The interview “Author Mark Lewisohn: Serious Jibber Jabber With Conan O’Brien” that went public Wednesday is an amazing in-depth discussion on the Beatles centered mostly around Lewisohn’s “All These Years: Volume 1: Tune In,” but also talking about the Beatles’ career as a whole. The interview, which lasts 83 minutes, is something that never could likely have been done on O’Brien’s TV show because of the time spent and the topics covered. The knowledge that emerges on both sides of the interview from Lewisohn and O’Brien, who himself is a huge Beatles, fan, is not only illuminating but enlightening.
For example, the two get into a discussion of Brian Epstein with O’Brien saying, “He’s the only one who sees them in ’62 and says they’re going to be the biggest thing ever.” “He was a man of tremendous energy,” Lewisohn answers. “He would consume himself with whatever it was that was interesting him. And the Beatles were miraculous to him. They came along at just the right time in his life much as he came along at the right time in their lives. It was the perfect marriage of manager and artist.”
An interesting moment is when, in discussing the personalities of the four Beatles, Lewisohn says Paul McCartney, not John Lennon, caused the most problems for Epstein. “They all had their difficult sides, but Paul’s was the one that Brian had the most trouble with for sure because Paul was the most conspicuously ambitious for the Beatles. John and George were both ambitious, too, no doubt about it, but they would be more laid back. You wouldn’t see it quite so openly as you would with Paul.”
They also discuss Ringo Starr as the rock of the Beatles. “They wanted Ringo first of all for his character and personality was a fit. Secondly, tempo, rock-solid tempo, unwavering beat, metronomic, perfect for guitarists and singers. The guy before, Pete, they always felt he always wavered on his beat. He was erratic, he speeded up, he slowed down. Ringo was rock solid.” “He was also rock solid through every outtake,” O’Brien quipped.
These are just a couple of highlights from a discussion that has many and shouldn’t be missed. It’s the second interview in two days featuring an intense discussion with Lewisohn. Stephen K. Peeples posted four videos on YouTube with more great talk about the Beatles from Lewisohn. The first is here. None should be missed.