Excerpt of Interview with Hunter Davies
Dr. Glenn Gass
Indiana University School of Music
Interview conducted in England in June 2002;
first published in World Beatles Forum magazine
How was the Beatles' reaction when your book came out?
Well, I've written about that in the [newer editions of the] book. It was fine.
I enjoyed your stories about the conflicts with Mimi.
That was John. God knows how Mimi got hold of it. John must have left it laying around. So Mimi rang up John and moaned at John about the bad language. That was all it was, the bad language, and also saying he never stole things, which of course he did. So I went down to see her and calmed her down. I didn't take anything out, but I put in extra words from her saying, "John was as happy as the day was long." Which was her memory up to 11 or 12, and I'm sure it was true. It was only as a teenager he was a rebel. So he did, a couple of years later in the Rolling Stone thing [the 1970 RS interview], when asked about my book, rubbished it to say it was a whitewash, and that was very hurtful. I wrote to him and complained about that and he said, "Oh, I just said it." He was thinking about the whitewash idea, that I had to change things to keep Mimi happy.
But I hadn't changed things. We have the drugs in there, have the first LSD trip. And I have appalling bad language, like the word "fuck," which in books in that period you never got. The reviews of the time said it was the most honest biography of pop people that had ever been. I didn't have the girls and the sex life because they all had wives or stable girlfriends, but apart from that it was true. And I had Brian described as a "gay bachelor." That was a code way of doing it.
Well, John lashed out at everything in that Rolling Stone interview. He hurt George Martin's feelings...
And Paul's, worst of all.
In Barry Miles' book, "All Those Years Ago," Paul seems pretty open about everything except his relationship with Jane Asher. She and Paul seem to have an agreement to not say much about each other.
She has never talked, ever, about the Beatles, and I admire her. Jane Asher and Neil Aspinall are the only two people close to them who have never given interviews or written books or in any way cashed in on the Beatles. I don't know whether it is an "agreement" or not but, he's never said awful things about her. He's made it, to me, clear between the lines that he was as much in love with her family and the house and the setup as he was with Jane. Coming from his council house background, he was enchanted by the lifestyle, how they lived in that big house with professors coming and going, and the way they lived in their vaguely middle-class Bohemian life. He was enchanted by it. It was so different from his own background, and in a way it was being socially mobile. He felt he'd moved up a class, moving in with these people. And the same when he started buying Magritte and these other paintings. He was bettering himself. So I think that was part of his love affair with Jane, and his move to Cavendish was part of it as well. The other three moved to the boring stockbroker, nouveau riche area, Weybridge. It's first-generation wealthy people who live there, whereas moving to St. John's Wood is up-market and classy. That's your intellectual area, and that was part of that syndrome.
Interview in its entirety is at music.indiana.edu