One of the striking aspects of Peter Doggett’s excellent You Never Give me Your Money is how his examination of the decades-long inter-Beatles relationships demonstrates how Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono are irrevocably, if reluctantly, linked. The core connection between them, John Lennon, died in 1980. However, his pointed and repeated comments equating the two, which range from 1970’s Lennon Remembers, in which he praises and notes his reliance first on McCartney and now Ono’s “good minds,” to one of his last ever interviews – “I only ever worked with two people” – perpetuate endless comparisons between and analysis of Lennon’s two artistic partners, their relationships with him, and their relationship with and views of each other.
This, coupled with their financial and legal disputes, as well as the struggle between McCartney and Ono regarding their particular (and primarily conflicting) versions of Beatles history, means that McCartney’s business, artistic, and personal relationship with Ono, and vice versa, has received considerable attention from various authors. McCartney’s at times less complimentary statements regarding Ono, and hers on him, have provoked authorial and fan interpretation and speculation on how they regard one another.
Far less attention – almost none – has been devoted to Lennon’s view of and/or relationship with McCartney’s spouse, Linda Eastman, and her view of him. Doggett’s sole analysis of the Lennon/Eastman relationship is his wry observation that Lennon, despite his breakup-era credo that everyone was/could be an artist, demonstrated little respect for Linda McCartney’s intellect or artistic abilities. Despite a number of quotes and sources of varying degrees of credibility dealing with Lennon’s views on Linda McCartney, virtually no other authors have even skimmed the issue. This lack of analysis consequently ignores revealing and thought provoking sources regarding Lennon’s views on Eastman and her family, on the band’s split, on the McCartney/Eastman marriage, and Lennon’s own personal life.
Any analysis must acknowledge that, in contrast to the still living McCartney and Ono, Lennon’s murder in 1980 and Eastman’s death in 1998 means the two were given considerably less time to comment on and interact with each other. The Let it Be tapes do record some amiable conversations between Eastman and Lennon, and easy interaction between Lennon and Eastman’s daughter, Heather. The lunchroom tapes also capture a serious conversation between Eastman and Lennon in which Eastman notes the necessity of investing effort in a working relationship and asks Lennon whether he is still willing to put forth that effort into the Beatles, and Lennon responds positively.
The tapes also include Eastman, along with Michael Lindsay Hogg and Neil Aspinall, among others, complaining to McCartney about Ono’s participation in the sessions and her role in speaking for Lennon during Beatles’ meetings, indicating that Eastman’s view of Ono was not particularly positive in that time period. In December 1970, Lennon and Ono sent the McCartney family a postcard with professions of friendship. However, relations from there appear to have soured. In 1971, Eastman evidently sent Lennon a letter requesting that he stop criticizing McCartney to the press. Unfortunately, the text of Eastman’s letter is unavailable, meaning that Lennon’s contemptuous response cannot be properly analyzed without knowing what, if any, provocation existed in Eastman’s letter.
Interactions between Lennon and the McCartney family improved during the Lost Weekend, but, in part because most sources focus on the interaction between McCartney and Lennon, few observations exist regarding Lennon’s interaction with Eastman, or hers with him. (Linda’s role in this time period appears to have been watching over the McCartney children while John and Paul engage in small talk). In his biography of Linda, her New York friend Danny Fields declares that, while Lennon and McCartney were friends and loved each other, neither man cared for the others wife; this reality discouraged improved relations between the two.
Eastman’s public comments on Lennon, particularly those prior to his death, are minimal. Her most extensive comments came in her 1984 joint interview with McCartney for Playboy. (As noted in The Beatles and the Historians, Joan Goodman and Chris Salewicz managed to prompt thoughtful, revealing answers from McCartney in this time period). Eastman disputes the “house-husband” version of Lennon’s final years by arguing that Lennon suffered from writer’s block and would have greatly benefited from writing with McCartney again. “No. I know that Paul was desperate to write with John again. And I know John was desperate to write. Desperate. People thought, Well, he’s taking care of Sean, he’s a househusband and all that, but he wasn’t happy. He couldn’t write and it drove him crazy. And Paul could have helped him… easily.” (It should be noted that Eastman does not identify her source regarding Lennon’s writer’s block, and that her comment was made pre-Goldman).
