Lennon's outburst at the Beatles kept secret for 30 years

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The Independent Culture

The suppressed interview in which John Lennon spoke for the first time of his true feelings about the other Beatles is finally to be published - 30 years after it was given.

The suppressed interview in which John Lennon spoke for the first time of his true feelings about the other Beatles is finally to be published - 30 years after it was given.

In 1970 Lennon agreed to speak to Jann Wenner's Rolling Stone magazine about the tensions and feuds in the band. In particular he expressed his anger at the treatment of Yoko Ono by George Harrison and Paul McCartney. "They were not exactly welcoming," he said.

But, amazingly for a magazine regarded as the radical voice of the American underground, Rolling Stone decided his comments were "too sensitive" to be printed. Instead a heavily censored version of the interview was published. Omitted were all references to Brian Epstein and frank accounts of drug-taking and sex backstage.

Earlier this year the Verso publishing house negotiated to reprint the original magazine interview, only to discover that editor Jann Wenner still had the original tapes - with pages of previously unpublished material. Colin Robinson, managing director of Verso, said they had been originally interested in reprinting the original Rolling Stone interview because of Lennon's political activities and views in the early 1970s.

But after the contract had been signed, Rolling Stone called to reveal the existence of the extra material. Reading the transcripts, Mr Robinson said he realised the value of the interview had increased considerably. The complete work will be published as Lennon Remembers on 9 October, which would have been his 60th birthday. Yoko Ono, who sat in on the Rolling Stone interview and made comments which were ignored at the time, has agreed to write a foreword for the book.

Mr Robinson said the interview was stunning. "He's very raw. He's being ruthlessly honest with himself as he often was. Often, he's not even favourable to himself. He does talk about the relationship with the rest of the group and what it was like being on tour. Often he would say, 'They're going to go mad when they read this' and 'I don't believe in the Beatles; I don't believe in the dream any more'."

Thirty years after the band broke up, interest continues unabated. Another book on the band, The Beatles Anthology, is due out in October. The books will also coincide with an exhibition of Lennon memorabilia, including items lent by Yoko Ono, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the US.

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