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John Lennon on the Dennis Elsas Show, WNEW-FM, 28 September 1974

Dennis Elsas: Without question my most memorable interview and on-air experience was 28 September 1974 an afternoon I spent with John Lennon.


‘We’re mucking about on a Saturday rainy afternoon
because we’ve got you all trapped in your rooms, you see,
‘cos it’s too wet to go anywhere.’

– John Lennon, Dennis Elsas Show, WNEW-FM, 28 September 1974


  

DENNIS ELSAS

Dennis Elsas is among America’s most respected and influential Rock and Roll radio personalities.  With a career that spans half a century, the distinctive style he developed over twenty-five years at WNEW-FM in New York continues weekday afternoons on New York’s WFUV (90.7FM) and nationally on Sirius/XM Classic Vinyl (26) and Sirius/XM The Beatles Channel (18), where he co-hosts the Beatles Fab Fourum. He is featured in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s exhibit of America’s most influential Disc Jockeys and, as a leading voice-over artist, Dennis is the “Voice of Rock History” at the Woodstock Museum at Bethel Woods. Listen to his history-making interviews, including the legendary 1974 conversation with John Lennon, get details about his live, on-stage multimedia show “Rock ‘N’ Roll Never Forgets,” and more at denniselsas.com.

INTRODUCTION BY DENNIS ELSAS

Dennis Elsas: Without question my most memorable interview and on-air experience to date was on September 28, 1974, a Saturday afternoon I spent with John Lennon.

I had met him just a few weeks before at the Record Plant recording studio and casually asked him if he’d like to come up to the station to talk about his forthcoming album Walls and Bridges. I doubted anything would come of it, since none of the Beatles had ever visited our station before. When he showed up eager to talk, bringing with him some obscure 45’s he wanted to share with the audience, I didn’t know what to expect.

What began as an opportunity to promote the new album, turned into two hours of rare Beatle stories, insights into his immigration struggles, and John as the DJ, introducing and commenting on all the music, commercials and weather.

The complete show is part of the permanent collection of the Paley Center For Media (formerly the Museum of Television and Radio).

JOHN LENNON ON THE DENNIS ELSAS SHOW

John Lennon: Surprise, surprise! It’s Dr. Winston O’Boogie at your service! I am Dennis’s surprise, actually.

Dennis: And he didn’t come out of a cake or anything like that. John Lennon is with us and will spend some time this afternoon to talk about the new album and a whole bunch of things… and maybe even do some disc jockeying?

John: Yeah, yeah, it’s my second-favorite occupation.

Dennis: We’ll get into some good music.

John: I’d like to play you ‘Whatever Gets You Thru The Night’, from me new album, it’s the single and Elton John’s singing with me.

 

 

John: Ah, hello, folks. That was them singing together. And, uh, are we going to the news, or are we going to drop the news?

Dennis: No, I think we’ll listen to news later on today.

John: OK, we know what happened, don’t we?

Dennis: That’s the single?

John: Yeah, and it’s wild and rough. I call it ‘Crippled Inside,’ you know? It’s like releasing ‘Crippled Inside’ from the Imagine album instead of ‘Imagine.’ But I took a consensus of opinion because after I’d done it, I just couldn’t make head or tail which one could be commercial, you know, so they told me that one. So here we go, and it seems to be doing all right.

Dennis: Was that done… was the whole album done in New York?

John: Yeah, Record Plant. In fact, I’ve recorded everything since I’ve left England in Record Plant. Anybody listening from Record Plant? They’re a good gang there. And Al… what is it?

May Pang: Carmine.

John: Carmine—I keep calling Al ‘Carmine’—is just mixing it down to quad ’cause I couldn’t face it again. I just arrived in L.A., and I got a note saying, ‘We want it quad.’

Dennis: Aha.

John: I said, ‘Are you kidding? I just mixed the whole thing — you should have told me that first.’ But he’s doing a good job… for the twenty people who buy quad.

Dennis: Well, you never… the cover is… for those of you who haven’t had the chance to see it yet in your favorite record store—

John: ’Cause it ain’t out yet! It’s this week, actually.

Dennis: It’s not in the stores yet?

John: I don’t know if… well…

May: It is.

John: Richard (Ross, owner of Home Restaurant), a friend of mine here, went down to get it the other day and they hadn’t got it yet. I guess it will be early next week. It’ll be in the shops.

Walls-and-Bridges-original-album-cover-min
Walls-and-Bridges-album-cover-animated
walls-and-bridges-Lennon-album-cover-back-min

Artwork for the 'Walls And Bridges' album cover

Dennis: All right. Now, there’s a drawing on the front…

John: You could call it that, yeah. It’s…

Dennis: Uh…

John: Well, it’s hard to explain, isn’t it? ’Cause it’s all flapped over. A guy at Capitol designed it. It’s a nice design.

Dennis: The album comes in two parts.

John: Yeah.

Dennis: Is this a drawing? It says, JOHN LENNON JUNE ’52, AGE 11.

John: Yeah, that’s true. There’s an exam they have in England that they hang over your head, you know. There’s a couple of them. But one of them is called ‘Eleven Plus’. And they hang it over you from age five, you know. If you don’t pass the Eleven Plus, which you take at eleven, obviously, then you’re finished in life. So that was the only exam I ever passed, because I was terrified.

And after that exam’s over, the teacher says you can do whatever you want, so I just painted. And of all the childhood sort of drawings and paintings I did, these were the only ones that ever got saved. And I was originally going to use them for the oldies-but-goldies album with Spector, but that sort of fell apart in the middle because of his [car] accident. And that and the guy’d already started the design, so I said, ‘Oh, they’ll fit the new album anyway, so use them.’ And there’s three or four pictures that I did at that age.

Dennis: And Walls and Bridges… what is that? Is that a prophetic title?

John: I don’t really know. I mean, I get these things that sound nice, you know. I had the song ‘#9 Dream,’ was called ‘Walls and Bridges,’ and I just had the title ‘Walls and Bridges,’ and I tried to fit it in anywhere like a jigsaw. So it didn’t seem to fit any of the songs, and I hadn’t written anything, so I just shoved it on as the album title. It seemed to be sort of wide enough to cover everything. It’s like communication, y’know, walls…

Dennis: Right.

John: Four walls, bridges you go over. I think I heard it on a public-service announcement. On TV—one of those late-night things where they make you feel awful. In between the movies, you know.

Dennis: ‘#9 Dream’ was ‘Walls and Bridges’?

John: Was called ‘Walls and Bridges.’ I mean, some of them have had twenty titles. I change them all the time up to the last minute.