In Many Years from Now, she also argued that, both leading up to and during the breakup, Allen Klein and Ono deliberately fostered Lennon’s jealousy and insecurity regarding McCartney, encouraging negative relations between the two partners. “They (Klein and Ono) had John so spinning about Paul it was heartbreaking.” She declares that Lennon had “made it clear” that he wanted to announce the band’s end, explaining why the other musician was so furious when McCartney pre-empted him with the McCartney press release. Like McCartney, she also contests Lennon and Ono’s perception that the entire Ram album was a dig at the other couple.
There are even fewer private sources than public ones during the breakup period regarding Linda’s comments on Lennon and the band’s split. McCartney notes how Eastman rejected Lennon’s comments which criticized him, but we have no record of her own response to other breakup-era comments Lennon made regarding her, her family, and her marriage to McCartney. Whatever comments she made evidently occurred among the privacy of the McCartney and Eastman families and remain unknown. Her Playboy interview claim that her response to harsh breakup era criticism — “But God knows, people got on my back, and for things I wasn’t really doing. But I’m just not the type who’ll get up and explain herself” — was public silence could be viewed as obliquely identifying Lennon as one of her critics, but could equally apply to any other number of journalists or Beatles insiders. However, it is reasonable to assume Eastman was less than pleased with either the repeated insults to her father and brother or Lennon, Ono and Klein’s predictions to journalist Peter McCabe that, once her marriage to McCartney inevitably failed, he would be welcomed back into the fold under Klein’s management.
She relayed little, if anything, to New York friends, which included Fields and Lillian Roxon. Fields hypothesizes that this silence was due to an edict by her father and brother; given that most of Eastman’s New York friends were involved in the rock scene, he argues that John and Lee Eastman may have requested that Linda not discuss the band’s breakup for fear of information leaking out. While this hypothesis is plausible, it’s also important to note other events occurring in Eastman’s life at the time: part of the period of Linda’s silence coincides with the birth of Mary McCartney in August 1969. Given that the McCartney’s did not employ a nanny, and the incredibly time-consuming reality of caring for a newborn baby, Eastman’s lack of communication could also be due to simply being overwhelmed. This would presumably only have intensified after April 1970 when, following the McCartney press release, her husband experienced the equivalent of a nervous breakdown. “I was dreaming through the whole thing,” Eastman later recalled. During this time period, which she described in the Playboy interview as “frightening beyond belief,” Linda evidently was the primary to sole caretaker of 9 month old Mary, 7 year old Heather, and her depressed husband. It seems reasonable to assume that, at the time, Eastman had little to no time for either private conversations with old friends or public comments to the press.
Overall, Eastman’s public comments regarding Lennon, most of which followed his death, argue against Lennon and Ono’s version of the breakup. She also privately countered Lennon’s most vitriolic dismissals of McCartney’s Beatles’ contributions: According to McCartney, it was Linda’s reassurance that encouraged him not to believe Lennon’s harshest “Lennon Remembers” comments. She also later deplored, in the Playboy interview, the Beatles’ lack of communication skills, and her own lack of awareness regarding the many musical, personal, and monetary issues which were bubbling beneath the surface when she entered the band’s life. “The sad thing is that John and Paul both had problems and they loved each other and, boy, could they have helped each other! If they had only communicated! It frustrates me to no end, because I was just some chick from New York when I walked into all of that. God, if I’d known what I know now… All I could do was sit there watching them play these games.”
