John Lennon & Yoko Ono at Hawkin's Ranch 12/17/69
Interviewed at legendary rockabilly musician Ronnie Hawkins’ ranch outside Toronto, the couple details their new campaign for peace. They discuss a week they spent earlier in the month with camera crews for two British documentaries, a newly released live album, and a benefit concert they had recently played in London. Just two days prior, posters had been put up in twelve cities around the world bearing the enduring, simple message, “WAR IS OVER! IF YOU WANT IT Happy Christmas from John & Yoko.”
Easy Rider - Dennis Hopper & Peter Fonda 6/69
Following the release of Easy Rider, at Cannes Film Festival, Hopper and Fonda give their first American interview. Two weeks later, the film would open in theaters across the country to massive critical acclaim, receiving two Academy Award nominations, and eventually becoming the third highest grossing film of 1969.
Jim Morrison 11/6/69
Nearing the release of their fifth album, the Doors were at a difficult junction in their career. Morrison’s drug abuse was threatening the band’s survival. Promoters were canceling their tour dates following the lead singer’s fractious tirade at a concert in Miami intended to kick off a major US tour that had resulted in arrest warrants and charges of indecent exposure. Morrison discusses the band’s troubles, and his court date, imminently looming three days after the interview.
Arlo Guthrie 8/69
Though he was only 22 years of age, Guthrie had already released three albums, and had solidified his position as a staple of the East Coast folk scene. “Alice’s Restaurant,” the title track of his first album was a huge hit, but at 18 minutes long, it could not be released as a single. Earlier that year, however, Guthrie had starred in a film based off the song, which was soon to be released, and would propel the songwriter to mainstream success.
Jane Fonda 5/69
After living in Europe for years with her husband Roger Vadim, Fonda had returned to the states to star in the film They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? for which production had just wrapped. Smith meets Fonda at her father’s Manhattan townhouse at a turning point in her career, as she is moving to sophisticate her image and will later that year be nominated for an Academy Award.
Hair - James Rado & Gerome Ragni 9/2/69
Rado and Ragni, writers of the iconic musical HAIR, had worked fervently to move their show to Broadway. HAIR had been met with controversy for its anti-establishment themes, and infamous nude scene, but the pair had managed to find a theater, the Biltmore, that would stage the show. They discuss the musical, which has recently become a sensation, and would go down as the ultimate representation of the times.
Dick Gregory 11/24/69
Famous for a unique blend of stand-up comedy and political speech, Gregory had recently run, unsuccessfully, for President of the United States. He had since returned to comedy, recording the album, Dick Gregory, The Light Side: The Dark Side. He contemplates his career with Smith, days before a performance at Carnegie Hall.
©2013 The Smith Tapes (P)2013 The Smith Tapes
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