Maureen Cleave was a music journalist who was a confidant of The Beatles, having written about them since their earliest glory days.
Beatles and beyond
Cleave worked for the London Evening Standard, where she began writing the “Disc Date” column in 1961. She was among the first journalists to write seriously about rock and pop music, as well as one of the first to cover the Beatles. She first wrote about the group in 1963, and she developed a relationship with the band members by interviewing them several times over the next three years. The group found her apartment to be a safe place to hide from hordes of fans, and they have done so so often. It was Cleave who conducted the 1966 interview with John Lennon (1940-1980) in which he said the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus”. Cleave also interviewed notable musicians including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, The Rolling Stones and Little Richard (1932-2020).
Cleave on the Beatles interview
“Lennon was the most interesting of them, imperious, unpredictable, indolent, disorganized, childish, vague, arrogant and very good at answering.” -as quoted in the Guardian
Tribute to Maureen Cleave
Complete obituary: The New York Times