Due to this minimal amount of public sources and private comments, it is difficult to draw firm and unfiltered conclusions regarding Linda McCartney’s views on John Lennon. What we do have indicates that, unsurprisingly, Linda McCartney’s accounts on Lennon reinforced her husband’s version of the band’s story, dismissing accounts which blamed her husband (or herself) for the breakup, minimized McCartney’s musical contributions to the Beatles, or devalued the Lennon/McCartney relationship and partnership. She also emphasized the similarities between her husband and Lennon at a time when popular perception identified them as polar opposites: “John was biting, but he was also sentimental. Paul was sentimental, but he could be very biting. They were more similar than they were different.”
Linda Eastman apparently chose to allow her husband to take the lead in their interaction with and comments regarding Lennon and Ono. However, instances such as her 1971 letter, or her phone call to Ono regarding switching the order of the naming credit on “Yesterday,” indicate that she could also be proactive. Unfortunately, the overall lack of available sources from Eastman results in a less than candid, complete picture of her view of and relationship with Lennon. On the other side, there are numerous sources regarding Lennon’s view of Eastman and her influence on McCartney; the musician was, unsurprisingly, less circumspect, which will be discussed in the next post.
So obviously, it isn’t September, and this isn’t the promised post on the role of women (or lack thereof) in Beatles historiography. That post, while 3/4 done, needs more editing: I recently re-discovered another article I want to integrate into the post; but, given the demands on my time (new baby plus the start of the fall semester) haven’t had time to do so yet.
This post was the result of a number of factors: my thoughts on the depiction of females in Beatles historiography, and how much of that depiction is shaped by other primary sources/eyewitness; the lack of examination, in the band’s historiography, of the Eastman/Lennon relationship; and the freedom to ruminate on the subject while bottle feeding my six-week old seemingly 97 times a day. (Her nickname is Claire the insatiable. She’s over 12 lbs., now). Because much of this essay was mapped out during those aforementioned bottle-feeding sessions, there are probably some sources regarding Linda’s views on John that I missed. If anyone has any other valuable sources regarding Linda’s views on John (we’ll tackle the John view of Linda in the next post) which add to the discussion, feel free to bring them up.
Finally, the conclusions drawn here: first, that not many sources exist to offer Linda’s thoughts on John and, second, that what sources we do have unsurprisingly demonstrate Linda promoting Paul’s, and not John’s, version of Beatles history may seem elementary and glaringly obvious. However, in my defense, sometimes the conclusions we draw are that obvious. I once hesitated to hand in an extensive research paper in graduate school on the history of sports, which examined how and why certain countries play certain sports and others play different ones. (Authorial tangent: if you’re interested in sports or culture, it’s a fascinating topic). One of the conclusions — that climate plays a significant role in which sports a country adopts (there’s a reason hockey originated in Canada and not, say Ghana) — seemed to me so glaringly obvious that I expressed concern to my Professor about including it in my analysis. She countered that there’s nothing wrong with drawing self-evident conclusions, so long as its the evidence that leads to them.
Thoughts and comments are welcomed: the next post, regarding John’s comments on Linda, will include far more sources.
28 thoughts on ““Some Chick from New York”: Linda Eastman and John Lennon, Part I.”
This topic has been on my mind recently as I obsess over the first Wings album, Wild Life. Of course Linda is front and center, both as a vocalist and co-writer on all the songs. It’s hard not to imagine Lennon’s feelings on this turn of events (or RAM before it, though only half the songs were McCartney/McCartney co-writes), but what an audacious move and turn of events. I can see John dismissing the music outright. Paul is off on his own trip, though, trying to survive and move forward with whoever is around, his wife being person #1. I recall her saying she wasn’t very musical before (?), but here she is, serving in a role previously filled by John, if only to help her husband get through. Just incredible, really. So much here to explore and examine, but as you point out, not much to go on.
Regarding Linda’s musicality: My impression is that Paul has spent more time over the decades defending Linda’s musicality than Linda herself did. Things like “she had a good ear.”
