😕🤔😜 As Sir Paul McCartney prepares to take to the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury this weekend, he might pause for a moment and think how far he’s come since the days when John Lennon thought the Beatles barely qualified as musicians.
😕🤔😜 That’s the surprising claim made by Lennon in a never-before-broadcast recording that is up for auction this Friday.
😕🤔😜 The recording was the work of John Hill, a college art student in Hull in November 1964 who interviewed the Beatles before they played at the ABC Cinema in the city.
😕🤔😜 It was the height of the Beatles' early fame and came a few months after their first visit to the United States had triggered Beatlemania across the Atlantic.
😕🤔😜 In the recording, Lennon equivocates over whether the band are true musicians, denying that they are good, and also claims he’d rather be rich than have a normal life.
😕🤔😜 Asked by Mr Hill whether the band were musicians or simply entertainers, the Liverpudlian said: “I’ve never thought about it really but we don’t count ourselves as good musicians, so I suppose we’re entertainers . . . but we don’t entertain much ‘cos we just stand there, so I suppose we must be musicians. We’re in the union anyway.”
😕🤔😜 Mr Hill, who was not studying journalism and did not have shorthand, happened to have access to one of the earliest portable recorders available in Britain.
😕🤔😜 Lennon was known for his spikey, sarcastic and often nonsensical responses to interviewers. However, something about Mr Hill appeared to disarm the global superstar. Mr Hill believes it may have been the recorder itself, which Lennon found captivating.
😕🤔😜 “I managed to hive John Lennon off [from the group] because he was fascinated with the tape recorder because he was quite keen in many ways with the technology,” he said.
😕🤔😜 The pair sat in a corner chatting while the rest of the band were off playing the piano on the other side of the room. At one point, Lennon even held the microphone while Mr Hill sorted his equipment.
😕🤔😜 The eight-and-a-half-minute recording reveals a remarkably candid and chatty Lennon.
😕🤔😜 “Somebody told me it sounds like two old mates having a chat,” Mr Hill told The Telegraph.
😕🤔😜 As well as dismissing the band’s musicianship, Lennon also opened up about how he preferred the trappings of fame to an ordinary life.
😕🤔😜 Asked by Mr Hill if, were he to be reincarnated, he would choose to be a Beattle again or an ordinary person, Lennon responded: “Whatever I'd be, I’d choose to be rich.”
😕🤔😜 When Mr Hill responded by asking “if he didn’t find all this Beatles business rather tiring? You can't walk out on the street. You can't go and have a drink,” Lennon interrupted, saying: “Who wants to walk down the street? I can have a drink whenever I like”.
😕🤔😜 Lennon then added that he could still mix with ordinary people, “because all the ordinary people I knew before are mainly the Beatles and a few other people”.
😕🤔😜 The interview happened entirely by chance, explained Mr Hill.
😕🤔😜 “I bought tickets for the show. And then Mike, the principal of my college said ‘are you going to the show tonight? Tell you what, why don't you write a story about it when you get back?’”
😕🤔😜 He secured a press pass for Mr Hill, who then borrowed the recorder and a handful of blank tapes from a friend.
😕🤔😜 He later got to stand in the orchestra pit alone, “with huge burly rugby players [as security] holding these screaming girls back” and record the Beatles performing.
😕🤔😜 Mr Hill, a retired teacher of 75, sold the recording and the equipment with which he made it in 2014, to little fanfare. It is now being sold again. Mr Hill told The Daily Telegraph he was avoiding looking up how much it sold for, for fear that it might sell for vastly more this time.
😕🤔😜 “I shan’t be very pleased if it goes to somebody for thousands and thousands of pounds in the USA or something,” he said.
😕🤔😜 The estimated sale price is £3,000-£4,000. The copyrighted recording, a transcript and the portable recorder are being auctioned as a single lot by David Duggleby auctioneers in Scarborough.