From the album: National Lampoon's Radio Dinner
Produced by: Michael O'Donoghue and Tony Hendra
Released on: Blue Thumb Records
Release Date: 1972
Currently: Out of Print

Tony Hendra - vocals as 'John Lennon'
Melissa Manchester - piano, voice of 'Yoko Ono'
John "Cooker" LoPresti - bass.
Jim Payne - drums
Christopher Cerf - Composer
Christopher Guest - Arranger

This is an unrelentingly brutal parody of John Lennon made all the more pointed due to the fact that the lyrics are Lennon's own words taken from an interview he granted to Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone in 1970. The interview itself is legendary. At the time it was conducted, Lennon was still hopelessly trapped under the vast, oppressive shadow of The Beatles, and he was angry, whiney, and petulant. With his characteristic cutting wit and candor, Lennon held nothing back and unearthed intensely personal details about his experiences with LSD, heroin, his petty ego issues with Paul and Mick Jagger, and the pain of seeing Yoko publicly maligned and almost universally hated. A few random excerpts from the interview:
Jann Wenner: I would like to ask a question about Paul and go through that. When we went and saw `Let It Be' in San Francisco, what was your feeling?

John Lennon I felt sad, you know. Also, I felt . . . that film was set up by Paul for Paul. That is one of the main reasons the Beatles ended. I can't speak for George, but I pretty damn well know we got fed up of being sidemen for Paul. After Brian died, that's what happened, that's what began to happen to us. The camera work was set up to show Paul and not anybody else. And that's how I felt about it.

Jann Wenner: Do you think you're a genius?

John Lennon: Yes, if there is such a thing as one, I am one. - People like me are aware of their so-called genius at ten, eight, nine. . . . I always wondered, ``Why has nobody discovered me?" In school, didn't they see that I'm cleverer than anybody in this school? That the teachers are stupid, too? That all they had was information that I didn't need? I got fuckin' lost in being at high school. I used to say to me auntie, ``You throw my fuckin' poetry out, and you'll regret it when I'm famous, '' and she threw the bastard stuff out. I never forgave her for not treating me like a fuckin' genius or whatever I was, when I was a child. It was obvious to me. Why didn't they put me in art school? Why didn't they train me? Why would they keep forcing me to be a fuckin' cowboy like the rest of them? I was different, I was always different. Why didn't anybody notice me? A couple of teachers would notice me, encourage me to be something or other, to draw or to paint - express myself. But most of the time they were trying to beat me into being a fuckin' dentist or a teacher. And then the fuckin' fans tried to beat me into being a fuckin' Beatle or an Engelbert Humperdinck, and the critics tried to beat me into being Paul McCartney.
Jann Wenner: What do you think of the Stones today?

John LennonI think it's a lot of hype. I like ``Honky Tonk Women,'' but I think Mick's a joke with all that fag dancing; I always did. I enjoy it; I'll probably go and see his films and all like everybody else, but really, I think it's a joke.

Jann Wenner: Do you see him much now?

John Lennon: No, I never do see him. We saw a bit of each other when Allen was first coming in - I think Mick got jealous. I was always very respectful of Mick and the Stones, but he said a lot of sort of tarty things about the Beatles, which I am hurt by because, you know, I can knock the Beatles, but don't let Mick Jagger knock them. I would like to just list what we did and what the Stones did two months after on every fuckin' album. Every fuckin' thing we did, Mick does exactly the same - he imitates us. And I would like one of you fuckin' underground people to point it out. You know, Satanic Majesties is Pepper; ``We Love You,'' it's the most fuckin' bullshit, that's ``All You Need Is Love.'' I resent the implication that the Stones are like revolutionaries and that the Beatles weren't. If the Stones were or are, the Beatles really were, too. But they are not in the same class, musicwise or powerwise, never were. I never said anything, I always admired them, because I like their funky music, and I like their style. I like rock and roll and the direction they took after they got over trying to imitate us. He's obviously so upset by how big the Beatles are compared with him, he never got over it. Now he's in his old age, and he is beginning to knock us, you know, and he keeps knocking. I resent it, because even his second fuckin' record, we wrote it for him.
In subsequent interviews, long after he had finally put the insanity of the Beatles in the past and had dealt with his other personal demons, John denounced much of what he said in this interview. And so we come to Magical Misery Tour.

