John Lennon

and

Yoko Ono

on

Love

It’s all true, folks.
All you need is love.

—John Lennon, 1969

John Lennon

and

Yoko Ono

interviewed by

Howard Smith

1969-71

Quebec and New York City


Hear the full interviews at thesmithtapes.com

Howard Smith: People seem to be having a lot of trouble getting along with each other, I mean couples. Both of you seem very, very close. What’s your secret?

John Lennon: It’s called love. And there’s nothing that splits that up, you know. I mean you got to work on it, like it is a precious gift and it’s a plant and you’ve got to look after it and water it and you can’t just sit on your backside, and think oh well, we’re in love, so that’s alright. But that’s the secret. It’s all true folks. All you need is love. 

John Lennon: I can’t give you the formula for meeting the person that you’re going to love,  but it’s around, you know. And it happens. I mean it happened to me at 29 and Yoko Ono at 32.  

Yoko Ono: Whatever.

John Lennon: And it’s a long wait, you know, I didn’t think it was…I thought it was an abstract thing, you know, when I was singing about all you need is love. I was talking about something I hadn’t experienced. I had experienced, you know, love for people in gusts, and love for things and trees and things like that, but I hadn’t experienced what I was singing about. It’s like anything, you sing about it first or write about it first, and find out what you were talking about after.

Yoko Ono: Well, I never thought that it would happen in this late stage of my life.  I mean, I just sort of, I was starting to give up hope, you know, that kind of thing, you know.  Becoming very cynical and all that. But it happened and it’s very, very, very good.

John Lennon: It’s no good having, being with people you can dominate all the time.  Or being with someone who can dominate you all the time. Because either one is boring. But if you’re with somebody who’s got a ticking mind, which was the best part about being with the Beatles when they were ticking, is they were ticking, you know? But it began to slow down.

Yoko Ono: We certainly don’t…

John Lennon: But with Yoko Ono, it’s like living with 4 or 5 people…. [laughs] It’s far out.

Yoko Ono: Well we do say, four of us are getting along very well these days aren’t we? Or something like that.

John Lennon: That’ll do. they’ll have us put away.

Howard Smith: Marriage thing itself, as an official ceremony seems to have somewhat gone out of style. How come you decided to go through with a regular marriage?

John Lennon: Because we turned out to be romantics. I mean we went through the whole intellectual bit about marriage, you know, where it’s a bit of paper and some guy gives it to you. And that’s all true. But when he gave it to us, it was very emotional, you know, and it wasn’t even a, we couldn’t even get a nice vicar or a bishop, you know, to do it.  It’s completely against what we thought, what I thought intellectually, I thought well it’s never again, forget about this one. You know, what a joke, what a joke it all is. And the next minute, I’m standing there and she’s crying and it’s like we’re soft kids, you know. So we’re romantic, and it made a difference.

Howard Smith: Can there be such a thing as being too close? Can that actually…Because in your case it doesn’t seem that way.

John Lennon: Like stifling each other then. You see we’re both mind people, you know, so to be apart, we don’t have to physically be apart.

Yoko Ono: Exactly. You have to say that.

John Lennon: I just said it.

Yoko Ono: Oh, alright.

John Lennon: I just said it. Ding dong, ding dong. Next round.

Yoko Ono: But the point is this is an interesting example….

John Lennon: Well they’re all brought up to think that a couple, you mustn’t give a child too much love, a couple mustn’t be together too much, it’s good for the husband to be working in America while the wife’s in Brazil. You know, we don’t believe all that jazz. That’s just some social Christian jazz that someone must have laid on us a few generations ago. And you can’t give a child too much love and if you love somebody, you can’t be with them enough. There’s no such thing. We don’t want to be apart.

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