If you were born in the 60’s or earlier, you remember the day that John Lennon was murdered. I was 30 in December, 1980. I had just gotten home from an all night session at my recording studio in Long Beach, Ca.
As an avid Beatles’ fan, I was devastated. For me, it was no different than JFK’s or RFK’s assassination. It knocked the wind out of me.
I called my engineer and told him to cancel all bookings that day. I hunkered down in my house in North Long Beach and over the next few hours, lots of friends showed up. We sat on furniture and the floor as we spread all of our Lennon and Beatles albums on the carpet. We played Lennon’s music all day long. We were all in such shock that everyone processed it differently.
We passed around joints and drank lots of tequila. This caused many of my friends to break down. We all felt a connection to a man we had never met…but whose music affected all of our lives.
The next day, life continued and everyone went back to work…sad and in denial.
Lennon and Yoko had done an interview just before he was killed. It was very professional and interesting questions were asked. Lennon was fascinating. Yoko was a major disturbance when she ranted on.
It took several weeks, maybe longer, for the production company that had gotten the job of putting the interview together on five 12″ vinyl records. Westwood One was a major distributor of all things made exclusively for radio. They edited the interview and interspersed it with music that was being discussed. It was all presented in chronological order.
These 5 albums only went out to Westwood One radio stations. There were hundreds of stations across the country that were contracted for their products.
I had a good friend, Marshall Thomas, that was a radio DJ on one of the big 50,000 watt stations in L.A. It was either KLOS or KWST. I can’t remember which. Marshall got an announcing gig on the vinyl records. I believe the only sponsor was Budweiser Beer. And those commercials were at the start of each interview episode and interspersed throughout the presentation.
He was given a full set of the vinyl albums. As soon as he received them, he came to my studio to show me. He said I could make a copy of all 5 albums. So, I cranked up the recording studio and we went from vinyl to cassette. And the photos above are my cassette copies that I’ve kept in a holy sepulcher for 40 years. I’ve kept them all this time in a sealed container and they are mint. As I don’t have a cassette player, I haven’t listened to them in at least 10 years.
I looked online and there are various versions of the interview available…but not a sign of those original albums or even the original recordings in the format used on those albums. I’m guessing only a couple thousand were produced and those that received them, still have them. And no one is putting them on eBay.
I should get them transferred to CD.
Every time I took a road trip, I got to listen to all 5 hours. Always found myself sobbing when I finished.
I realize that John Lennon means more to Boomers than other generations…and I understand. I remember watching The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan show in February, 1964. I was beside myself and overwhelmed. The records had been out for a year but this was magic in motion. I had wanted to be a bassist and I saved my money that year and bought a Hofner violin bass…just like McCartney’s.
My wife, Charlotte…a German, remembers begging her psychiatrist father to take her with him in 1962 to Hamburg as he was attending a psychiatry convention. Her dad, reluctantly, took her to the Indra Club where The Beatles were the band of residence…and honing their chops. Charlotte got to meet all of the boys and found herself in rapture. But since they all resided in a single room behind the stage, without much bathroom access, Charlotte said they stunk to high heaven. Still, her father took photos of her with The Beatles and she remembers them being very nice; and very kind to her.
John Lennon was only 40 years old when he died. I can only imagine the music that could have been produced once he and McCartney made up and stopped fighting. Age would have mellowed them and I want to believe McCartney’s music after Lennon’s death would be so much more impactful if he still partnered with John.
Side note: After nearly 7 weeks with this gawdawful flu, the third round of antibiotics has finally rid me of the infections. Smoked my first cigar today. Only got an inch in before I was swooning. So, I look at it as merely circumcising the cigar. I have another stick next to me ready to go. I can’t wait to get back to being the inappropriate reviewer everyone loves to hate.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS