Maureen Cleave

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Maureen Cleave
BornOctober 20, 1941

Maureen Cleave (born October 20, 1941) is an English journalist who worked for the London Evening Standard from the 1960s [1] conducting interviews with famous musicians of the era, including Bob Dylan and John Lennon. Over the next 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[4] magazine 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]

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)".[7] Pete Shotton, a friend of Lennon's, also suggested Cleave,[7] though Cleave has said that in all her encounters with Lennon that he made "no pass" at her,[8] and Lennon claimed he could not remember whom the song was about.[9] It has also been claimed that the woman in question was Sonny Freeman, wife of photographer Robert Freeman,[8]: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".
  5. ^ Cleave, Maureen (2005-10-05). "The John Lennon I knew". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2018-07-14.
  6. ^ Cleave, Maureen. "How does a Beatle live?". 47 Shoe Lane. Retrieved 2018-07-14.
  7. ^ a b Bob Spitz (2006). The Beatles: The Biography. Back Bay Books. ISBN 9780316013314.
  8. ^ a b Norman, Philip (2008). John Lennon: The Life. London: Harper Collins. ISBN 0007197411.
  9. ^ 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.

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