "This is for Paul and John. Do you think that happiness is really egg-shaped, or is it just a rumor from the egg marketing magazine?"
John: "Ho, ho."
Q: "Do you think happiness is real, or just a fantasy?"
John: "It's real, alright."
Ringo: (jokingly) "Depends how the eggs are cooked."
Paul: (laughs) "That was about as good as anything."
Q: "Ringo, now that George has joined John and Paul in writing songs are you going to start writing your own songs?"
Ringo: "Umm, no."
Q: "Why not?"
Ringo: "I can't write them. I try, you know, but... alot of rubbish."
Q: "On your new album, 'Revolver,' I noticed alot of violins and even trumpets."
George: "Very observant."
Q: "How come you decided to use violins and trumpets?"
Paul: "There were, uhh... I think there were three violins on the whole album, and three trumpets. So we're not exactly going overboard on 'em, you know. We don't use them all that much, but it was just that those tracks sounded better with violins and with trumpets than with us, you know. That's the only reason we use them."
Q: "This one to John, please. Any remarks whatsoever on some of the recent remarks attributed to you and the Beatles concerning religion?"
John: "Well, I think I've said enough about that. I can't say anymore, and just sort of going over the same thing over again. You know, alot of it just is alot of rubbish and alot of hysteria."
Q: "Uhh, to John and Paul - It's been said that Lennon and McCartney may someday replace the names Rogers and Hammerstein. Have you ever considered discontinuing performing and instead just keep on writing?"
Q: "Would you rather perform, then?"
Paul: "I mean, you know... When we're eighty we won't be performing. We may be writing."
John: "and we don't want to be Rogers and Hart, either."
Q: "This is to all of you. You seem to be doing a Bob Dylan in reverse. That is, you became popular playing rock and roll and now you seem to be doing alot more folk rock. Would you care to comment on that?"
Ringo: "Folk rock."
Paul: "It's not folk rock. Honest. Yeah, somebody said that the other day."
Q: "Songs like 'Eleanor Rigby' and..."
Paul: "No, the thing is that - That thing about Bob Dylan is probably right, in reverse, because we're getting more interested now in the content of the songs, whereas Bob Dylan is getting more interested in rock and roll. It's just, we're both going towards the same thing, I think."
Q: "Paul, I believe you have just recently purchased a farm in Scotland. Have you any intention of purchasing any further, being in the United States?"
Paul: "No. I just bought that farm because it was very cheap. and, uhh, I always wanted a farm. and it's a nice place. But that's as far as it goes."
Q: "This is for John. There have been reports from Europe about too much reaction to your christianity remark. They say it represents a possibility of immaturity in American society. Do you think so?"
John: "Uhh.. Who says so?"
Q: "It was said in overseas press."
John: "Well, I mean... It's an opinion. That's all, you know. I don't... They're entitled to their opinion."
Paul: "I think the thing about that is that, uhh, there are more people in America, so there are more biggots... just by head of population."
Paul: "No, well... There are, you know."
John: "What about Scotland?"
Paul: "Well, you know... but I mean, you hear more from American biggots than you do from Russian biggots."
Paul: "That doesn't mean the whole country's biggoted, you know. Does it?"
Q: "This question is to John and Paul. Is there any special significance in the use of the term, 'Yellow Submarine'?"
Paul: "It's a happy place, that's all. You know, it was just... We were trying to write a children's song. That was the basic idea. and there's nothing more to be read into it than there is in the lyrics of any children's song. 'Sparky,' you know, it's the same kind of thing."
Paul: "Sparky. Correct."
Q: "Two years ago I traveled with you as a group, and this time you seem to be much more quiet, much more restrained. Do you think you're getting older, or are the tours getting to you?"
John: "I think we're probably getting older, you know, each year."
Paul: "I've got older."
Q: "How do you think Prime Minister (Harold) Wilson's austerity program is going to affect London as the capital of rock and roll, and what's it going to do to you financially if the pounds devalue?"
John: "We don't know. You know, we don't know what he's done, yet, because we've been away. I mean, we've seen a bit of it, you know. If it affects us, that's alright."
Q: (female) "I must say you're a cute looking bunch."
Paul: "Gee, thanks, Ma'am."
Q: "I'd like to ask you sort of a personal question. Do you bring your own barber with you when you travel abroad?"
Q: "Do you have your hair cut, then, wherever you are?"
Ringo: "Umm, no. Well... We usually have it cut at home, you know. Well, I do."
Q: "How do you define glamour in a girl?"
John: "Don't like glamour."
