I got a nice response from the rare 1965 interview with John and Paul I posted yesterday, so I decided to continue my policy of "sharing the wealth" from my vast collection of Beatles-related print material.
Today, I am posting an article from a "Monkee Spectacular" magazine from
late 1967. It was written by Phyllis Nesmith, the first wife of Mike
Nesmith of the Monkees. When the Nesmiths went to England In February 1967, the Lennons invited them to stay at their home. Their visit coincided with the making of Sgt. Pepper. But before arriving at John's house, the
Nesmiths attended the infamous "A Day In The Life" orchestral recording session. Phyllis describes the scene at the session and later at the
The article is a sort of time capsule that reveals more about the state of Phyllis Nesmith's and Cynthia Lennon's respective marriages at that moment
in time than it does about their famous husbands.
I have literally dozens of Beatles-related "first-hand" reports like this from that long-ago era. If there's any interest here, I will post more.
Some are buried in musty fan magazines, others in old copies of mainstream publications like Cosmopolitan and Redbook. All were written with a sense
of innocence that has long since been replaced by cynicism and pandering sensationalism. The mid to late '60's was a state of mind that can never
ever happen again. Only those of us who are old enough to actually remember the mood and mindset of that time will even understand what I'm talking about.
A Weekend With John & Cynthia Lennon (told exclusively to "Monkee Spectacular" by Phyllis Nesmith)
When Mike and I left for our first vacation in England I had some wild ideas about what I wanted to see and do, but I never dreamed we would spend an entire weekend with John and Cynthia Lennon! When we first arrived in
London, we wanted to call John Lennon, even though we'd never met him. We wanted very much to take them to dinner so we sent him a telegram.
John never responded to our telegram, but the next night we received an invitation to a Beatles' recording session at EMI studios. John met us there and told us he got our telegram and thought it was great. He knew it would
be hard to get together, so he waited to invite us to the session. At the
end of the session John and Cyn invited us to spend the weekend with them! The session itself was the wildest thing I've seen in my whole life. First
of all, it was a very private thing -- everyone was there by invitation
only. The Stones were there, Marianne Faithful, and Patti Harrison, among many others. The only Beatle wife who wasn't there was Maureen Starkey because she wasn't feeling well.
I was so nervous! It seemed like such a freaky scene because I didn't know what was going on. The four Beatles were so cordial, I can't begin to tell you! We walked in and sat by the door on two little chairs and Paul came
over and said "Hello, how are you, its good to see you." We had met Paul at
a night club the night before. When we first came in, everyone else was seated at one end of the studio and they were laughing and talking and the orchestra was tuning up. And you should have seen the orchestra! They wore white ties and tails and they all had false noses and weird glasses!
Paul was doing most of the work with the orchestra, so George Harrison came over to us and he was so outgoing and nice. Finally John came over and thanked us for the telegram and said, "Come on down and meet Cyn" and he
made us feel so at ease. We all went down and John introduced me to Cynthia and I sat down and said, "I'm so nervous." She said, "Hold on, this isn't really my scene, you know, I'm nervous too." She said that John had told her to put on something wild, so she wore these wild purple pajama pants that seemed way too tight on her. Everyone else was also dressed really freaky. When we sat down, the idea of the session was to record everyone talking and laughing. All the girls except Cynthia and I were walking around the orchestra with burning sparklers! Cynthia and I talked and we found that
our reactions to our husbands and their fame were so much alike we really
hit it off. We agreed that it was important to our family and our husbands
to maintain a sense of proportion throughout the whole thing. It wasn't so much expressed in words, I knew she felt the same way. We said that it was hard to be married to a person who was affected by so many outside things. You really have to be on your toes and you have to really love him in order for that not to make any difference.
You have to be able to sort out the hang-ups that come from the outside and affect your husband -- what really pertains to your own relationship and really keep a sense of proportion about that, then you're going to have a groovy relationship no matter what it looks like to the outside world. I think John acts toward Cyn very much like Mike acts towards me -- he sort of keeps her in good humor. She has a tendency, like I do, to be overly sensitive to harsh remarks. Sometimes John teases her and she starts to
take offense and then he says, "Oh, Cyn, don't do that." Then she can laugh and she knows it doesn't have anything to do with her.
