1969 Lennon, Ono, Leary interview uncovered

Tuesday, July 03, 2012



Students of the '60s will flip over news that Timothy Leary's biographer Michael Horowitz (Winona Ryder's father; true story!) has uncovered and published a transcript from an interview/conversation conducted with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, by LSD guru Timothy Leary, and his wife Rosemary.

The interview took place during Lennon and Ono's famous bed-in at the Hotel Queen Elizabeth, Montreal on May 29, 1969. Leary is also featured on backing vocals in the classic Give Peace A Chance, which was recorded during the bed-in.

The entire transcript is available to read at the Timothy Leary Archives, but we have collected our favourite quotes from it, below (there's an awful lot of tripe in-between the good bits).

TIMOTHY LEARY: Also, of course, we live with rattlesnakes. That’s groovy because it requires absolute consciousness. You just can’t go thumping through the brush, thinking of what you’re going to do tomorrow. You have to realize that you’re intruding on their territory. We don’t want to hurt you. We don’t want to stumble in and step on you. So your consciousness has got to be focused. And of course it’s always helpful to have dogs. We learn a great deal from animals.


JOHN LENNON: Yeah, that’s where we’re shouting at the kids at Berkeley: “forget the park, move on.” They’re all saying. “Where?” Y’know, I’m saying, “Canada. Anywhere.” There’s plenty of space.


ROSEMARY LEARY: Yes, if you fly over this country in an airplane you’ll just be amazed at the amount of space there is.

JOHN LENNON: Pioneers. Pioneers are very important today, because people won’t go where somebody hasn’t already gone. Yeah! That’s what we’re saying: what did your forefathers do? How did they make it?


TIMOTHY LEARY: How are things in Europe?

JOHN LENNON: They’re okay there, you know, it’s relaxed and everybody’s…they’re all smoking their cigars and drinking coffee, y’know, and you go to Paris and Amsterdam, and they’re all just rolling along.

YOKO ONO: And they don’t dislike you for smoking.


JOHN LENNON: Yeah, when we were down there, in the States, it was terrifying. [Footnote: Lennon is referring to the last Beatles U.S. tour, in August 1966.] That’s when they were getting me for saying we’re bigger than Christ. Somebody was letting off balloons, and we all looked around to see which of us had got shot.

TIMOTHY LEARY: But the kids there are the same as they are anywhere. Because this thing we’re involved in, it does transcend all the old dichotomies of left/right or conservative.

JOHN LENNON: They’re even playing the “Christ you know it ain’t easy” record. [Footnote: “The Ballad of John and Yoko”] down south on some stations. I didn’t think it’d get past the line, y’know, didn’t think they’d play it there at all. I asked them, Jacksonville, Florida or what, “Hi! Y’playing the record?” “Yeah, we’re playing it. Why did you say that?” “Well,” I said. “Uh. Heh…” [Laughter]

You can read the original article HERE


Leave your comment
Beatles Radio Listener Poll
What Beatles Era do you like better?