Dennis: All right. Well, let’s take a listen.

John: OK.

Dennis: ‘Number nine’ [in the song title ‘#9 Dream’] has no reference back to the old ‘Number nine, number nine’ [in the Beatles’ ‘Revolution 9’]?

John: Well, yeah, if you look at the cover, and those of you who don’t have it will get it. In June 1952 I’ve drawn four guys playing football, and number nine is the number on the guy’s back, and now that was pure coincidence. And I was born on the ninth of October and that ‘Number nine, number nine’ Beatle thing was an engineer’s voice, you know. And, it just sorta seems to be my number, so I stick with it.

Dennis: All right. It’s just about four o’clock, and so I need an official station break.

John: OK. This is John Lennon with Dennis on WNEW-FM, and we’re mucking about on a Saturday rainy afternoon ’cause we’ve got you all trapped in your rooms, you see, because it’s too wet to go anywhere.

Dennis: We even have the four o’clock temperature readings.

John: We do? Oh, let’s see how hot it is. Temperature is 68—no wonder I’m sweating. Humidity 93 p-c-t, whatever that is.

Dennis: Percent.

John: Oh. Why don’t they do those little round things? Barometer 30.03 and falling. Oh, disgusting. Winds southeast at 8 miles an hour. Cloudy. And, somebody said the air was unacceptable today, but I accept it. Sounded all right to me.

Dennis: That’s the official forecast.

John: Here’s the official WNEW weather forecast: mostly cloudy with periods of rain this afternoon, tonight, and tomorrow. High times… oh, no! Ha ha, wish it was! High this afternoon and tomorrow in the seventies. Low tonight in the mid-sixties. Watch out for it. That’s about my period. Monday’s outlook: fair and cool, man.

Dennis: OK, Metromedia stereo at WNEW-FM in New York. John Lennon.

 

 

John: Ah, so there we are. That was some, uh, Gaelic words. Böwakawa poussé.

Dennis: I’m trying to follow the lyrics in here. There’s a lyric sheet, thank goodness, for the album.

John: Well, I print them even if I’m not pleased with them, you know, ’cause I always tend to, on a few tracks, bury the voice.

Dennis: There are drawings within the lyric book, too. Are those also from…

John: Yes, same period. There’s about one that isn’t. There’s a picture of a horse, I think, I did about a year or something later, which is at the end. What they did was sort of jumble them up on the cover and then repeat some of them back inside.

Dennis: It’s nice… I mean the package is really nice.

John: Well, it’s the first time since I was a Beatle, as it were, that I let the package out of my hands. I used to even make the cover on like Mind Games. I handmade it, you know. I cut out little pictures. I enjoyed it. But I didn’t really have time, you know.

Dennis: Yeah, and…

John: So… and I’m glad because I let it go, and the guy came up with something creative, and it’s a surprise for me now. I can look at it and enjoy it without sort of discussing, thinking, Oh, I should have done this, I should have done that.

Dennis: You have all kinds of friends [on the album]—Jim Keltner, Jesse Ed Davis…

John: Yeah, Klaus Voormann, bass; Nicky Hopkins, piano; Ken Ascher, keyboards; Arthur Jenkins, percussion; Bobby Keys; Howard Johnson; Eddie Mottau on rhythm guitar; Bobby Keys and Howard Johnson on horns; Steve Madaio; and somebody called Frank [Vicari]; and somebody else… I’m not quite… May?

Pang: Ron [Aprea].

John: Ron. I had a five-piece horn section, which was weird. It was just the amount of people that turned up, you know.

Dennis: All right, well, we’ll be spending the rest of the afternoon with John Lennon in Metromedia stereo. Some commercials and more talk and music. Dennis Elsas here at WNEW-FM. Here we go.

[Station commercials air]

John: Don’t miss the Mahavishnu Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall, Wednesday, October the second. The newest album is available at all Alexander record departments at $4.19. Not a bad price at all.

Dennis: Did you hear—

John: It’s nice to hear [Beatles producer] George Martin’s cooking, right? [Martin produced Mahavishu Orchestra’s Apocalypse. —Ed.]

Dennis: When was the last time you did work with him?

John: Uh, Abbey Road.

Dennis: Have you seen him? Do you—

John: I saw him in California, in the Beverly Hills Hotel…

Dennis: Ah…

John: In the bar. I went to see him, you know, and we got a little tiddly and had a little, you know—

Dennis: He’s working now?

John: —an old-time discussion.

Dennis: With the America album, the new one. [Martin, who had produced America’s recently issued Holiday, was now working on its Hearts album, which would be released in 1975. —Ed.]

John: He’s working on that, too?

Dennis: Yeah.

John: I don’t know what he’s working on. The last thing he was doing, he was talking of selling or had sold AIR [Studios in] London, which is his recording setup in England, and buying a boat and putting it all on it. And having a—

Dennis: A recording—

John: Yacht, yeah. I said, ‘Can’t wait,’ you know, ‘Call me when you’ve got it,’ you know! If they can balance the tapes and not make it all fall in the water, it would be great.

Dennis: John has brought along a couple of records that he thought all of us might be interested to hear. You know, more often than not we do things on the air where we show you that one riff may have been borrowed from another record, an older record. Maybe you could explain this one a bit.

John: Well, yeah, I brought four singles. This is one of them, oldies-but-goldies, as it were. This is an early ’60s record by Bobby Parker called ‘Watch Your Step,’ which I call ‘Son of ‘What’d I Say.’’ I mean, there was the great record ‘What’d I Say’ by Ray Charles, which is the first electric piano I ever heard on tape because nobody could work out what it was on record. And then, shortly after, maybe it could have been a year, because it all blends in, but this was the next move after ‘What’d I Say,’ which is ‘Watch Your Step.’ The lick you’ll recognize, ’cause I’ve used it, or the Beatles have used it, sort of in various forms. Recently, I heard it this last year. The Allman Brothers used the licks straight as it was for some song, which is cool, you know. And here it is. It’s one of my favorite records.

 

 

 

John: Number one, never was… Ha, ha, we’re on, are we?

Dennis: [Laughs.] Yeah, you know, I was mentioning to you off the air that the Yesterday and Today album, I always take the cover and I try and peel back…

John: Peel it to look for the dead babies bit, yeah.

Dennis: How did that happen that that album cover never saw the light of day or, if it did, got pulled off fairly quickly?