Paul: "You can't define glamour, really, you know. It's just there or it isn't."
John and Paul: "Glamour."
Q: "There was a rumour carried in the New York press and on radio this past week that you're all wearing wigs because you were trying to join a London club which is very exclusive. Is it true or false? Are you wearing wigs?"
Paul: "Oh. Do YOU believe that? Do you? No."
Q: "Your hair looks much more uniform than it did two years ago."
Paul: (effeminate) "Thanks, silly."
Paul: "No, that's not true, you know. But thanks all the same."
John: (giggling) "No comment."
George: "To George - Now that you've learned to play the sitar, do you expect to learn any more instruments?"
George: "I haven't learned to play the sitar. I mean, Ravi Shankar hasn't LEARNED to play it and he's been playing it thirty-five years."
Paul: (excitedly, to George) "Woo!"
Q: "A question to John and Paul. Is there any theme to the 'Rubber Soul' and 'Revolver' albums..."
Q: "...a general theme with variations on it?
Paul: "No, not really, you know. (to John) Is there a theme?"
John: "No. The only theme is that you do them at the same period, so they have something in common when they get on the same LP. That's all."
Q: "A question to George. Do you feel that Indian music will be more influencial in the future of rock and roll and pop music?"
George: "Umm, well... I don't know. I personally hope it will become more - that there'll be more Indian influences just generally in any music, because it's worth it. It's very good music. I'd just like to see it more popular - more people appreciating it."
Q: "This question is addressed to all of you. Do any of you ever get tired of all this hocus-pocus, the press conferences, the screaming girls, the crowds, and decide that you would like to just sit back on your fat wallets and forget the whole thing?"
John: "Well, when we feel like that, we take a fat holiday on our fat wallets..."
John: "...and then you get fed up with that and you feel like coming out and doing this."
Q: "How would you describe the reception you received on this trip to the States? Has it increased, diminished, or remained the same?"
Paul: "The actual numbers of people, umm... recepting, or whatever the word is, is bigger... so I hear. Who knows."
Paul: "Well, Brian (Epstein) knows. You know, ask him."
George: "We're playing to more people on this trip than we have on the last tours."
Q: "You said that you and Dylan are heading towards the same thing. Where do you see your music going? Things have changed."
Paul: "Well, it's going... I don't know. The thing is, uhh... It's going forwards. I don't know toward what, but it's gonna go forward. We're trying to take it forward, and Dylan's trying to take his forward, but it just looks as though it's going backwards."
Paul: "You know, I'm not trying to be funny, but it does... It's gone from very complicated to less complicated."
Q: "But certainly it's changed since your advent. I'm wondering where you consider yourself to be now, music-wise."
John: (jokingly) "On Decca Records."
Q: "Do any of you have plans to record on your own?"
John: "We do at home, you know. We might."
George: "In fact, we have done, I think."
John: "I think so."
George: "'Eleanor Rigby' was Paul on his own."
John: "We were just drinking tea."
Q: "No, the thing that I'm trying to get at is, do you have plans like anything definite at all?"
Paul: "Not for separate recording careers, if that's what you mean."
Q: "Have you written any good books lately, John?"
Paul: (misunderstanding) "Blues?"
John: "Books or Blues, I haven't written anything, you know."
Q: "Paul, according to wire reports you became a little ill after you got off the plane last night. What happened? Air sickness?"
Paul: Yeah, something. You know, I haven't been too well on the tour. I just felt a bit ill, that's all, and I was sick."
Q: "One of you, I beleive it was George, said that you couldn't comment on Vietnam in this country but you could in England. Could you elaborate on that a little bit?"
George: "I didn't say that. Maybe one of us said that, but I didn't."
Paul: "It was me. I mean, you know about that, anyway, you know. I mean, we could say a thing about... like John's religious thing in England and it wouldn't be taken up and misinterpreted quite as much as it tends to get here. I mean, you know it does. The thing is that, I think you can say things like that in England and people will listen a bit more than they do in America, because in America somebody will take it up and use it completely against you and won't have many scruples about doing that. You know, I'm probably putting my foot in it saying that, but..."
John: "You'll be explaining to the next bunch."
Paul: "Yeah, I know."
Paul: (jokingly, in American accent) "Oh well, it's just wonderful here."
Q: "There appear to be a much smaller number of fans outside the hotel, and the..."
John: "Yip yip."
Q: "...concert tomorrow night at Shea Stadium is far below a sellout. How do you feel about this..."
John: "Very rich."
Q: "...not being quite as popular as you were?"
John: "It doesn't matter, you know."
Q: "Do you make the same money?"
