Days That I’ll Remember: Spending Time with John Lennon and Yoko Ono
I saw this book reviewed in Rolling Stone Magazine. (Cott was a writer for Rolling Stone.) I’m a fan of Rolling Stone magazine, The Beatles, John Lennon, and even Yoko Ono. I’m not a big fan of Yoko as an artist but as a person, a practical person. She has great business sense and was able to keep Lennon happy when everything in his life seemed to conspire to make him miserable. The book contains some interviews, but much of the book is Cott talking about the Lennons and setting the scene for each of the conversations he had with them. The book isn’t terribly interesting. It comes off more as a love letter to a couple that treated him as a friend. Okay, there are worse things to read, but I was hoping for more. Many or most of the questions put to the Lennons are the softest of softball questions. Cott went out of his way to research questions that would put the Lennons’ beliefs and art in the best possible light.
Although I don’t recommend this book. I was left with the desire to listen to my John Lennon iTune playlist again.
But I’ve been attacked many, many times . . . and right from the beginning: “From Me to You” was “Below Par Beatles,” don’t forget that. That was the review in the NME [New Musical Express]
That’s what they wrote?
Right. “Below Par Beatles.” Jesus Christ, I’m sorry. Maybe it wasn’t as good as “Please Please Me,” I don’t know, but “below par”?
I’ll never forget that one because it always struck me as interesting. And you know how bad the reviews were of our Plastic Ono albums? They shredded us! “Self-indulgent simplistic whining”-that was the main gist. It’s the same assholes that booed Dylan for playing electric.
Because those albums were about ourselves, you see, and not about Ziggy Stardust or Tommy. Imagine was accepted, but not the lyrics of the song, which they called “naive” for trying to imagine there’s no such things as countries or nationalities. And of course they reviewed Walls and Bridges saying that it lacked the “solid reality” of “Mother” and “Working Class Hero” on my Plastic Ono album. And Mind Games, they hated it.
But it’s not just me. Take Mick, for instance. Mick’s put out consistently good work for twenty years, and will they give him a break? Will they ever say, “Look at him, he’s number one, he’s thirty-six and he’s put out a beautiful song, ‘Emotional Rescue.'” I enjoyed it, a lot of people enjoyed it. And God help Bruce Springsteen when they decide he’s no longer God. I haven’t seen him- I’m not a great “in”-person watcher-but I’ve heard such good things about him from people that I respect, and I might actually get out of bed to watch him. Right now his fans are happy. He’s told them about being drunk and chasing girls and cars and everything, and that’s about the level they enjoy. But when he gets down to facing his own success and growing older and having to produce it again and again, they’ll turn on him, and I hope he survives it. All he has to do is look at me or at Mick. So it goes up and down, up and down-of course it does, but what are we, machines?
What do they want from the guy, do they want him to kill himself onstage? Do they want me and Yoko to kill ourselves onstage? What would make the little turds happy?
But when they criticized “From Me to You” as below par Beatles, that’s when I first realized you’ve got to keep it up, there’s some sort of system where you get on the wheel and you’ve got to keep going around. -page 172,173
These critics with the illusions they’ve created about artists-it’s like idol worship. Like those little kids in Liverpool who only liked us when we were in Liverpool; a lot of them dropped us because we got big in Manchester, right?
They thought we’d sold out. Then the English got upset because we got big in . . . What the hell is it?
They only like people when they’re on the way up, and when they’re up there, they’ve got nothing else to do but shit on them. They like to imagine they create and break people, but they don’t. I cannot be on the way up again, and I cannot be twenty-five again.
I cannot be what I was five minutes ago, so I can’t waste the time on considering what they’re going to say or what they’re going to do. Most of them are now half my age and know shit from Shinola about anything other than from l970 on. What they want is dead heroes, like Sid Vicious and James Dean. I’m not interested in being a dead fucking hero. . . So forget ’em, forget ’em.
You know what Eugene O’Neill said about critics? “I love every bone in their heads.” -page 189