Maureen Cleave

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Maureen Cleave
Born (1941-10-20) 20 October 1941 (age 79)
United Kingdom

Maureen Cleave (born 20 October 1941) is an English journalist. She worked for the London Evening Standard from the 1960s[1] conducting interviews with many prominent musicians of the era, including Bob Dylan and John Lennon. Over 40 years, she continued as a distinguished interviewer of people in all walks of life, in the Standard, the Telegraph Magazine,[2] Saga magazine,[3] Intelligent Life magazine[4] and elsewhere.

In her Standard interview with Lennon on 4 March 1966, titled How does a Beatle live?, she quoted him as saying that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus now".[5] Five months later, on the eve of a 14-city US tour, an American magazine reproduced that remark, which led to a wave of anti-Beatle sentiment in many parts of the US, especially the South and Midwest.[6][7]

According to the Bob Spitz biography of the Beatles, Lennon claimed a liaison with Cleave, inspiring the band's song "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)".[8] Pete Shotton, a friend of Lennon's, also suggested Cleave,[8] though Cleave has said that in all her encounters with Lennon that he made "no pass" at her,[9] and Lennon claimed he could not remember whom the song was about.[10] It has also been claimed that the woman in question was Sonny Freeman, wife of photographer Robert Freeman,[9]:329, 387–8 who shot the photos on the covers of the Beatles albums With the Beatles, Beatles for Sale, Help! and Rubber Soul.


  1. ^ "Why The Beatles Create All That Frenzy. By Maureen Cleave : Articles, reviews and interviews from Rock's Backpages".
  2. ^ "Telegraph magazine - Jewel cover (27 February 1999)". crazyaboutmagazines.
  3. ^ Barber, Lynn (1 December 2002). "Grey mischief" – via The Guardian.
  4. ^ "Intelligent Life - The Economist Spring 2008". Archived from the original on 16 April 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  5. ^ Cleave, Maureen (4 March 1966). "How does a Beatle live?". London Evening Standard. Via "'Bigger than Jesus'". 47 Shoe Lane. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  6. ^ Cleave, Maureen (5 October 2005). "The John Lennon I knew". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  7. ^ "'Bigger than Jesus'". 47 Shoe Lane. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  8. ^ a b Bob Spitz (2006). The Beatles: The Biography. Back Bay Books. ISBN 9780316013314.
  9. ^ a b Norman, Philip (2008). John Lennon: The Life. London: Harper Collins. ISBN 0007197411.
  10. ^ Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-25464-4.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

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