Paul: "Well, I don't know, but the thing is - Do you expect us just to go on forever making more and more money, making more and more figures, bigger and bigger? You can't just go forever!"
George: "and if certain people have decided they don't like us after John's statement then, you know, we don't want..."
John: "We'll have to get rid of them."
George: "We'd rather just have people who like us, and really like us, rather than pretend to like us because we're the in-thing."
John: "The first house in Memphis - two-hundred didn't turn up who were meant to, or something like that, but the second house was wild, you know, and we thought that would be the place that would show any sort of real doubt about what was going on."
Q: "Do you think that with the new mini-skirts and wild fashions that young women are exposing too much these days?"
John: "You get quite used to it. It's not as wild as you think it is, when it's sort of, everybody's wearing clothes like that. It just looks sort of normal and you get used to it, the same as people got used to long hair."
Q: "When you go to San Francisco then, will you visit some of the topless restaurants?"
George: "No, we'll only be there long enough to do the concert and then fly back to Los Angeles."
John: "Well, they could come to the show - we'll get 'em a couple of tickets."
George: "They could dance on stage while we do our act."
John: "Nah, we wouldn't be able to do it."
Q: "What music do you listen to for relaxation?"
Ringo: "Uhh, all sorts, you know."
Paul: "All kinds of music. I don't think any one of us has got..."
John: "Except for him."
Paul: "Well, George is mainly interested in Indian music, and we all share the interest, and like all other kinds of music as well. Good music, you know."
Q: "Here's a question for the entire group. I noticed that Brian Epstein is sitting up on the platform with you gentlemen. After all these years how are the Beatles and Brian getting along, aside from the financial considerations?"
John: "We get on just fine."
Paul: "Good friends."
George: "He wouldn't be sitting on the stage with us now if we didn't."
John: "He'd be sitting on his fat wallet somewhere."
Q: "If it could be arranged would you like to include, in your '67 or '68 European concert itinerary, concerts in the satellite capital countries such as Warsaw, Moscow, and Budapest? Can you answer that, please?"
John: "We can't, you know. We'd like..."
George: "Personally, I wouldn't like to play there because I just don't fancy going there at the moment. There's lots of other places I'd rather see first. But that's a personal whim, you know."
M.C: "These are now the last three questions."
Q: "I got a tough question for Ringo. Your boy is a year old next month, right? September?"
Q: "What kind of gifts does he want for his birthday?"
Ringo: "Well, how do I know. He's not talking yet."
Q: "Do you feel responsible for the Mod fashion revolution in the United States?"
John: "We haven't noticed it."
George: "We're not responsible for ourselves, nevermind fashions."
John: "Mental as well, eh?"
Q: "A couple of years ago, you said that you were most influenced by people such as Chuck Berry, Laverne Baker, etcetera. Now that they're more or less over the hill as far as pop music is concerned..."
John: "They were then."
Q: "...who do you admire now? You mentioned Indian music - Are there any pop stars in the United States today that still influence you?"
John: "We like alot of American groups, still, you know."
John: "We still like Chuck Berry... I haven't burned his records or anything."
John: "The Lovin Spoonful are nice."
Paul: "Beach Boys are great."
Ringo: "Mamas and the Papas."
John: "We like alot of things, and are influenced by everything that's going on."
Paul: (jokingly) "Especially Bill Haley."
Q: "What about the downfall?"
Paul: "What about it?"
George: "Well, the downfall won't be a downfall for us because we won't really..."
John: "...feel down."
George: "If we'll have a downfall it will only be for all those people who think, 'Hee hee, the Beatles aren't making hit records anymore.' We won't particularly be worried. So it won't be a downfall."
Q: "You're looking forward to it? Getting out of all this?"
Paul: "No, we're not."
John: "We don't sort of dread it. It's just something that'll happen."
George: "When it happens, we'll accept it."
Q: "Ringo, do you have any comment on fatherhood?"
Ringo: "Ahh, it's okay! You know, that's about all. I like it."
M.C: "This must be the last question, I'm afraid, time-wise."
Q: "One of the disc jockeys in the local area said that one of the songs, I believe it was 'Rain,' was recorded backwards. Is this true?"
John: "Uhh, it is true. After we'd done the session on that particular song - it ended at about four or five in the morning - I went home with a tape to see what else you could do with it. and I was sort of very tired, you know, not knowing what I was doing, and I just happened to put it on my own tape recorder and it came out backwards. and I liked it better. So that's how it happened."
M.C: "I'm afraid that has to be the last question."
Source: Raw audio recording of the press conference