Lyrically, it's magnificent. How could it not be? John Lennon was a great artist, and great artists are, by their very nature, self-indulgent. In a perverse way, it's a tribute to Lennon's ability, at that time, to be nauseatingly compelling. Musically, it's reminiscent of some of what the Plastic Ono Band were producing at the time - just piano, bass and drum - and it does not, unlike most song parodies, wear thin after only one or two listens. Tony Hendra does a superb vocal impression and perfectly highlights the folly of Lennon's rage and public tantrums. Particuarly amusing are the non sequiturs between the ranting verses, and the plaintive admission of who the Walrus really was. The ending, a crescendo of blood-curdling screams and garbled nonsense, represents his much-publicized involvement with Primal Scream therapy. Knowing what we now know of John Lennon's mental and emotional condition at the time, and being fully aware that his life would eventually be tragically cut short, the folks at National Lampoon might be accused of being rather cruel to use the words of a tormented man against himself. Perhaps if it had been done by less talented satirists it might now ring unnecessarily mean-spirited. There is an old adage: 'The best comedy is born from the worst pain', and this spoof supports the statement. In 1970, John Lennon was on the precipice of a period in which he would become out of control and, ufortunately for him, I suppose, he had access to very public avenues through which to turn his personal pain into a clay pigeon for pen-wielding critics. But let us not forget that Lennon, himself verbally gifted, had his own sadistic streak and wasn't adverse to using public mockery to mercilessly drive his point home. If taken for what it is - a historical piece of social criticism, National Lampoon created a gem that still holds up.

Magical Misery Tour

I resent performing for you fuckers!
Tell me, what do you know?
A lot of faggot middle-class kids
Wearing long hair and trendy clothes.
Look, I’m not your fucking parents
And I’m sick of uptight hippies coming knocking at me door
With a fucking peace symbol
Get this, got that I don’t owe you fuckers anything.
And all I’ve got to say is "Fuck you!"

The sky is blue.

And Mick Jagger
I think that Mick’s a joke with all his stupid faggot dancing
I always did.
Wiggling his ass, you know, its just a lot of bullshit.
And where does he come off saying all those tarty things about the Beatles?
When every fucking thing we ever did Mick tried to copy
and you know we even wrote his second fucking record for him
No, the Stones, aren’t the same in class as the Beatles,
either music-wise or power-wise; they never ever were.

Pardon me sir.

Paul said he hated Yoko
Tell me, why should Yoko have to take that kind of shit -
shit from those fucking sons of bitches?
George said she gave off evil vibes
I should have beat the fucking shit right out of him,
him with his fucking Hari Krishnas.

Me Auntie she tore up me fucking poems
She just threw the bastards out.
I can’t forgive her ‘cause she didn’t treat me like a fucking genius.
Look, you bastards, I’m a genius!
Like Shakespeare and Beethoven and Van Gogh.
Don’t you DARE criticize my work!
"Don’t Worry Kyoko" is one of the fucking BEST rock and roll records ever made!
I’m a fucking artist!
I’m sensitive as shit!
I throw up before I go on stage!
I could make a guitar SPEAK!
If I could be a fisherman, I would, But I CAN'T because I’m a FUCKING GENIUS!
I was the Walrus - Paul wasn’t the Walrus!
I was just saying that to be nice, but I was actually the Walrus!
You know that rubbish he’s been singing?
Yoko is a supreme intellectual!
I’ll tell you why nobody likes her music
because she’s a woman, and she’s Oriental, that’s why!

Where are you Mother?
They’re trying to crucify me!

Genius is pain,
Genius is pain,
Genius is pain,
Genius is PAIN!!
{Fade out on howling and gutteral screaming)

Yoko’s voice: The dleam is over.


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