In 1962, future Pulitzer Prize–winning author Alex Haley sat down with jazz musician Miles Davis for what would become an institution of American journalism—the Playboy Interview. To celebrate the Interview’s 50th anniversary, Playboy has culled 50 of its most (in)famous Interviews and will publish them over the course of 50 weekdays (from September 4, 2012 to November 12, 2012) via Amazon’s Kindle Direct platform. Here, a glimpse at our conversation with rock legends The Beatles from the February 1965 issue.
Paul: Well, you know, a lot of Americans are unbalanced. I don’t care what you say. No, really. A lot of them are quite normal, of course, but we’ve met many unbalanced ones. You know the type of person, like the political Whig.
Playboy: How do you mean?
Paul: You know—the professional politician type; in authority sort of thing. Some of them are just mad! And I’ve met some really maniac American girls! Like this girl who walked up to me in a press conference and said, ‘I’m Lily.’ I said, ‘Hello, how do you do?’ and she said, ‘Doesn’t my name mean anything to you?’ I said, ‘Ah, no…’ and I thought, ‘Oh God, it’s one of these people that you’ve met and you should know.’ And so Derek, our press agent, who happened to be there at the time, hanging over my shoulder, giving me quotes, which happens at every press conference…
George: You better not say that.
Paul: Oh yes, that’s not true, Beatle people! But he was sort of hanging about, and he said, ‘Well, did you ring, or did you write, or something?’ And she said, ‘No.’ And he said, ‘Well, how did you get in touch with Paul? How do you know him?’ And she said, ‘Through God.’ Well, there was sort of a ghastly silence. I mean, we both sort of gulped and blushed. I said, ‘Well, that’s very nice, Lily. Thanks very much. I must be off now.’”
John: Groups like this are normally not friends, you know; they’re just four people out there thrown together to make an act. There may be two of them who sort of go off and are friends, you know, but…
George: Just what do you mean by that?
John: Strictly platonic, of course. But we’re all rather good friends, as it happens.”
Paul: We’d be idiots to say that it isn’t a constant inspiration to be making a lot of money. It always is, to anyone. I mean, why do big business tycoons stay big business tycoons? It’s not because they’re inspired at the greatness of big business; they’re in it because they’re making money at it. We’d be idiots if we pretended we were in it solely for kicks. In the beginning we were, but at the same time, we were hoping to make a bit of cash. It’s a switch around now, though, from what it used to be. We used to be doing it mainly for kicks and not making a lot of money, and now we’re making money without too many kicks—except that we happen to like the money we’re making.
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