In the Playboy interview, both Paul and Linda give the impression that her inclusion in Wings was a very casual decision, at least on her part: Paul asked her if she was interested and her response was basically: ‘Sure, I’ll try it. It could be fun.’ How fun it actually was for her — well. Both of them seem to indicate that they were oblivious to the potential backlash, the obvious comparisons with John and Yoko, Linda’s lack of musical experience, etc. There’s an interview Paul gave where he states that he approached the whole ‘turning Linda into his new musical partner’ situation by telling her ‘You’re going to learn to write songs if I have to strap you to the piano bench,’ which is a pretty authoritarian way to kick off that particular aspect of their marriage.
One of the elements of Linda’s role in Wings that’s particularly interesting to me is how the interpretation on that has completely flipped over the decades. If you look at sources in the 70s — anything from the National Lampoons Beatles magazine to Apple to the Core to various interviews/articles, the accepted wisdom on Linda’s inclusion in Wings is that she was pushing for it in an act of blatant self promotion, and punching above her own musical weight, oblivious to her own musical shortcomings and believing that she was Paul’s musical equal. Now the interpretation is pretty much the opposite: If you read the more recent bios, the version is that Linda’s role in Wings was far more Pauls’ doing than her own; she only joined and stayed and toured at his insistence, because he needed her there as an emotional crutch. She may have come to enjoy it more as time went on, but the new interpretation largely drops the ‘self-promotion’ aspect of it that was so prevalent in the 70s.
As an aside: I like Linda’s vocals on Ram. I know they’re a divisive element of the album for some fans, but they work for me.
LikeLiked by 1 person
“As an aside: I like Linda’s vocals on Ram. I know they’re a divisive element of the album for some fans, but they work for me.”
For me, the vocal blend with Linda is as key to his solo work as the John/Paul blend is to The Beatles’ work. I miss Linda’s contributions even today. Probably puts me in a minority, huh? 🙂
“…by telling her ‘You’re going to learn to write songs if I have to strap you to the piano bench,’ which is a pretty authoritarian way to kick off that particular aspect of their marriage.”
It’s hard to imagine what Paul was thinking. He was never particularly forgiving with other “lesser” musicians (Stu, Pete, even George and Ringo at times!), but I guess it’s different when you’re married to one. Still, we can’t underestimate what Linda meant to him post-breakup. Could be he needed her around just to function, period.
“It’s hard to imagine what Paul was thinking. He was never particularly forgiving with other “lesser” musicians (Stu, Pete, even George and Ringo at times!), but I guess it’s different when you’re married to one.”
What a great point about Paul’s previous extremely low tolerance for “lesser” musicians, juxtaposed with his insistence on bringing Linda — an utter novice — front and center in the band. Needing her around to function period — that seems like a good analysis to me, especially given Paul’s post-McCartney breakdown, which I discussed in the post.
Note: it’s interesting how Paul has elaborated on that breakdown period over the years. In 1973, his description was basically: “I had a bit of a rough patch when the Beatles split, but Linda helped pull me out of it and it strengthened our relationship.” In 1984, in the Playboy interview, Paul’s describing it as being made “redundant,” and falling on the scrap heap for the first time. For Doyle’s “Band on the Run” book, Paul’s describing it as “almost a nervous breakdown,” which Linda saved him from. Often, Paul’s version of his own history tends to get more positive as the decades go by, but this is a subject which he actually depicts as more negative over time — although Linda’s pulling him out of the depression is always conveyed positively.
LikeLiked by 1 person
When I stepped in, my heart was down and out,
But her love came through and brought me round,
Got me up and about.
Says a lot. 🙂
LikeLiked by 2 people
Both John and Paul sought emotional replacements for each other, post break-up. Linda was simply that. I think it demonstrates the degree to which Paul was suffering, to add a novice to the line-up when he usually wouldn’t dream of allowing a sub-par musician in.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Pertaining to the whole “emotional replacement” issue: I’ve always found it striking that George Martin (who had ample opportunity to witness both Paul with John and Paul with Linda), described her upon her death as not only the great love of Paul’s life but also “the best friend he ever had.”
Which is why Paul wanted her to replace John as his muse, friend, and professional partner, I should think.
