In 1968, Maurice Hindle sent an ambitious letter to a Beatles fanzine requesting an interview with John Lennon. It was always going to be a long-shot; Hindle was a student at Keele University in Staffordshire County, England, and the Beatles were already the biggest band in the country. You can imagine Hindle’s shock, then, when he received a reply from Lennon himself in December, inviting him and his friends to Lennon’s home in Surrey. The students made their way to his home, sat on Indian carpets, ate bread and jam prepared by Yoko Ono, and listened to Lennon speak for six hours. The topics ranged from politics to social change (Lennon spent a good deal of time responding to the famous Black Dwarf letter criticizing his anti-uprising stance on “Revolution”), to more practical matters like the Beatles’ upcoming tour.
Hard Rock acquired the tapes in 1987, but kept them under wraps until now. But with the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first American tour imminent, the company has released them to the public for the first time on its website. There, you can listen to the full recorded interview (split into two parts of about an hour each) and commentary from Hindle, read transcripts, and check out other related features.
“I’ve changed a lot of people’s heads,” Lennon says at one point. “I believe in change. That’s what Yoko and my scene is, to change it like that…And you’re not preaching to the converted … Well, what are they doing? What can they do? All I’m saying is I think you should do it by changing people’s heads and they’re saying, ‘Well we should smash the system.’ Now, the system smashing scene’s been going on forever, y’know? What’s it done?”
You can listen to the audio below via Soundcloud, and don’t forget to visit the Hard Rock site.