The Beatles sometimes had to devise creative ways to get through their many interviews, which tended to be at the reporter’s expense. It didn’t help that the press gave them nicknames that didn’t truly represent their personalities or that they often asked stupid or irrelevant questions.
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The press gave the Fab Four nicknames that weren’t actually accurate
In The Beatles’ early career, the press observed the band during interviews and gave them “tags” based on their apparent personalities. John Lennon was the witty Beatle, Paul McCartney was the cute one, George Harrison the quiet one, and Ringo Starr was, well, Ringo Starr.
All of the nicknames couldn’t have been farther from the truth. The Beatles were many things, but the press didn’t care enough to discover who they were as people.
Their labels were only half the issue. Once The Beatles’ fame skyrocketed, they had to deal with tons more interviews filled with uninspiring, uninteresting, foolish, and often head-scratching questions.
The press wanted something from the group just as much as the fans did. They packed into rooms and did what they had to to get a witty remark or something else from the band that they could use to sell hundreds of newspapers. Once, George got angry when The Beatles’ press agent added more interviews to his schedule and threw orange juice in his face in frustration.
So, The Beatles needed to do something to get them through the often grueling interviews.
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George Harrison said The Beatles sometimes made up inside jokes about reporters to ‘survive’ interviews
According to George Harrison on George Harrison: Interviews and Encounters, George said that most of The Beatles’ interviews were boring. To survive them, the group used to make inside jokes about the reporter.
“Were you bored by all that?” a television host asked him, in 1988, of the band’s seemingly unending interview circuit. George replied, “Well, sometimes it was boring, sometimes we’d just make fun of them. We’d have our own little in jokes, you know, to get through. It’s like a survival kind of thing.”
The Beatles helped each other during interviews in many ways.
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The Beatles kept their interviews going with witty remarks
During a 1977 interview with Crawdaddy (per George Harrison on George Harrison), George explained that The Beatles had enough confidence in coming to America for the first time. However, they were nervous performing on The Ed Sullivan Show. Most of their interviews were packed with nervous energy too.
“I remember them asking us, did we know who Walter Cronkite was,” George said. “And I said, ‘I dunno, isn’t he somebody on the television?’ You know, things like that were good because they all had fun—the people asking questions and the press; us being naive and not seeming to care about that sort of thing.”
Crawdaddy asked, “Was there ever a tendency to still act naive after you wised up?”
George replied, “I dunno, but by that time, you know, we’d got into that whole sort of routine that we used to have, you know, at press conferences. A lot of it was just nervous energy. You know, just for jokes and stuff which everybody seemed to like.
“That was one of the big helps for the Beatles at the time: If anybody dried up in the press conferences there was always somebody else there with a smart answer. There was always a good balance, so nobody could every really quite nail us.”
Unfortunately, The Beatles felt they had to continue playing the parts the press gave them. George had it the easiest, though. As the “quiet Beatle,” he didn’t have to talk if he didn’t want to. The press stayed away from him anyway because they thought he’d produce dead air.
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