You are currently viewing What John Lennon Thought of His Final Playboy Interview
LONDON - 1st JANUARY: John Lennon (1940-1980) from the Beatles reads a magazine on a garden lounger in London, summer 1967. (Photo by Mark and Colleen Hayward/Redferns)

What John Lennon Thought of His Final Playboy Interview

John Lennon gave one of the most renowned Playboy interviews of all time. The interview is partly famous because the “Imagine” singer died shortly after giving it and partly because it’s incredible. Of course, John often dismissed his great projects. Here’s a look at what he thought of the interview and why the interview continues to have relevance for Beatles fans and fans of rock ‘n’ roll in general.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono had the same reaction to John’s final Playboy interview
The book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono features an interview from 1980 conducted by David Sheff. In the book’s epilogue, Sheff discusses talking with John after the interview. “I spoke to him once on the telephone after that,” he said. “I called a number within The Dakota when the main telephones were out. John never answered the telephone, but when I heard a simple whistle on the other end of the line, unmistakably his, I said I knew it was him. ‘Very clever,’ he said.

“After the usual questions — ‘How’s California?’ ‘How’s New York?’ — John reminded me that we were to get together in December to continue going over the songs we hadn’t covered yet,” he continued. “We wished each other well. He said he looked forward to getting together again. I thanked him.

“On December 7, Yoko called to say that she was very pleased with the interview, which had hit the stands the previous day,” Sheff recalled. “She said John was also pleased and excited. The next day, December 8, John was gone.”

John Lennon’s death spurred an intense interest in his music
John’s death brought additional attention to the interview, which is now one of the most famous ones he ever gave. It also brought additional attention to his music. The final single he released before he died, “(Just Like) Starting Over,” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks. None of his other solo tracks performed nearly as well.

Two more singles from his final album, Double Fantasy, became top 10 hits: “Woman” and “Watching the Wheels.” Double Fantasy became his only record to produce three top 10 singles. Double Fantasy topped the Billboard 200 for eight weeks, staying on the chart for 77 weeks.

The interview gave fans incredible insight into the singer’s mind
The Playboy interview also became an invaluable resource for Beatles fans. Over the course of it, John opened up about a plethora of topics. He revealed his thoughts on countless Beatles songs and their backstories, the theory of evolution, Saturday Night Fever, different religious traditions, The Rolling Stones’ “Miss You,” Elvis Presley’s self-titled album, the activism of the 1960s, proper relationships, the writings of Oscar Wilde, and the Bee Gees’ catalog.

If anyone wants to get a clear picture of John as a person, the two best resources are probably All We Are Saying and Lennon Remembers, a book that contains an extended interview from 1970. Both books give fans a snapshot of who John was at a different time in his life. In both All We Are Saying and Lennon Remembers, John comes across as a humanitarian, a contrarian, a great wit, a lover, and a repentant fighter.

All We Are Saying is one of the best rock books out there and even John was impressed.

Leave a Reply