Playboy Interview w/ David Sheff (Fragment, Love Affair)
September, 1980: John likens his partnership with Paul to a love affair. (Note: This is a brief string of audio fragments from the same general portion of the interview. Below is the quote in context from the printed source; in bold is the audio fragment. Click through for previously-posted audio clip where relevant!)
JOHN: But in the early days of performing, whether it was Hamburg or Liverpool, when we were still playing dance halls, there was still a lot of inspirational energy. We hadn’t started repeating our little movements, our little licks. So in that respect, the Beatles’ live creativity had gone long before they came to America. And in the same respect, the creativity of songwriting had left Paul and me… well by the mid-Sixties it had become a craft.
And yet… a different kind of thing comes in. It’s like a love affair. When you first meet, you can have the hots twenty-four hours a day for each other. But after fifteen or twenty years, a different kind of sexual and intellectual relationship develops, right? It’s still love, but it’s different. So there’s that kind of difference in creativity too. As in a love affair, two creative people can destroy themselves trying to recapture that youthful spirit, at twenty-one or twenty-four, of creating without even being aware of how it’s happening. One takes to drugs, to drinks, to knock oneself out…
PLAYBOY: When you say the creativity went out of your relationship with Paul by the mid-Sixties, that’s a little hard to believe. There are a lot of people who feel that the period between 1966 and 1970 was the most fertile musical period of all.
JOHN: It wasn’t. Well, it was fertile in the way a relationship between a man and a woman becomes more fertile after eight or ten years. The depth of the Beatles’ songwriting, or of John and Paul’s contribution to the Beatles, in the late Sixties was more pronounced; it had a more mature, more intellectual – whatever you want to call it – approach. We were different. We were older. We knew each other on all kinds of levels that we didn’t when we were teenagers. The early stuff – the “Hard Day’s Night” period, I call it – was the sexual equivalent of the beginning hysteria of a relationship. And the “Sgt. Pepper–Abbey Road” period was the mature part of the relationship. And maybe, had we gone on together, maybe something interesting would have come of it. It wouldn’t have been the same. But maybe it was a marriage that had to end. Some marriages don’t get through that phase. It’s hard to speculate about what would have been.