This weeks show from mid-February 1988 again has so much packed into it. Up for discussion are the meeting of John and Yoko and the publics reaction to their getting together, the Rishikesh experience, and John's literary career in the early years of The Beatles. In the process the viewer is treated to various archive interviews, including for the first time the David Sheff 1980 interviews. Musically, the tracks played on the show are from John's Beatles phase, including some previously unheard, unreleased gems.
Elliot sets the scene in 1980, with John coming out of his five year musical exile. His first major interview, in September 1980, is his first since 1976, and is conducted with David Sheff of Playboy magazine. Elliot informs us that The Lost Lennon Tapes has been allowed access to the complete 20 plus hours of recorded interviews from this time. We are informed that Sheff finds John at his most contented, having come full circle with his relationship with the public.
Following a short clip of Norwegian Wood, we pick up the interview where the very first meeting between John and Yoko is under discussion. This took place on 9th November 1966 at the Indica Gallery. Through Mick Jagger, John met John Dunbar, the gallery owner. Dunbar invited him to a preview of a Japanese artist's exhibition. John describes how he was chauffeur driven in his mini to the gallery, with the idea that 'arsty fartsy orgies' would be taking place. He describes instead how he finds a £200 apple, and a set of nails. Immediately, he tells Sheff, he saw the humour.
John continues to describe how Dunbar introduced him to Yoko, who hands him a card with the word BREATHE on it. What sealed it for John was the word written on the ceiling, which he had to read by climbing a ladder and holding a spyglass to it. It was YES. John finds this positive, unlike all the other avant-garde art at the time. This positive affirmation makes him stay. They really click, says John, after he asks to hammer in a nail on one of Yoko's exhibit pieces. Eventually she agrees if he gives her 5 shillings. John then counters by saying he will give Yoko an imaginary 5 shillings if he can hammer in an imaginary nail. The Beatles track Girl now plays. When it ends, Elliot closes this first section of the show by describing how John would remain intrigued with Yoko until May 1968 when they eventually became lovers.
Elliot introduces the next section by setting the scene for the telling of the India experience.
24th August 1967 finds the Beatles at the Hilton hotel, attending a lecture by the Maharishi on transendental meditation. John and the others are intrigued enough to head to Bangor next day to attend a seminar held by the Maharishi.
30th September 1967 - John and Paul appear on The David Frost Show with the Indian guru.
16th February 1968 - John, Cynthia, George and Patti Harrison fly to Rishikesh, India to start a two and a half month residence (Paul and Ringo were also in attendance).
Guesting with Tom Donaghue on his radio show in 1974 on San Francisco's KSAFM, John talks about the Rishikesh period. He describes it as being like ' a recluse holiday camp...baboons stealing breakfast....quite a trip.' This last point was in relation to the hours spent in their chalets meditating. It all went sour on 12th April 1968 when, after rumours of attempted indiscretions towards one of the female guests, an entourage led by John confronted the Maharishi. A clip of John talking to Jann Wenner in 1970 picks up the story. John describes how Maharishi appears puzzled at the groups intention to leave the camp, and asks why. John answered with the now legendary line 'If you're so cosmic, you'll know.'
Yer Blues from The White Album airs next. Elliot describes how Rishikesh proved to be a period of creativity for John, and some of the fruits are broadcast - the released versions of I'm so Tired and Sexy Sadie.
In the April 1973 interview with Elliot, a clip finds John reflecting on the lesson learnt from his 1968 Maharishi experience, surmising it led him to the 'God Is a Concept' belief. A previously unheard acoustic guitar demo closes this section, with John singing Happy Rishiskesh Song.
Paperback Writer introduces a review of John's literary career. Elliot describes how John's surreal writing style could be traced back to his schooldays. The book In His Own Write had its origins from Beatles tours, when John would take along a typewriter and write poetry. The literati are described as being shocked that John came from working-class Liverpool. A hilarious clip airs from Swedish TV. John is being asked by a very straight-and-narrow type presenter about his book. Alongside him are the other members of the group, who all proceed to make mild fun of the interview. John introduces the others as 'George Parasol, Ringo Stone, and Paul McChortley.' Posed with the question did they help John with his writing, John replies that they typed it out! Two readings of his poems follow: Good Dog Nigel, and I Sat Belonely.
1965 saw John's second book published. Entitled A Spaniard In The Works, John reads one of its entries, The National Health Cow.
The show closes today back where it started, with the David Sheff interviews. The impact of Yoko on the rest of the Beatles is discussed. Elliot describes how this was the first time in the history of the group that a wife/partner was allowed to enter the recording sessions. Going even further, Yoko sang on Bungalow Bill during the White album sessions in 1968.
On 18th June 1968 John and Yoko attended the play based on his poetry, at the Old Vic theatre. This met with a great deal of media and public hostility. Sheff asks John to comment on any possible public conception that Yoko controlled him. John rubbishes this idea, declaring the wool wasn't being pulled over his eyes by anybody. The recorded version of I Want You, from Abbey Road, plays.
The topic of John and Yoko on today's show ends with John stating that anyone who claims to have an interest in him has misunderstood anything he has ever said if they don't understand why he is with Yoko.
A December 1966 recording from Abbey Road ends today's show. It is a fascinating clip of John working on the early arrangement of his demo for Strawberry Fields.