“However, it is reasonable to assume Eastman was less than pleased with either the repeated insults to her father and brother or Lennon, Ono and Klein’s predictions to journalist Peter McCabe that, once her marriage to McCartney inevitably failed, he would be welcomed back into the fold under Klein’s management.”
This is always astonishing to me. How you can know someone for as long as, and as intimately as John knew Paul, that he would think that Paul would see the light and come back to work under Klein. Maybe this was the ultimate surprise for John, that this time Paul wasn’t two years behind him.
I remember too that John said he wanted to make the announcement of the split, but didn’t he keep waiting to announce it?
I’d really love to know more about the real Linda. She’s always seemed very practical and down-to-earth to me. I suspect that she had a hard row to hoe for more than just the first couple of years of their marriage. Bless her for sticking it out.
“This is always astonishing to me. How you can know someone for as long as, and as intimately as John knew Paul, that he would think that Paul would see the light and come back to work under Klein.”
So much of what John says in this period has to be filtered through the Klein issue, and in particular Klein’s effort to paint the Eastman’s as the ultimate bad guys in the split. Repeatedly reassuring fans that the other Beatles and Klein will be happy to welcome Paul back once he finally leaves those manipulative Eastman’s certainly makes Klein appear less responsible for the split and implicitly puts the onus on the Eastman’s for keeping the group apart. It’s also following closely on the heels of the trial testimony, a major aspect of which was to argue that John, George and Ringo didn’t want the band to split and Paul was the only one who did, so it reinforces that aspect of their version of the breakup as well.
Whether John really believed that the McCartney marriage would be short lived and that, after it collapsed, Paul would return to the other Beatles/Klein, well … he certainly indicates it in the letter he wrote Linda, because that was a private document, not intended for public use. (Of course it’s John, and he may have thought differently a day later). Maybe John figured Paul’s need for the Beatles was so strong that he would be willing to go with Klein after the relationship with the Eastman’s collapsed. Maybe John was simply so enamored with Klein he couldn’t understand how others could not be.
For what it’s worth, John’s repeated predictions regarding a short-lived McCartney/Eastman union (which I’ll discuss in the next post) don’t seem so unreasonable once you consider 1. Paul’s previous history of rampant infidelity — John had every reason to believe Paul would continue his previous habitual womanizing, and if Linda was unwilling to compromise on that issue, that would obviously damage the marriage and, implicitly, Paul’s business and personal relations with John and Lee Eastman and 2. the reality that almost everyone else in the Beatles circle — not to mention the press – was also pretty surprised with Paul’s choice of Linda. Even people who liked her, like Ray Connolly, noted that she wasn’t what they had expected Paul to pick.
Now this is interesting–and brings to mind comments Paul made ( In MYFN?) about allowing himself to endulge in a little philandering because he wasn’t married and therefore (in his mind) he didn’t have to be faithful.
“Paul’s previous history of rampant infidelity — John had every reason to believe Paul would continue his previous habitual womanizing, and if Linda was unwilling to compromise on that issue, that would obviously damage the marriage”
I’m sorry Erin but I have to push back on this! First of all, cheating on your girlfriend (engaged or not, which Jane and Paul weren’t until the last 6 months or so) is different than cheating on your wife and the mother of your kids.
Secondly, ALL the Beatles cheated on their wives! So by this logic, none of them should expect successful marriages in the future. Let’s not hold Paul to a higher standard than everyone else.
Brit, I happen to agree with you that cheating in the midst of marriage is morally different than cheating outside of marriage, (although others may disagree with that) and that holding Paul to a higher standard on the subject of fidelity than the other Beatles would be unfair.
