Sunday, January 08, 2012

John and Yoko on Dick Cavett

Finally bought the Cavett 'John and Yoko' DVDs. My Christmas present to myself.

I've seen these a number of times before. I saw them when they were originally shown (I was a young teen) and taped them when VH1 showed them years ago. But like any good interview, you forget stuff and it's fun to watch them with Cavett's new intros.

There are three shows, two from September 1971 and one from May 1972. Forty years is a long time, but what strikes me is how 'grown-up' the show is compared to popular talk shows of today. It's really a dead format...that is, a talk show that is smart, funny, in-depth, silly, inquisitive, and Cavett has a killer band with drummer Bobby Rosengarden. In other words, it's not a one-note style. The talk shows today are either purely entertaining, like Letterman or Jimmy Falon, or informative, like Charlie Rose or CSPAN's Book-TV interviews.

Back in the 70's even Johnny Carson would sometimes get serious. Not a lot, but he would have on writers and politicians and let actors and musicians actually talk about issues of the day. Merv Griffin even more so. And of course there was 'Tomorrow' with the great Tom Snyder, who would have a wide range of guests from night to night.

These Cavett DVDs make me nostalgic for that kind of show. Cavett starts off with some jokes. Then he brings out John and Yoko and proceed to discuss a variety of topics including The Beatles, Women's Lib, American Indians and in-between the serious moments, they trade jokes and puns. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

They only perform songs on the third show. With Elephant's Memory they do 'Woman is the Nigger of the World' and 'We're all Water'. Both great underrated songs. And Elephant's Memory do a great job as back-up.

The biggest 'time warp' moments come when discussing Women's Lib; Cavett offers to light Yoko's cigarette which leads to the conversation. It's funny how the shows make me think we've regressed in everything EXCEPT women's place in society.

I think most of these interviews are on YouTube, but buy (they are pretty cheap) or Netflix them. I'd like to see Cavett release more and the more they sell the more they will put out.


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