John: It went out… we took the pictures in London at one of those photo sessions. By then we were really sort of beginning to hate it. A photo session was a big ordeal, and you had to try and look normal, and you didn’t feel it. And the photographer was a bit of a surrealist, you know? And he brought along all these babies and pieces of meat and doctors’ coats, so we really got into it, and that’s how we felt, eurgh! So we sort of—I especially—pushed for it to be an album cover, just to break the image, you know?

Dennis: Um-hmm.

John: And it got out in America, and they printed… about sixty thousand got out, and then there was some kind of fuss, as usual, and they were all sent back in, or withdrawn. And they stuck that awful-looking picture which you have in front of you, of us sitting, looking just as deadbeat, but supposed-to-be-happy-go-lucky foursome.

Dennis: You look very unhappy!

John: Yeah! Right, right! So we tried to, you know, do something different.

Dennis: Album covers were much simpler then, right? Just the cover?

John: Yeah, you just walk in, take your photo, and walk out, you know? Especially in America, we made only, say, ten albums actually, in America there seem to be thirty of them. And so we would design a cover or have control of it, more of our own covers in England; but America always had more albums, so they always needed another picture, another cover.

Dennis: We used to be very upset because England would have fourteen tracks per album…

John: Yeah.

Dennis: And then we’d only get twelve.

John: Well, we used to say why can’t they put fourteen out in America, you know, and stop them, because we would sequence the albums how we thought they should sound, and we put a lot of work into the sequencing, too. And we almost got to not care what happened in America, because it was always different. They wouldn’t let us put fourteen out. They said that there was some rule or something that would—

Dennis: Greed. Greed, I think, is the word.

John: Well, whatever it was, you know… and so we almost didn’t care what happened to the albums in America until we started coming over more and noticing like on the eight tracks they have outtakes and mumbling on the beginning, which is interesting now, but it used to drive us crackers because we’d make an album, and then they’d keep two from every album.

Dennis: There was also an album out on the Vee-Jay label. Whoever was dealing the contracts at that time before Capitol had Meet the Beatles.

John: Yeah.

Dennis: And then at the same time Introducing the Beatles came out in America on something that’s called the Vee-Jay label, which doesn’t exist anymore, though the album’s still—

John: They had ‘Love Me Do.’ I don’t remember what else they had.

Dennis: Well, it was rereleased later. Capitol got the rights and then called it The Early Beatles.

John: I only remember ‘Love Me Do.’ I think that was a Vee-Jay record.

Dennis: We have also in front of us here The Beatles’ Second Album.

John: That’s what it’s called, yeah; I don’t know what it is.

Dennis: ‘Electrifying, big-beat performances [Lennon laughs] by England’s Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, featuring ‘She Loves You’ and ‘Roll Over Beethoven.’’

John: And ‘Roll Over Beethoven.’

Dennis: You know, many of these things have been remixed to stereo.

John: Oh, it was awful.

Dennis: I think the original monaural recordings are—

John: I didn’t realize it happened, when they put out that package last year.

Dennis: The Blue and Red? [A reference to the 1973 anthologies titled 1962–1966 and 1967–1970. —Ed.]

John: The two albums, and I just thought, I presumed, that they would just copy ’em from the masters and put them out. I didn’t even listen to it until after it was out, and I took it back, and I played it, and it was embarrassing, you know. I mean, some of the tracks survived, but it was really embarrassing. Some fool had tried to make it stereo, and it didn’t work.

Dennis: Yeah, people should stay with the mono and not be so concerned…

John: Yeah, because, you know, there’s a difference between stereo and mono, obviously. And if you mix something in mono and then try and fake it…

Dennis: Yeah.

John: It just… you lose the guts of it, you know. And a lot of them lost, lost the… the fast version of ‘Revolution [1]’ was destroyed, you know. I mean, it was a heavy record, and then they made it into a piece of ice cream. [Elsas laughs.] But never mind. It’s all the past, isn’t it?

Dennis: Well-chosen words. We’re at WNEW-FM, Dennis Elsas with John Lennon, our guest this afternoon, and from The Beatles’ Second Album, you said that there would be something to listen to carefully in the middle of this song.

John: Oh, when you presented the album to me, I noticed ‘I Call Your Name,’ which was a song I wrote when I was about sixteen except for the middle eight, which we did ska. Now it’s called reggae, or it was blue beat. It was a bit like rock ’n’ roll there. Reggae went through different periods; it was blue beat, then it was ska, then it became reggae. And this is our first attempt at sort of Jamaican, and it’s in the middle eight.

 

 

Dennis: The Beatles and ‘I Call Your Name’ at WNEW-FM.

[Commercial for Joffrey Ballet airs.]

John: Ah, yeah, the Joffrey will be at City Center from October the ninth—happy birthday, John—through November the third. The box office on Fifty-Fifth Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenue, opens every day at 10 AM. Reserve tickets on a major credit card by calling 489-6810. Don’t miss it.

Dennis: Hmm…

John: Yeah, my auntie used to like ballet, but she didn’t like the men’s crotch. She said, ‘It’s all right except for those terrible crotches!’ [Elsas laughs.]

We’re going to play Electric Light Orchestra, from last year. ‘Showdown,’ which I thought was a great record, and I was expecting it to be number one, but I don’t think UA [United Artists] got their fingers out and pushed it. And it’s a nice group. I call them Son of Beatles, although they’re doing things that we never did, obviously. But I remember the statement they made when they first formed was to carry on from where the Beatles left off with ‘[I Am the] Walrus,’ and they certainly did.

Now, for those people who like to know where licks and things come from, which I do, because I’m always nicking little things myself, this is a beautiful combination of ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’ by Marvin Gaye and ‘Lightnin’ Strikes Again’… Lou Christie, and it’s a beautiful job with a little ‘Walrus’ underneath.

 

 

 

John: Ah, we’re having a break here. It’s John Lennon and Dennis Schulnetz [sic] on WNEW Metromedia stereo, if you’ve got the equipment. Otherwise, it’s on your cable TV. [Elsas laughs.] Which is just as good, I always find myself. We’re just looking through to see what else to play. Oh, we’ve got something lined up here, right.

Dennis: Yeah. First we’ve got to do some commercials.

John: Oh, we’ve got to do some… oh, I love commercials.

Dennis: Now, the official… you know, you have to tell us what we…

John: Oh, the official… oh, that was ‘Showdown,’ Electric Light Orchestra. That was the one before that one. And ‘Grapevine’ was one of the parts of inspiration for it by Marvin Gaye. ELO was on UA and Marvin Gaye was on his own.

Dennis: You’ve been producing.

John: Oh, yes, I’ve been producing all sorts.

