Go Johnny Go: Lennon’s On The Telly (YouTube Safari #2)
Let me tell you how I came to this. Today was St. Patrick’s Day, so when I was updating my Facebook page this morning, I posted a couple of solo Beatles songs that dealt with “The Troubles” in Ireland.
One was an audio-only clip of Paul McCartney’s “Give Ireland Back To The Irish”, which while surely the poppiest and catchiest protest song ever recorded, nonetheless raised the ire of my English father who railed endlessly about it when it got played on CFRB, despite dad’s general tendency to cut McCartney tons of slack owing to their shared Liverpool heritage.
Always eager to be fair and balanced in matters of Lennon & McCartney, I set out to YouTube to find a Lennon song. I briefly debated about whether to include his “Sunday Bloody Sunday” before deciding on “The Luck Of The Irish” (also audio-only).
While I was on the YouTube, of course, I kept coming upon John Lennon interviews and was constantly reminded that Lennon’s political side was never that easy to pin down, and despite what I believe was a sincere desire for social justice, he was always vulnerable to charges of being a limousine liberal or post-hippie reactionary. When I was 8 years old, none of that mattered. But it sure is cool to go YouTubing down Penny/Memory Lane to rediscover the talking Lennon.
Here he was on the BBC Tonight program, on June 18, 1965, discussing his second book, A Spaniard In The Works:
Here’s a nice 1968 snippet of John talking about the difference between literary writing and songwriting:
Hardly Frost/Nixon, here’s Frost/Lenono in London on The David Frost Show, 14th June 1969 and the some organizing around Acorns.
I’m beginning to notice that a lot of my favourite clips, lately, are coming to me from the great Dick Cavett Show, here’s one:
And who could forget the legendary Mike Douglas Show and what a great moment in history it was when John & Yoko co-hosted for an entire week. The Ono Lennons invited a lot of so-called “radicals” to a national network daytime television program, many for the first time. Here’s an exchange with Ralph Nader:
And of course, I could leave you without setting up what is believed to be Lennon’s last TV interview ever, recorded in April of 1975, five years before his death, 0n Tom Snyder’s Tomorrow progam. When Lennon was murdered, Snyder ran this program again in it’s entirety. Please forgive the murky quality of this part one, and feel free to follow the links on the YouTube page to get the other parts:
There’s tons more out there of course, so get ‘tubin. To play us out, here’s a short and moving clip of his old friend Paul McCartney opening up about his former collaborator. (*please try to suspend cynicism, I get the feeling that this is for real)