However, I have to say that I did not intend to indicate either of those issues/double standards in my post. I simply noted the obvious: Paul had never demonstrated that he was capable of being faithful to any of the previous women in his life, something of which John (who, as you noted, along with all the Beatles was also serially unfaithful) was well aware. John even reportedly expressed surprise to Ray Connolly, evidently in the 1970-71 period, regarding Paul’s ability to remain faithful to Linda. From that evidence we can conclude that John fully expected, given Paul’s previous behavior, that Paul was going to cheat on Linda. That didn’t happen, to John’s surprise. Additionally, we can speculate that John’s presumption of Paul’s anticipated infidelity could have played a role in his expectation that the McCartney/Eastman marriage would not last. That was the point I was trying to make; I did not intend to indicate any moral double standards or unfair criticisms singling out any particular Beatle.
Morality aside (I don’t really have an opinion on that, personally) there’s a massive legal distinction as well. Spouses make a contractual agreement to be faithful, with potential financial/custodial repercussions.
“From that evidence we can conclude that John fully expected, given Paul’s previous behavior, that Paul was going to cheat on Linda”
I disagree. My opinion is that John believed (or hoped) that Paul’s marriage would fail because he deemed Linda not good enough for Paul and/or assumed/hoped Paul would be dissatisfied with her as a life partner. But if he expected Paul to be unfaithful simply because he’d cheated on other girlfriends in the past… Again, I think that’s faulty logic (for the reasons we already discussed). What would be a better predicator of future marriage success IMO (and of course this is ALL conjecture based on everyone’s various assumptions and prejudices) is Paul’s views on marriage and family. Does he take the institution seriously? Does he value and respect family, children, marriage, etc? Was he demonstrating a legitimate willingness to settle down?
“But if he expected Paul to be unfaithful simply because he’d cheated on other girlfriends in the past… Again, I think that’s faulty logic”
I guess we’ll agree to disagree. I don’t find it faulty logic, and I think Connolly’s reported version of John’s comments expressing surprise at Paul’s ability to remain faithful to Linda after being unable to remain faithful to anyone else is an indication that John expected Paul to cheat, and that he expected that cheating to damage the marriage. The issue of John perceiving Linda to be not good enough – or John not being able to understand her appeal — for Paul is certainly part of the discussion, but it doesn’t negate the other, infidelity aspect.
I’m also in the club of liking LInda’s vocals on records, but I always found her live performances to be kind of embarrassing. (And I say this as someone who would be way to chicken to go on stage and do anything other than hide behind the amps.) She seemed to present with this kind of false bravado and hipness that grated–but maybe that was because she was scared shitless–which anyone would be, in her shoes.
Without giving it too much thought, I always assumed that John’s view of Linda, overall, was vintage Lennon. His reaction to Paul’s love interests ranged from being a knife-welding, Play-Misty-For-Me loony to rude indifference. I don’t think he actually liked any of them–like he did Ringo’s wife, Maureen Cox.
I have a hunch that Linda’s view of John was coloured by Paul’s view of John. In spite of everything, her husband loved him–and she loved her husband, so perhaps her glasses were a bit rose-coloured.
(p.s. I love “Claire the Insatiable.”)
“His reaction to Paul’s love interests ranged from being a knife-welding, Play-Misty-For-Me loony to rude indifference. I don’t think he actually liked any of them–like he did Ringo’s wife, Maureen Cox.”
I think there are some he appears to have liked; at least, we have no evidence indicating John ever disliked/insulted Dot Rhone. Of course, Dot was also Cynthia’s best friend in Liverpool, so if John was mean to Dot he would have presumably upset both Paul and Cynthia. And I don’t think we have anything, positive or negative, from John on Maggie McGivern. But there are certainly enough other examples — Paul’s date Cecelia, where John evidently tagged along and was so obnoxious Paul kept apologizing for him, anonymous German/Scissors girl, Jane, Peggy Lipton — to indicate that John certainly didn’t like quite a few of the women in Paul’s life.
Exceptions to the rule, of course.
LikeLiked by 1 person
It must have been maddening trying to keep up with John.
Lennon, Ono and Klein’s predictions to journalist Peter McCabe that, once her marriage to McCartney inevitably failed, he would be welcomed back into the fold under Klein’s management.
And if he HAD done that, John would have said “Klein? I don’t believe in him anymore. Yoko and I dumped him months ago. Do try to keep up, Paul.”