Dennis: I mean, there’s your own album, the new one, Walls and Bridges. And then there’s this one, this odd album. [A reference to Harry Nilsson’s Pussy Cats album, which Lennon produced. —Ed.]

John: This odd album by John Lennon and Harry Nilsson having a fit in L.A., yes. Well, I was in the middle of the [Phil] Spector album, which is… some of you will know what it is. I was making an oldies-but-goldies album with Spector, and he had a few car accidents and was… that was the end of that for a bit.

Dennis: Will it happen? That record?

John: I have nine tracks which Phil sent me three days before I went into the studio to make Walls and Bridges—out soon!—and so I couldn’t do… I was waiting and waiting for months, and I was just sort of hanging around with Harry Nilsson and people in L.A. and getting into trouble and, whenever we got into trouble, it was my name in the paper, so I thought, forget this.

You know, every time we go out for the night, I end up in the paper. [Elsas laughs.]

So, you know, I said to Harry one hangover morning, ‘What are we doing, man? We’re wasting our time here. We might as well put all this energy into work.’ And I knew he was going to make an album. I didn’t feel like starting a new one because I had one half finished, so I said, ‘Look, I’ll produce you,’ which means I’ll sit behind the desk and make sure they get the drums on, you know, and things like that. And keep ’em together as they take off.

And we had a good time making it. We had a lot of friends in there playing. I won’t go through the list again; half of them are on my album, half of ’em are on Ringo’s. You know, the usual crew with a few added extras, like Keith Moon. Some tracks are beautiful, some tracks are a bit weird, but, uh, Harry Nilsson and John Lennon together is a pretty weird combination.

Dennis: Why the goldies?

John: ’Cause Harry… I don’t know. He wanted to do certain tracks, you know, like he wanted to do ‘Loop de Loop.’ He wanted to do ‘Rock Around the Clock’ because he thought it would be good fun, and he said nobody’s ever covered ‘Rock Around the Clock.’ We open Billboard and there it is, ‘108,’ by Bill Haley, you know, while we’re doing it. [Elsas laughs.] [Haley’s 1955 hit reentered the charts in 1974, reaching number thirty-nine in May, thanks to its use as the original theme song of the TV show Happy Days. —Ed.] We’re doing ‘Save the Last Dance for Me,’ which he played me a tape of some of his songs he’d written, which wasn’t many, and also just a sort of demo tape of him singing ‘Save the Last Dance for Me.’ And it was really beautiful, and it was like we did it on the album, only because we orchestrated it and put a lot of other stuff on it. And it was just very nice the way he did it, and we were very excited doing it. And we liked the record, and then we looked in the charts and there was, uh, DeFranco—

Dennis: DeFranco Family. [That group had a Top Twenty hit with ‘Save the Last Dance for Me’ in May 1974. —Ed.]

John: —Family, but it was not quite the same style. But, so everything, as we were cutting it… we’d look and somebody would come in and say, ‘But someone’s just done that.’ So we thought, Hell, we’re doing them anyway. We enjoyed it, and some he picked and some I picked. But mainly they were his choice, and this is ‘Save the Last Dance,’ which we both rather like. I hope you like it, too.

 

 

John: Great chamber echo they have down in… what was that studio in… Burbank Studios, Los Angeles, giant place. I’d better take this cookie out of me mouth.

Dennis: [Laughs.] All right.

John: The weather is still weather.

Dennis: Yeah, oh, here’s the new weather, John.

John: Oh, boy! More weather!

Dennis: But there’s no temperature reading, so we’ll fake it.

John: Occasional periods of, oh, this is the weather, folks. Occasional periods of rain tonight and tomorrow, ending tomorrow night. Low tonight in the sixties, high tomorrow in the seventies, cooler tomorrow night with a low in the fifties. Oh, talking of the ’50s, we’ve just been there. Monday’s outlook: sunny, windy, and cool. Oh, remember that old joke? Tomorrow will be sunny followed by munny, tunny, wenny, thunny, and Friday? Tomorrow will be muggy followed by tuggy, weggy, thurggy. Tomorrow will be just the same as today, only different.

Dennis: I’ve got a new album here from George—

John: Splinter. [Splinter was a two-man vocal group recorded by George Harrison. —Ed.]

Dennis: The new label, George’s Dark Horse.

John: Dark Horse, yeah! It’s a nice-looking label, right?

Dennis: What… do you see them? Do you see the three of them?

John: I’ve seen Paul and George, Paul and Ringo, a lot this year because they’ve been over here. Paul was here about a month ago, and I spent a couple of Beaujolais evenings with him reminiscing about when we were only thirty-eight. And Ringo I’ve seen a lot of, ’cause he’s been over here recording. I was just down… in the middle of my album, I just took a break and went down and did a track I’d written for Ringo on his new album. And then I went to Caribou and sang ‘Lucy in the Sky’ with Elton John and then came back and finished my album off. So… and Paul and Ringo, yeah. George I haven’t seen, but he’s coming over in October to rehearse. So I’ll go and see him then.

Dennis: Relationships are cordial?

John: Oh, very warm, warm! Very warm, my dear!

Dennis: All right.

John: ‘Are they getting together?’

Dennis: Yes! Are they getting together?

John: Well, we’d have to be on Dark Horse label the way things are going! We never talk about it because the four of us have never gotten into a room together, because of green cards and immigration and all that jazz. George and Paul have a little trouble getting in and out of this country, too. And so the four of us have never sat in a room together for three years, although we’ve managed to get three together in one room. That was Paul, Ringo, and me. That was sometime in the summer, in the middle of Harry’s album, actually.

And so there’s always, I… if you say no, it’s a negative—they all hate each other. If you say yes, it’s Rollin’ [Stone] Crawdaddy Creem says they’re getting together,’ you know, or ‘Harry’s bringing them together’ or something. There’s always a chance we’d work together because, you know, if we see each other, we tend to fall into that kind of mood. But I can’t see us touring or anything like that. We’ve never discussed it. I can see us making records. You know, why not? But that touring bit, I don’t quite fancy that meself.

Dennis: There’s no definitive plans for an album, though.

John: No, no, no, no. We’re more liable to be inclined to work together in ’76 when the contract comes up. I mean, to be very commercial about it… we’d be stupid to give away anything new at the rate we get paid now.

We’re going to play some Splinter, which is a group George has just produced. I haven’t heard the album; I’ve just heard a bit on your radio station the other day on cable TV, actually, and the singer, Bill Elliott, I used on a sort of… not a charity record but a record that I made for an underground paper in England called Oz, and they were having a lot of hassles in court, and Bill Elliott was one of the singers. He sang something, whatever… ‘God Save Oz.‘ And here’s the first track from side one on the Splinter album, and we’ll see. It sounded like George on the radio last night.

