Tom Snyder

John, Paul, Tom & Ringo: The Tomorrow Show With Tom Snyder

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Between 1975 and 1981, Tom Snyder had the opportunity to interview three of the Beatles on The Tomorrow Show -- John Lennon in April 1975, Paul McCartney (with Linda McCartney and Wings Denny Laine and Laurence Juber) in December 1979, and Ringo Starr in November 1981. All three of these interviews are featured on this two-DVD set, which doesn't feature many revelations or stories of note, but is of interest to intense fans of the Beatles, as a group and individuals. The most interesting of these by far is the interview with Lennon, which is actually the program that was broadcast in December 1980, the day after Lennon's assassination; for that broadcast, the interview was shown again, with some additional comments by Snyder. This was Lennon's last television interview, and it's interesting and entertaining to see and hear Lennon field Snyder's questions on Beatlemania, his solo career, New York City, and his immigration status, Lennon having yet to obtain a green card at the time the interview was done. Lennon's attorney, Leon Wildes, is also present for a few minutes to answer questions about his client's struggle to obtain permanent American residency. Interestingly, when Snyder asks which fellow ex-Beatles' solo career Lennon has been most impressed with, John cites Ringo Starr, at that time nearing the end of a brief run of huge mid-'70s hits. Lennon explains that no one was really worried about the other three as they were all songwriters, but that there was some concern about Starr, as he had not written many songs before the Beatles' breakup. In addition to the repeat of the 1975 Lennon interview, there are also interviews, conducted the day after he was killed, with journalist Lisa Robinson (who knew Lennon and Yoko Ono) and Jack Douglas, who produced Lennon and Ono's 1980 album, Double Fantasy, and had been working with them in the studio the night Lennon was shot.

The Paul McCartney interview is far less engaging, both because Paul (and Linda) don't seem in a very lively mood despite some forced horsing around, and because Snyder devotes much of the chat to mundane questions about the challenges of being a star and raising a family in that environment. Questions about McCartney's music, with Wings or the Beatles, are scarce, though Paul does discuss his obscure 1972 single "Give Ireland Back to the Irish" -- not something that comes up often in interviews -- when Snyder asks about his politics. At the time of Ringo Starr's interview, he was promoting his album Stop and Smell the Roses -- not exactly a highlight in either his career or the Beatles' solo work in general -- so some of the conversation isn't memorable. Ringo fields the questions with reasonable wit, however, attributing his image as a downtrodden dummy of sorts to the characters he played in the first two Beatles films, and noting that he doesn't think he could be a standup comedian/monologist as he needs someone to bounce off. His then-new wife Barbara Bach appears with him briefly, and the film in which they appeared, Cavemen, is discussed in passing. Strangely, the DVD then ends with a fairly extensive interview between Snyder and actress Angie Dickinson (from the same program on which he interviewed Starr) that's not Beatles-related in the least, though it's fairly interesting; Ringo's not even present. Had the Dickinson interview been lopped off, it seems like all three of the Lennon/McCartney/Starr segments could have fit onto one DVD without a problem, instead of the material being spread over two discs.