JOHN LENNON NOT-HEARD-IN-TWENTY-NINE-YEARS RADIO RECORDING
Four ten-inch reel-to-reel original broadcast tapes from Philadelphia radio station WFIL that record John Lennon's on-air time when he participated in the 'Helping Hand Marathon' fundraiser from Friday, May 16 to Sunday, May 18, 1975. Heard live only that week-end and only in Philadelphia twenty-nine years ago (and not accessible to anyone since), these recordings come from the personal possession of disc jockey 'Banana Joe' Montione who was the on-air host with Lennon during the whole three days. (Montione owns the intellectual property rights to this broadcast and they are being offered with the tapes.) Heard for approximately three hours (interspersed with songs, commercials and DJ banter), Lennon's voice now seems almost magical. At age thirty-four, he was in top form throughout the broadcast, making jokes, using funny accents, talking about the Beatles, discussing songs that influenced him and generally being witty, smart and sincere. Highlights from his three-day stint include:
FRIDAY, MAY 16, 1975 - DAY ONE
- Lennon mentions that "someone gave me a picture of Paul, isn't that cosmic? I just talked to him yesterday, he's rehearsing a band in Rye."
- When told by 'Banana Joe' that a recent survey indicated that 98 of the public wanted the Beatles to get back together, Lennon says, "I'd like to meet the 2.."
- When asked by 'Banana Joe' about the Beatles getting back together, Lennon replies, "we see each other every few months...if we felt like making music, we'd do it in the studio...we've never really sat down to discuss that subject...I always talk about 'them' (the Beatles) as 'them.'"
- When learning that the radio station asked Yoko (who was four months pregnant with Sean at the time) to call John, he responds, "She surprised me by calling...you haven't got Paul and Ringo up your sleeve?"
- When asked why he wanted to live in the U.S. (Lennon was having difficulties getting his green card at the time), he wholeheartedly responded, "Because I love it...that's why I became a Beatle, because of American music." He also mentions his love of New York City in particular.
- Lennon reads pledges throughout; when one comes in from a former student challenging her old classmates from West Catholic Girls High School to donate, Lennon says, "All those West Catholic girls, get off your knees."
SATURDAY, MAY 17, 1975 - DAY TWO
- Lennon makes witticisms throughout like, "I need me green card!" and "Lift up your kilt and smile."
- Lennon calls himself "Dr. Winston O' Reggae."
- Lennon mentions that "Elton John is a good friend, a nice guy."
- When reading a pledge from a listener who gave $5 to thank Lennon for all he's done for mankind, Lennon responds, "Five dollars? Is that all we can get for mankind?"
- When 'Give Peace a Chance' is played, Lennon says, "Tommy Smothers, Timothy Leary...were there...and none of them can play!"
- When 'Yellow Submarine' is played, Lennon and 'Banana Joe' sing along to it. When hearing a particular part of the song, Lennon says, "That was Paul with a bag on his head."
- When 'Come Together' is played, Lennon says, "This one I can stand." - When "I Should Have Known Better" is played, Lennon plays 'Banana Joe's' harmonica (See Lot 179) live along with the now-famous harmonica intro of the song; afterwards, he says, "That's worth a few bucks."
- When asked about his use of a melotron, Lennon replies that he uses one frequently, most famously on 'Strawberry Fields' and that he still has it (the melotron) in his possession.
- Lennon reads the weather forecast and misspeaks saying, "May 17, 1985" (instead of 1975); sadly, a day he would never see.
- When asked by 'Banana Joe' why he wrote 'Imagine,' Lennon replies, "I was just dreaming of utopia...was writing it down in airplanes...it was no big struggle."
- When 'Love Train' by the O'Jays is played, Lennon sincerely calls it "one of the best records."
SUNDAY, MAY 18, 1975 - DAY THREE
- John explains in detail why he decided to do this particular fundraiser, noting that the money raised for this one "doesn't go to people in offices making $75,000 a year with gold rings on their fingers...it goes to the people...the people actually get the money."
- When someone requests that 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' be played, Lennon says, "We'll do it by Elton for a change."
- Lennon waxes nostalgic about Elvis Presley and says after he came out of the army, he was "a little different" then says to the audience, "Send some money for an old man's memories."
- When talking about 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,' Lennon says, "It just so happens I was on both versions (the Beatles' and Elton John's) and I don't regret one of them."
- When hearing 'Whole Lot of Shaking Going On' by Jerry Lee Lewis, Lennon nostalgically enthuses, "one of the all great records of all time...I wouldn't be here (as a famous musician) if it weren't for this! Anyone over twenty-five who remembers that record, send in a donation on behalf of John Winston Lennon who loves it so much!"
- Lennon's time on-air ends with him introducing the last song of the fundraiser, Elvis' 'Heartbreak Hotel,' and says definitively, "This is what did it" (influencing him and the Beatles to start a band).
Accompanying the tapes is an original flyer advertising the fundraiser which reads in part "featuring special guest star John Lennon (in person)," eleven original negatives of snapshots taken during the event (eight of which show Lennon with 'Banana Joe'), a signed headshot of 'Banana Joe' and a signed 45 record of the song 'Cakewalk to the Cup' performed by the disc jockey.
Also included is one other reel-to-reel tape of an interview 'Banana Joe' conducted with Paul McCartney after he and his then-band, Wings, performed in Philadelphia in 1976. Approximately twenty minutes long, Paul mentions that 'Band on the Run' is about his recent marijuana bust and he also addresses the issue of the Beatles getting back together: "No one really wants to close the door on it forever...obviously until it happens it's a definite no...but people keep asking about it...but everyone (John, George and Ringo) is still very friendly and cool." (5)