 

John: Well, it was hours ago when we played these records, but we’ll tell you what was happening hours ago, ’cause if you’re like me, you wait and wait to hear what it was, you know. Why don’t they tell you what it is? A few hours ago… oh, it’s not this list up there; oh, it’s not that bad. ‘Gravy Train’ was that… the writing is amazing, Dennis. [Elsas laughs.] ‘Gravy Train’ by Splinter on Dark Horse, brackets A&M, which was George Harrison’s production of Splinter. Sounds pretty good, too.

‘I’m the Greatest’ we heard; you probably recognized that. Ringo, on Apple, [doing] the song I wrote for him and sang along with him. Should’ve been a single, I always said. They wouldn’t even give me the B-side. Next time I’ll get it! And then we went to Walls and Bridges, which happens to be my new album, and I’m Dr. Winston O’Boogie, otherwise known as John Lennon. And that was ‘What You Got.’ The guitar lick was inspired, should we say, by ‘Money, Money, Money’ [The song is actually called ‘For the Love of Money.’ —Ed.] by the O’Jays, was it? Yeah. Of course, you’d never recognize it now, and that’s on Apple or Capitol, and it’s available at all those record stores that I keep mentioning.

Dennis: We need… it’s just a minute past five o’clock, so we need an official… and you have to give the FM after the WNEW and you have to give the city.

John: The city?

Dennis: Right.

John: But we know what city we’re in.

Dennis: No, but in case someone from—

John: OK, and you do Metromedia before or after—

Dennis: Well, that’s not legal. You can just throw that in.

John: OK. This is, ah… I keep getting your last name lost in my head it’s… Schulitz?

Dennis: It’s— [Laughs.]

John: Dennis will do. OK, this is John Lennon with Dennis Schulitz on Metromedia radio on WNEW-FM, New York City. It also comes through on Sterling Cable Manhattan TV, on Channel N and Channel 3, and it’s very good, you know? They don’t even know it themselves. I’ve been talking to the people here, they don’t know it. Well, are we going to play this record now?

Dennis: No, we have to do commercials.

John: Oh, well, here’s a nice little commercial, and I’ll have a Whopper, if it’s a Whopper.

[Commercial airs for conductor Pierre Boulez’s recording of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.]

John: Pierre Boulez, folks, listen to this. Play cart, C1. Pierre Boulez’s album, The Rights of Spring, spelled r-i-g-h-t-s— ha ha, very subtle—is available at a special low price. No wonder, I tell meself. At all Korvettes stores for only $3.87. Or you can get my album instead, but that’s a matter of choice. [Elsas laughs.]

Tonight, at the Joint in the Woods—guess who’s there? It’s ladies’ night. They won’t like that. Women’s night. Featuring the exciting eight-piece, all-female group Isis or Is Is, depending where you come from. All females admitted at half price. Oh, good, well, Bowie can get in. [Elsas laughs.] Also, dancing party with Lock, Stock & Barrel. That probably is a group because it’s in inverted commas, coming next Wenday… Wednesday, October the second, to the Joint in the Woods. Nothing like a joint in the woods, he says, losing his green-card possibilities in one blow. [Elsas laughs.] T. Rex on Friday. Now, that’s a good band, now he’s getting—buy a couple of his records—he’s getting fat with worry. On Friday, October the fourth, Martha Reeves. She’s great. And Saturday, October the fifth, Buzzy Linhart. She’s great, too. [Elsas continues laughing.] For more information, call… get your little pencils ready! 201-335-98 naught, naught. Nine eight-hundred. Joint in the Woods… Parsippany.

Dennis: Yes! Well done!

John: Got it this time. Sounds like a group. New Joisey. Where the stars shine! All right. We’re not gonna bother with the weather, just look out of the window. You want the weather?

Dennis: It’s up to you.

John: The degrees have changed. Oh, this is a nice degree. The temperature’s 69. [Breathes heavily.] Get it? [Elsas laughs.] Yeah? The humidity is 90 percent. Number nine, that’s all right. The barometer thirty point naught one three—that’s another nine—inches and falling. Inches and falling? That sounds like a song. Wind southeast at 6. See, it’s all six and nines—very deep, man, very deep. The weather in Central Park is still there. And it’s cloudy. OK? That was UPI. We’re only giving you one version of the weather so that you don’t get confused.

Dennis: John Lennon is our guest.

John: Yes, he is.

Dennis: Or maybe it’s the other way around.

John: Well, depends which… no, I think I’m the guest because I’m sitting behind the thing, aren’t I?

Dennis: Yeah.

John: Although I do have the sweeties and the…

Dennis: But you brought the records along.

John: I brought four along, you know. I didn’t know how you’d take it. I nearly brought a hundred, but you know… I forget to play me own album, I’m so busy playing these others. This is…

Dennis: What is…

John: Another American record, that nobody I know over here seems to have ever heard of it. And it’s called ‘Some Other Guy,’ by Richie Barrett. There is a strange bootlegs of the Beatles singing it rather crappily from the Cavern somewhere, way back in ’61. This is another what I call ‘Son of ‘What’d I Say,’’ ‘Son of ‘Watch Your Step,’’ ‘Son of ‘Lick’ records’, and this is a guy called Richie Barrett, who’s also a songwriter. I think he’s still around, but I don’t know what he’s doing. This is ‘Some Other Guy.’ You’ll notice the intro is slightly like ‘Instant Karma.’

 

 

 

John: Every band in the world—are we on?—yes, every band in the world used to do that song. That was an album version. [It] wasn’t the original single, which as far as I know is the first electric piano on record that I ever heard. And ‘What’d I Say’ seemed to be the start of all the guitar-lick records, because none of us had electric pianos, so we all did it on guitar, to try and get that low sound. And before that, everything was mainly licks like you get on the Little Richard rock ’n’ roll records, like ‘Lucille’ licks where the sax section and the guitar played it. And ‘What’d I Say’ started a whole ball game, which is still going now. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that! Dennis Elsas, you see I got his last name from Roberta. Are you listening, Roberta? She’s making chocolate pudding, and I’m starving! [Elsas laughs.] All right!

Dennis: In 1963 and ’4 and ’5, when the Stones were the group that was coming up hard and strong behind the Beatles, were you all friends?

