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'The Beatles' Wealth is a Myth', John Lennon speaks to Richard Williams of Melody Maker

"The Beatles' Wealth is a Myth", John Lennon speaks to Richard Williams of Melody Maker

September 19th, 1969 / by Gaslight Writers

Despite recently purchasing an early 18th-century Georgian country house on 72 acres, 29-year-old John Lennon is apparently feeling the pinch. Lennon and The Beatles aren't happy with their current recording contract and will be renegotiating with Apple on September 20th.

John Lennon performed with his new band, The Plastic Ono band, last weekend in Toronto. Earlier this month, he spoke with Richard Williams of Melody Maker and voiced some of his financial concerns.

'The Beatles' Wealth is a Myth', John Lennon speaks to Richard Williams of Melody Maker
The Beatles at John Lennon's residence in August this year

"The problem is that two years ago our accountants made us sign over 80 percent of all our royalties to Apple. We can't touch any of it, and it's a ridiculous situation. All the money comes into this little building and it never gets out.

If I could get my money out of the company I'd split away and start doing my own projects independently. I'd have much more freedom and we'd all be happier.

I still feel part of Apple and the Beatles, and there's no animosity, but they tend to ignore Yoko and me.

For instance, Kenny Everett recently made a promotional record for Apple which was played at the big yearly EMI meeting. It plugged James Taylor, the Ivies, and so on, but it didn't mention the things Yoko and I have been doing.

And I think that what we're doing is a lot more important than James Taylor.

Apple seem to be scared of us. They didn't want to have anything to do with our Two Virgins film, for instance."

'The Beatles' Wealth is a Myth', John Lennon speaks to Richard Williams of Melody Maker

"The Beatles' wealth is all a myth. The only expensive things I've ever owned are my house and my cars, and I just haven't got anything else. I don't even break even on the films we make, and that worries me."

Self Portrait, Lennon's latest film directed by Yoko Ono, consists of a single 42 minute shot of his semi-erect penis.

On his recent short films:

"It's not like films -- it's more like TV. Dylan was right — it should be less important. Our films, and the Beatles and Stones albums, shouldn't have so much noise made about them.

The process of production is so slow. We'd like to speed the process up and get a new album and a new film out every month."

"If I could get my money out of the company I'd split away and start doing my own projects independently. I'd have much more freedom and we'd all be happier."

During the interview, Richard Williams suggested to Lennon that he and Yoko's new work is similar to an open diary and that most people leave their diaries at home.

"Yes, but who doesn't like to read other people's diaries. That's exactly what it is — but you must realize that the Beatles' albums, and Dylan's for that matter, are all diaries. We're just bringing it out into the open and making it more honest."

On The Beatles' two completed albums, Abbey Road and Get Back.

"The trouble is that we've got too much material. Now that George is writing a lot we could put out a double-album every month, but they're so difficult to produce.

After Get Back is released in January, we'll probably go back into the studios and record another one. It's just a shame that we can't get more albums out faster."

Watch below Lennon and his Plastic Ono Band perform in Toronto last weekend.

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