A John Lennon Moment from 1971

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

On the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's murder, Steve Inskeep has a remembrance from Lennon's appearance on The Dick Cavett Show in 1971. The late Beatle was shot and killed outside his New York apartment on December 8, 1980.

(Soundbite of "Imagine")


If John Lennon were alive today, he would be 65 years old. Instead, he died at the age of 40, shot on this day a quarter century ago in New York City. This morning, we're going to hear a moment when John Lennon imagined himself as an older man. It was 1971, about a year and a half after the breakup of The Beatles, and John Lennon appeared on a TV talk show hosted by Dick Cavett.

(Soundbite of 1971 "Dick Cavett Show")

Mr. DICK CAVETT (Host): Can you remember when you realized that it was inevitable that you would split up?

Mr. JOHN LENNON (Musician): No.

Mr. CAVETT: Was there any one...

Mr. LENNON: No. It's like saying, you know, `Did you remember falling in love?'

Mr. CAVETT: Yeah.

Mr. LENNON: Not quite, no. When you grow up, you know, we don't want to be the Crazy Gang, which they mightn't know over here, which is British, or the Marx brothers, which you're sort of being dragged on stage playing "She Loves You" when we've got, you know, asthma and tuberculosis when we're 50, you know. `Here they are again.' (Singing) `Yesterday, all my troubles seemed...'

(Soundbite of laughter and applause)

Mr. CAVETT: Yeah, that ...(unintelligible).

Mr. LENNON: So a long time ago I said that I didn't want to be singing "She Loves You" when I'm 30. I said that when I was about 25 or something, which in a roundabout way meant that I wouldn't be doing whatever I was doing then, you know. Well, I was 30 last October, and that's about when my life changed, really.

Ms. YOKO ONO: Mm-hmm.

Mr. CAVETT: Do you ever wish it hadn't all happened, John?

Mr. LENNON: Well, I don't regret anything in my life, really, because I met Yoko and I'm very happy with her. You know, I once said `I wish I was a fisherman,' meaning, I wish I didn't have the kind of mind that makes me want to perform in public, whatever, make records, make films, all this, be working. I wish I was satisfied to just be peaceful and, you know, living--I thought fisherman was so easy, you know. You just get your breakfast out of the water. You eat and you go to bed; a simple life.

Ms. ONO: Yeah.

Mr. CAVETT: Yeah.

Mr. LENNON: You know, I mean, I have a sort of longing for that. I think everybody does. Like, I dream of us being an old couple on the south coast of Ireland or something just, `I remember when we were on Dick Cavett, you know.'

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LENNON: And being a nice old couple like that.

(Soundbite of "Look At Me")

Mr. LENNON: (Singing) Look at me. Who am I supposed to be? Who am I supposed to be?

INSKEEP: That's the song "Look At Me," from the CD "John Lennon: Acoustic." Earlier, we heard part of an interview from 1971 when Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, were guests on "The Dick Cavett Show." Lennon was killed 25 years ago today.

(Soundbite of "Look At Me")

Mr. LENNON: (Singing) Who am I? Nobody knows but me. Who am I supposed to be? Who am I?

INSKEEP: This is NPR News.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

Related NPR Stories



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from