Yoko fans always tell me how influential she was on new wave bands who came later in the ’80s.
Well, when I go back and listen to Linda’s vocals from the ’70s, they also remind me of new wave groups who came later (like the Pixies, etc.), just like Paul’s early solo work (McCartney, Ram, Wings Wild Life) reminds me of the Freak Folk movement of the early aughts.
Linda seemed like the most level-headed person of them all during the whole breakup saga. I wish John, George & Ringo had listened to her, and I wish Klein had never come near them.
Didn’t Mick Jagger put the idea of Klein in John’s ear? Reason #274 to dislike Sir Mick.
“And if he HAD done that, John would have said “Klein? I don’t believe in him anymore. Yoko and I dumped him months ago. Do try to keep up, Paul.”
Yes; that holds true for both the timelines John gave; the first was that the McCartney marriage/business relationships would last two years; the next was that it would last five. Either way, John’s business management contract with Klein ended in March 1973.And all the Beatles had different managers by 1976. The idea of Paul being willing to be managed by Klein, even if his business relationship with the Eastman’s had disintegrated, seems pretty far-fetched. Klein doesn’t ever appear to have attempted to woo Paul the way he did John, Yoko, George and Ringo, and is an active participant in cementing the “Lennon Remembers” version of events — “John had written most of the stuff under the Lennon/McCartney credit,” etc. — so why would Paul want Klein even if he had left the Eastman’s?
“Didn’t Mick Jagger put the idea of Klein in John’s ear? Reason #274 to dislike Sir Mick”
I don’t have strong feelings on Mick Jagger one way or another — I simply don’t know enough about him — but the dubious distinction of introducing Klein to John actually goes to Derek Taylor. IIRC, Klein read John’s interview with Ray Coleman where John predicted the band would be broke in six month — huh. John does a lot of predicting in interviews – and decided to approach John via Taylor, who he knew from Taylor’s time in the U.S. Taylor then relayed Klein’s request to meet with John, but did so while reportedly expressing reservations to John regarding Klein. John and Yoko met with Klein and, well, you know the rest.
Mick’s involvement evidently came a little later, although the exact time line is fuzzy. Both John and Paul asked Mick about Klein, essentially vetting the guy. Mick said something to the effect of “He can make it hard to get ahold of your money,” which, in 1969, John evidently interpreted as a good thing: more of a “he doesn’t throw money around” than a “he doesn’t allow you to access your own funds.” Accd. to Paul in MYFN, MIck’s statement to him regarding Klein was basically a non-endorsement: a ‘don’t touch this guy’ warning. Paul then invited Mick to relay that message to John, George and Ringo at a group meeting but evidently Klein was present as well, and Mick’s comment changed from ‘don’t touch the guy’ to ‘he’s alright if you like that kinda thing.” Doggett, I believe, interprets Mick’s reported switch as possibly being intimidated with facing down three Beatles and Klein; Marianne Faithful argues in her memoir (and I think this purely speculation on her part; I can’t recall what conversations or evidence she has to back this up, if any) that Jagger wanted the Beatles to take Klein as manager because the Rolling Stones were already having questions about his financial management, and Mick figured that Klein being distracted by the Beatles would allow the Stones a better opportunity to disentangle Klein from their own finances. One motivation certainly portrays Mick as more Machiavellian than the other.
This is great stuff. I just found some good Lennon quotes about Paul and Linda here:
JOHN: So it was always the family thing, you see. If Jane [Asher] was to have a career, then that’s not going to be a cozy family, is it? All the other girls were just groupies mainly. And with Linda not only did he have a ready-made family, but she knows what he wants, obviously, and has given it to him. The complete family life. He’s in Scotland. He told me he doesn’t like English cities anymore. So that’s how it is.
MCCABE: So you think with Linda he’s found what he wanted?