John: Yeah, we went to see them at… I believe the place was called Crawdaddy, in Richmond. And also, I think another place in London. And they were run by a different guy then, [music manager, songwriter, and producer] Giorgio Gomelsky, who also discovered, brackets, you know, quotes, the… what’s that group everybody goes for that Jeff Beck was in? Oh, what… I can’t remember the name. One of those mid-’60s English groups, anyway, which I never thought were much cop, except for Jeff Beck. Every one of those, everybody went through the…

Dennis: Yardbirds.

John: Yardbirds. That was it. Son of Stones. But they never really had a singer, you know, or a performer. And immediately we started hanging around London. The Stones were just up-and-coming in the clubs then, and we knew Giorgio through [Brian] Epstein, and we went down and saw them and became good friends. And the story on how… this song we’re gonna play, ‘I Wanna Be Your Man,’ which we virtually finished off in front of them because they needed a record… they’d put out ‘Come On’ by Chuck Berry, and they needed a quick follow-up.

And… we went down, we met Andrew Oldham, who used to work for us or used to work for Epstein, and he’d then gone with the Stones and probably got them off Giorgio Gomelsky, and he came to us and said, ‘Have you got a song for ’em?’ We said sure, you know, we thought, ’cause we didn’t really want it ourselves, which is one way of putting it. We went in, and I remember teaching it to them, you know. And the whole story of it, which helped my memory of it, ’cause it all fades away, is in that book on Mick, which Mick’s not keen on. I understand that—

Dennis: That’s the Tony Scaduto book [Mick Jagger: Everybody’s Lucifer, published August 1974]?

John: Yeah, yeah, but it’s all right for people who they’re not writing about, those books. You know, if it was about me, I wouldn’t like it probably, either. But I must say, I raced through it for all the juicy bits, like everybody else, right? [Elsas laughs.] And it’s very interesting. I don’t think it really harms him, you know? It shows that he knows what he’s doing, which is cool. I don’t think he did anything to Brian Jones, either. So here’s ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ by the Stones themselves.

 

 

 

Dennis: That’s the only one that the two groups [both] ever did.

John: Yeah. The only records we covered, I mean that we both did the same, yeah. They did it first; we did it with Ringo after. And that was it. That was the Stones’ second single. I don’t know what happened over here, but in England it was.

Dennis: You’re still in touch with them, and you speak with them?

John: Yeah, I see… I know Mick’s around now, haven’t seen him this trip, but last time I saw him was L.A. In fact, we were jamming together down in Record Plant West, and we made quite a good track. [‘Too Many Cooks,’ which has appeared on bootlegs. —Ed.] I was so-called producing it, meaning sitting behind the desk. And—

Dennis: Was there ever talk then, or is there talk now, of the groups getting together and doing something?

John: We never talked about it, because in the early days we just had our own careers to look after, and we used to… we hung around in two separate periods. One was when they were initially still playing in the clubs. I remember the first thing one of them ever… Brian Jones came over and said, ‘Are you playing a harmonica or a harp on ‘Love Me Do’?’ ’Cause he didn’t know how I got… he knew I got this bottom note and he suspected… I said a harmonica, you know, with a button, which wasn’t real funky blues, you know, if you’re supposed to be… you couldn’t get ‘Hey! Baby’ licks on a blues harp, when we were also doing ‘Hey! Baby’ by Bruce Channel at that time. [Elsas laughs.]

And then the later period was when we both were sort of riding high, and there was a discotheque scene in London, and the main club we all went to was the Ad Lib. There was a couple more, but they were never as big: Bag O’Nails, but we used to just go in there and dance and talk music, and generally get drunk and stoned and high. And one of the records we always played was in the Ad Lib itself, folks, with all of us sitting there, listening and dancing, looking super stoned, and the record was called ‘Daddy Rollin’ Stone’ by Derek Martin, which the Who later did a sort of version of, like the English usually do of these great records, not too good, that’s including us.

Dennis: This was an American record?

John: Oh, yeah. Another great American record. That’s all we ever played, American records. There’s no such thing as English records, those days. So, here’s ‘Daddy Rollin’ Stone,’ Derek Martin, on Sue Records. About ’63 probably.

 

 

John: I want a Whopper.

Dennis: Oh, yeah?

John: Ha ha, don’t you? I love them things.

Dennis: Derek—

John: I’m five pounds overweight, and I want a Whopper. Isn’t that—

Dennis: Derek Martin…

John: Yeah, Derek with a D-e-r-e-k. ‘Daddy Rollin’ Stone.’ Now you heard the real one for all you Who freaks.

Dennis: We’ve got just twenty-nine minutes left… [Lennon gasps] and about eight thousand questions. It went… our two hours or so have gone quickly.

John: About eight thousand records to play, too.

Dennis: Hmm. Is it easier to be John Lennon, celebrity, in New York? Are people less apt to hassle you and bother you with things? Can you go about your life? Can you have dinner in a restaurant?

John: Oh, yeah, yeah. Well, there’s no… that goes for L.A., Frisco, anywhere. I think people are a bit cooler in New York, hm, hm, hm. And I’ve been here three years, and people sort of will wave or something. Or a taxi driver will say, oh, you know, ‘Are you still here?’ Or whatever, ‘Good luck’ and all that jazz about immigration, hm, hm, hm.

Dennis: Can we, uh…

John: Yes, we can. [Laughs.]

Dennis: Yeah, what about all that?

John: And so anyway, I do get… one of me biggest kicks is just going out to eat or going to the movies, you know, and doing things I couldn’t do when I was in the middle of the Beatles stuff. And I really get off on that. And people occasionally ask for autographs or just want to shake hands is the coolest one when that happens, which is cool with me, and I’m just known enough to keep me ego floating but unknown enough to get around, which is nice.

Dennis: You like New York?

John: I love it, you know, and that’s why I’m fighting so much to stay here. So’s I can be in New York, you know, maybe they could just ban me from Ohio or something, you know? [Elsas laughs.] Nothing against Ohio!

Dennis: What’s the status? I mean, we saw photographs of you walking in and out of court buildings…

John: With my suit on.

Dennis: Yes. You looked very nice.

John: Oh, well, thank you! Yeah, well, every now and then, this is the way, as it appears to me, which is virtually like it appears to the public, ’cause I don’t follow it in detail unless the lawyer calls me—Leon Wildes, nice guy. Every now and then, I suddenly hear that I’ve got thirty days to get out of the country. Last time, I was on the way to Record Plant, I was in a taxi, and the radio was on, and I just heard it announced over the radio. So, being jocular, I said, ‘Drive me to the airport, Sam.’ [Elsas and Lennon laugh.]