Cynthia is very thoughtful and very quiet. She's very sensitive because she had an awful lot to go through. I never travel on tour with Mike, so I
don't go through the airport scenes. I don't go to any press interviews or anything like that. And I don't feel left out because I understand that
when Mike is going through all of that, it's very hard on him. There is a
lot of loneliness and inactivity being on tour -- sitting in a hotel room, getting all excited about the performance, being let down when it's over.
You go through changes and I know if I were with Mike for more than two or three days on tour there would be tension between us.
John was telling us that Cynthia never goes with him because he treats her
so shabbily, and he feels bad about taking it out on her. I'm sure that Cynthia loves her husband and I don't think she's unhappy at all. I think living with John Lennon forces her to change, to expand her life and
outlook. People are like weathervanes -- they change directions with the wind. She may wish for peaceful moments and they may not come to her too often, but that's not really "unhappiness" -- it's more like acceptance of her lot.
She thinks she is as vital to John as his right arm and I'm sure she
believes that. I haven't always been perfectly content myself. I don't
know if I'll ever be able to say that I'm fulfilled because that feels like such a nothing state of being to me. There is something more than that
sense of accomplishment, it's progress and growing, never standing still. Sometimes you think you feel unhappiness, but it isn't -- it's learning and compromising.
The Lennons live in a big old brick house with lots of high ceilings and staircases that wind up three floors. Mike and I sort of wandered through
the house during our weekend there. I remember the dining room -- there's a huge banquet table and the walls are covered in purple velvet! It's very
rich and very comfortable; it's great. John has a lot of freaky psychedelic art and a lot of little knick-knacks that are hard to describe. There was
so much stuff all over the place. In the breakfast room, John has wildly colored shelves. He's on a kick of wildly colored things, so he had a
friend paint a piano with flowers and designs and every key on the keyboard is a different color! It goes through all the shades from light to the darkest. The wildest thing of all is his Rolls Royce car. It's yellow with all the flowers on the side. It really blew our minds; it's beautiful.
The Rolls is really fantastic. It has a built-in record player, though I can't imagine how you could play it when the car is moving over bumps. It also has a TV, a tape recorder, and a telephone. We didn't go many places
in the car, except Cyn took me to Maureen Starkey's house. I never did meet Ringo's little boy -- he was out for a walk. But we had tea with Maureen
and talked endlessly. We enjoyed that. Julian Lennon is a very withdrawn
and seemingly lonely child. He may be going through one of those stages
where he's very shy, but he refused to speak to us. A record was on and he was dancing. He amuses himself nicely. He's very quiet.
The whole weekend was so relaxing. Cyn and I cooked a big Sunday dinner.
She made a roast and some great potatoes. The potatoes are really the best thing about English cooking. I watched how she made them so I could learn how. She peeled them, cut them into chunks, boiled them for awhile, then about 20 minutes before the roast was done she put them with the roast in
the juices. The outside of the potatoes were all brown and crispy and the inside was almost as soft as mashed potatoes. They were the best potatoes I've ever put in my mouth though I expect I'm a bit fatter because of them. John showed us some movies the first night we were there. They were really weird films -- like art films. Then we talked for awhile and went to bed.
The next day we just sat around the whole day and had tea and talked. John played the unfinished and unmixed tracks to "Sgt. Pepper" (it wasn't out yet then) and that was so exciting to us. Their music seems worlds away from
what Mike and the others are recording.
I'll never forget the weekend, it was great just to relax and get to know such wonderful people. They mentioned to us they loved fresh grapefruit, but couldn't get it in London. When we got home I went to the Farmers' Market
and had a whole crate sent to them. Although I never heard back from them,
I hope they liked it.
ande...@hotmail.com (Byrdbrother) wrote in message news:<539a6a26.0307...@posting.google.com>...
<<BASELESS SPECULATION SNIPPED>>This article is most probably a complete fabrication. It basically
rehashes known details about Kenwood (John's house), which was
described in detail by the magazine Beatles Monthly during the
recording of Sgt Pepper.
And given the sheer news value of a Monkee staying at John Lennon's
home I seriously doubt this could have passed unnoticed at the time.
Cynthia Lennon wrote about the Nesmiths visit to Kenwood in her book so apparently it could have passed unnoticed at the time.
It's a bit naive to regard any information that's unknown to you as probably "complete fabrication" simply because you haven't heard it before.
Trust me. You haven't heard *most* of it.
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