JOHN: I guess so. I guess so. I just don’t understand… I never knew what he wanted in a woman because I never knew what I wanted. I knew I wanted something intelligent or something arty, whatever it was. But you don’t really know what you want until you find it. So anyway, I was very surprised with Linda. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d married Jane Asher, because it had been going on for a long time and they went through a whole ordinary love scene. But with Linda it was just like, boom! She was in and that was the end of it.
— John Lennon, interview w/ Peter McCabe and Robert Schonfeld. (September, 1971)
I know; that is some great stuff — I’m definitely going to integrate that into my post on John’s views of Linda, not to mention John’s views on family.
I’ve always found this statement of John’s to be so interesting. One interpretation: “How could I know what Paul wanted when I didn’t even know what I wanted”; or “If I didn’t know what I wanted it follows that Paul didn’t know what he wanted.”
Particularly the second interpretation: “If I didn’t know what I wanted than Paul wouldn’t/couldn’t know what he wanted.” Co-dependence, anyone?
It’s particularly interesting when you consider that John does evidently understand (at least in this interview) one of Linda’s core attractions for Paul: that she had a family to offer Paul, and she was a woman, not a “groupie.” Paul himself says almost the exact same thing in MYFN that John alludes to here: that he admired Linda’s hard work as a Mom to Heather and viewed her differently from the other women he was involved with at the time: identifying her explicitly as a “Woman,” rather than a girl.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Erin, recently, I discovered your blog & book via your appearance(s) on Robert Rodriguez’s podcast. With all of the professional & personal demands on your time, I am appreciative & grateful for the time & effort you devote to the Beatles. Please keep it going. An observation: when I was in my tween years in the mid-to-late 70’s I clearly remember one of the jokes at that time was: Q. What do you call a dog with wings? A. Linda McCartney. The older I get the more I look back and feel that the blind negativity directed toward her then was unwarranted and misguided.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for the kind words, Tom, and welcome to the blog.
That “Dog with Wings” joke must have been fairly popular; I remember hearing it as late as the early-to-mid 1980s, from one of my older cousins. Peter Brown even mentions that joke in “The Love You Make,” although I can’t remember in which context. (However, he certainly didn’t seem to be particularly complimentary of Linda — or, well, anyone — in that book)
“The older I get the more I look back and feel that the blind negativity directed toward her then was unwarranted and misguided.”
I think that’s a very telling observation, and certainly the conclusion I’ve been drawing myself, looking over how the depiction of Linda and other females in Beatles historiography has changed over time. According to Time, the fan backlash against Linda was immediate and pervasive. And, as you said, seemingly unwarranted, not only in its vehemence but also in its staying power: hence the “Dog with Wings” joke.
One of the striking elements to me is how many of Linda’s obituaries (the majority of which were seemingly written by women) strike a conciliatory, almost apologetic tone which can be summed up as: “We hated her for a lot of the wrong reasons, including blaming her for the breakup and/or marrying Paul in the first place, but she and Paul somehow made it work. Good for them.” So there was an acknowledgement by 1998 that the negativity had been misguided, but it seemingly took 29 years of an evidently successful marriage, not to mention Linda’s death, for the public mea culpas to arrive.
I remember going to Beatlefests in the early to mid 80s and watching films and when Linda or Yoko would come on people would hiss and boo. I think that softened over the years- but I always found it a strange vibe.
I’ve never been to a Beatlesfest, but I’ve heard others offer the same sort of observation, regarding the common view of Linda and Yoko at them during that time period.
I had a very different starting point: because of how young I am, I was aware of Yoko as a caricature (the eccentric Asian female artist who breaks up a group of friends) before I was aware that she was an actual, real person: the trope namer, if you will. And the first time I remember hearing anything about Linda (with the exception of her and Paul’s Simpsons appearance, on the Lisa the Vegetarian episode) was when she died. And, given that when she died, coverage of Linda was pretty positive, (and has largely been ever since) I was somewhat surprised, when I went back to other/older sources, to see how negatively she had been viewed. A good friend of mine, who is a casual Beatles fan and also my age, said that was the single most surprising aspect of the book for her; how many people disliked Linda.