And we were laughing about that, and apparently the lawyers hadn’t told me, because they didn’t want to depress me in the middle of the album, but I got it over the airwaves instead. And they say you’ve got thirty days to get out, and then my lawyer appeals it, and that gives me another six months or something like that, and it goes round and round in circles.

The last time I was in court was… I think the government had taken me to court for something or other, and our plea was, could we interview the prosecution counsel that had originally been the government’s prosecution counsel and the head of immigration? Could we have them on the stand, you know, to examine them or whatever? But we were not granted that, you know, so we’re not allowed to talk to their ex-lawyer, who’s a nice guy and a straight guy, and he’d probably tell us the truth, you know, so somebody doesn’t want us to interview them.

But I seem to be still here, and I don’t have any intentions of going. And I’d like to thank all the people that write to me. And ’cause I don’t usually answer, because I have no answer, you know, about how they can help. But one thing that does help, I think, A: the fact that you write to me is helpful, because it cheers me up when I think about it. And the other thing is, if you just write to your local senator or congressman, that keeps the thing in their minds, and it isn’t like, ‘Oh, he’s already gone, what happened?’ Because those senators and congressmen are a bit like advertisers: if they get a letter from one person, they reckon it represents fifty or a hundred, and it just reminds them when they’re sitting over their cigars somewhere and the case occasionally comes up. They might think, Oh, well, yeah, you know, my constituents wrote me a letter about that. So that’s about the only way you could help.

Dennis: Yeah, it was, you know, it was sad when Charlie Chaplin—

John: I know.

Dennis: —finally came back to America—

John: That’s what I don’t want to happen to me.

Dennis: After all those years, gosh.

John: I’d hate that, you know. They’d wheel me on at sixty and give me a plaque for ‘Yesterday’… [Elsas laughs.] And Paul wrote it, you know? I mean, I can just see it, you know? I don’t want that. I’d like to live here, you know. I don’t harm anybody. I’ve got a bit of a loud mouth—that’s about all. And I make a lot of music, and that’s what mainly I do. I’m making music, watching TV, or listening to the radio. And occasionally I get into a little spot of trouble, but nothing that’s going to bring the country to pieces.

Dennis: No, certainly not.

John: And I think there’s certainly room for an odd Lennon or two here.

Dennis: I agree, and I know everyone out there does, too. We’re sitting with the new album and this is a track called…

John: Oh, this is a track called ‘Scared,’ which means at the moment I was writing it that’s how I felt, but now I’m quite happy, thank you.

 

 

John: Oh, that was ‘Scared’!

Dennis: ‘Scared.’

John: ‘Scared,’ yeah.

Dennis: From Walls and Bridges.

John: Out soon or out now at all those record stores mentioned. Come on, [record retailer Sam] Goody, put it in the window now. [Elsas laughs.] And let’s not forgot Harry Nilsson’s Pussy Cats, hm, hm, hm, hm.

Dennis: Let’s hope so. Um, some commercials?

John: Yeah, why, you’re gonna put your own commercial on, aren’t you?

[Station commercial airs.]

Dennis: I think so.

John: It must be funny putting on your… well, it’s like me here plugging me own record, right?

Dennis: [Laughs.] Hold on.

John: Ah, are we on?

Dennis: Yes.

John: OK, all twenty-nine White Castles in the New York, New Joisey area are open twenty-four hours a day. Locations at Roosevelt Avenue and Sixty-Ninth Street, in Woodside Rockaway Boulevard and Ninety-Seventh Street, in Ozone Park, and at Northern Boulevard and Eighty-Eighth Street in Jackson Heights. And if you can’t make it today, you go to my friend Richard’s restaurant called Home on… uh, I’ve forgotten the name of the avenue, Richard. [Elsas laughs.] Ninety-First and Second, and they rock like hell in there, so they’re going to kill me, but what the hell.

Dennis: That’s a nice place.

John: It is a nice place, yeah, and they play good music.

Dennis: This is—

John: And thank you, [record retailer] King Karol, for putting Harry in the window! [Elsas laughs.] I’m getting them all in. Hello, Mother! Father! Auntie Joyce! [Elsas and Lennon laugh.]

Dennis: Um… it’s very odd for me to be sitting here, in a way. I guess it’s odd for you to be sitting here, too. I don’t know, because, you know, ten years ago, I was just a Beatle freak sitting there taping you off The Ed Sullivan Show…

John: Just a Beatle freak, oh!

Dennis: And buying the records and so on and so forth…

John: Now you get them for free.

Dennis: That’s true. [Lennon laughs.] And sitting here, and… does it make sense to you, to have been so important, and to be so important to so many people, and to have been a member of a group that changed hairstyles and clothing? And does all of that make any sense at all? Can you deal with that enormous—

John: Well, I have to deal with it ’cause I was in it, you know. When I look back on it, it’s sort of vaguely astounding, you know, the fact that I was in there. But when you’re in it—we always call it the eye of the hurricane, you know—it was calmer right in the middle than it was on the peripherals. And, uh, what was the rest of it you said, because you got me on to that Chuck Berry thing, right?

Dennis: Yeah, I was—

John: That’s what we were talking about before.

Dennis: Yeah, I wondered, you know, because I sit here now as a disc jockey playing the record and interviewing John Lennon as a guest on the program, but ten years ago—five years ago, three, four years ago—this would have been the most unlikely thing in the world to me, and I find it wonderful and ironic and very weird at the same time that it would happen this way.

John: Well, I guess I understand your point, because I was doing a radio thing on the phone with a radio station somewhere—I don’t know where, I can’t remember where it was—and the guy was talking the same way, you know. [He] said it was strange, ’cause he’d been sixteen in the middle of all of Beatlemania.

And there I was on the phone, mumbling, you know. And he put it well: he said it was like when he saw me on Mike Douglas Show, the way I was acting towards Chuck Berry. Because although I was there with Chuck Berry, and I’d been sitting backstage with him, I met him a few times over the years, I still have that feeling, that when I was sixteen, those were the records I listened to at what we called ‘milk bars’ in England, with a jukebox. And I could never quite see him as a human ’cause there was one of my idols, actually talking to me.

And I understood when I used to order, you know, a steak and something and the waiter just didn’t hear me because he was too busy looking at me saying, ‘It talks!’ you know, ‘It talks!’ So I understand it in a way, ’cause if I see any of those people from that period of my life when I was sixteen, I really don’t know quite if I’m all there when I’m talking to them, you know. It’s sort of an effort to see, ‘Oh, yeah, it’s a human, but it is Chuck Berry, isn’t it?’

Dennis: It’s very nice to know that it’s a human being. I mean it’s delightful to feel as comfortable as you’ve made me the last hour and a half.

John: Well, vice versa because this is your territory, not mine, you know?

Dennis: I’m glad you came up, too, because you know you’ve been in New York three, four years, and, uh, we’ve played the records, and it’s a delight to finally have you come down and say hi. And I do hope that you’ll come back again, too.

John: Well, you know, you can see I’m enjoying it. I wish I had brought more of me oldies, but I thought I wouldn’t want to flood all these young glitter kids with oldie records from the ’60s. But I really do enjoy it, and I always felt a bit more strange about doing radio in New York, because I began to feel as though it was my hometown. And it’s like almost putting on an act to go on the radio. I did a lot of TV in the early days I was here, but that was different. TV’s big, and it goes everywhere, and it really is a show in a way.

But I tend to feel as though I could do radio easier in, say, L.A. or Frisco, where it was like being in a foreign country almost. But here it feels, well, the people know me. They see me on the street; I’ve been in almost every cab in New York.

It’s strange to be sort of talking through a microphone to people. But I do enjoy it. And, as you know, I’ve told you that I listen to your station because they’ve always been good to me and my friends and the music and, as I’ve said before, it comes through the cable TV, and I’m a TV freak! So there you are, playing the stuff, and I thought, I always meant to come down.

But I always think, Well, what do you do? I’m John Lennon and I’m coming down to play records. You know, you feel such a fool. But here I am, and I talked to Elton John, who’s a good friend, and he does it, and I thought, He is the big one now, you know. There’s not many bigger than him at the moment. And he feels comfortable; he enjoys himself. He told me he had a good time, and he sort of almost turned me on to doing this kind of thing again. In the Beatle days, when you were a kid, Den.

Dennis: Ahem…

John: Well, we used to, we were so overawed by American radio, they had… Epstein, our manager, had to stop us. We phoned every radio station in town just saying, ‘Will you play the Ronettes doing this?’ I mean, we wanted to hear the music, we didn’t ask for our own records, we asked for other people—

Dennis: I know there was an historic afternoon which you spent in a hotel room with Scott Muni—

John: Yeah, yeah. Hello, Scott, if you’re listening.

Dennis: One of the few people to make that transition from being then one of the king of the Top Forty people and, uh, now runs this station. He’s the boss, and he’s on in the afternoon. And he, of course, was at that old station [WABC-AM in New York], the old call letters, but they took the B and made it [WA] ‘Beatle’ C. [Elsas is referring to the fact that during the 1960s, the DJs at WABC announced the station’s name as ‘WABeatleC.’ —Ed.]

John: Aha. Yeah, I remember those days. It was good, and I didn’t see Scott today because he wasn’t here, but maybe next time I come, I can sit around with Scott for a bit, you know. He’s a good lad. [Elsas laughs.] It’s nice to meet the ones that’ve been around, you know, ’cause it’s like we all went through it together. You asked me before about how did I assimilate it, and you know that bit about we changed everybody’s hairstyles? But something influenced us… whatever’s in the air to do it, you know, and pinpointing who did what first, you know, doesn’t really work.

We were part of whatever the ’60s was, and we were like the ones that were chosen to represent whatever was going on on the street. It was happening itself, you know. It could’ve been somebody else, but it wasn’t. It was us and the Stones and people like that. And here we all are, you know? And we all went through it together. And now we’re gonna play a track from Magical Mystery Tour, which is one of my favorite albums because it was so weird, and it’s ‘I Am the Walrus.’ It’s also one of my favorite tracks because I did it, of course! But also because it’s one of those that has enough little bitties going to keep you interested even a hundred years later. And this is for the ELO freaks.

 

 

John: Know what they’re saying at the end there?

Dennis: No.

John: ‘Everybody’s got one! Everybody’s got one!’

Dennis: What’s King Lear? There’s a bit of King Lear at the end of that, too.

John: Yeah, that was live radio coming from the BBC, though they never knew it. When I was mixing the record, I just had a radio in the room that was tuned to some BBC channel all the time, and we did about, I don’t know, half a dozen mixes, and I just used whatever was coming through at the time. I never knew it was King Lear till years later somebody told me, because I could hardly make out what he was saying. But I just sort of… it was interesting to mix the whole thing with a live radio coming through it. So that’s the secret of that one.

Dennis: That’s really interesting. I mean, I had no idea that that’s how it was done. Um, you’re talking about secrets. How much of ‘Revolution 9,’ John, from The White Album [The Beatles]…how much of that was accidental, if any?

John: Uh, well, it’s like an action painting. You don’t… ‘Revolution 9’ is the weird one, right?

Dennis: Mmm-hmm.

John: I had a lot of loops, tape loops, which is just a circle of tape… if people who don’t understand it… it repeats itself over and over. And about ten of them on different mono machines all spinning at once with pencils and things holding them. I had a basic track, which was the end of the ‘Revolution’ song where we’d gone on and on and on and on. And I just played it sort of live into another tape and just brought them in on faders like you do as a DJ and brought them in like that, and it was accidental in that way. I think I did it twice, maybe, and the second one was the take. And the ‘Number nine, number nine, number nine’ was an engineer’s voice, you know. They have test tapes to see that the tapes are all right.

And the voice was saying, ‘This is, uh, number nine megacycles,’ so he was talking like that, and I just liked the way he said ‘number nine,’ so I just made a loop of him saying ‘number nine’ and brought that in whenever I felt like it, and ninth of October, I’ll be 105, and nine seems to be my number, and it’s the highest number in the universe. After that, you go back to one.

Dennis: Yeah, we just were playing underneath, sneaking it up here, a little bit of ‘Beef Jerky.’

John: ‘Beef Joiky’! Yes, I like this one because I don’t sing, and I can stand listening to it without hearing me voice all the time.

Dennis: This is from the new album.

John: From the new album, Walls and Bridges, available somewhere and, uh, you can find it if you want it.

Dennis: All right. I just need an introduction to the six o’clock news, which is thirty seconds away.

John: Ah! In thirty seconds, you will hear the doomsday voice of the six o’clock news telling you what happened twenty-four hours ago because they never know exactly what’s going on at this minute.

Dennis: And I hope you’ll come back soon.

John: I’ll be back someday. Who knows when—only the Shadow knows!

Dennis: This is Dennis Elsas thanking John Lennon.

John: Thank you, Dennis.

 

  

Transcription edited by Jeff Burger for his book
Lennon on Lennon: Conversations with John Lennon
and refined October 2020 for johnlennon.com.

With very special thanks to Dennis Elsas.