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Happy Birthday, John Lennon

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John Lennon’s birthday was today. As we’ve done several times over the years we’ve observed the occasion at Strawberry Fields, the memorial near the Dakota Apartments which are generally remembered for two things: Being used as the setting for the film Rosemary’s Baby, and as the home of John and Yoko from 1973 on. As this would have marked his 70th year, the crowds at the annual singalong tribute were tremendous. Maggie and I stood near the center of the action for about four hours. She took several pictures of the people we encountered there, some of whom we’ve come to know from prior events.

Between songs people would often call out suggestions for the next song they thought should be sung. Several times I heard this tiny voice behind me calling out “Revolution 9.” It was from an eight-year-old boy, which I found entertaining given his age and the fact that this song is about the least-accessible, and utterly un-singable track of The Beatles’ catalog. Who knew eight-year-olds had developed a sense of irony? He had, I learned, become exposed to The Beatles by way of a video game, which says a lot about how media consumption habits have changed since I was that age.

His gag got me thinking about the song, and about a bootleg recording I had recently heard that’s been making the rounds on the Web called “Revolution 1 (Take 20).” It’s a 10-minute track that bridges the musical gap between the slower version of the familiar hit “Revolution” that appeared on “The White Album” and the freakier “Revolution 9.”

This newly discovered version finally shows that the two Revolutions were, at least at one point, one. It is contained on a bootleg album called “Revolution: Take Your Knickers Off” that started circulating earlier this year. There is, between them a certain music logic, as you will hear in the track below. I have no idea why this track didn’t appear in final volume of the Anthology collection though perhaps its very existence was unknown at the time. The story goes that there were only two copies, one that left the studio with Lennon on the day he worked on it, and one remained in the studio. It’s not clear which one this is. Perhaps it could be packaged with that ultimate of Beatles rarities, “Carnival of Light.” So without further delay,  here’s “Revolution 1 (Take 20)” via “Never Get Out Of The Boat.”


01 Revolution 1 (Take 20) by NGOOTB

And here, courtesy of Wolfgang’s Vault, is a 1980 radio interview with Lennon, recorded as he was mixing “Double Fantasy.”

[Update: The interview clip was free at the time I wrote this post. It’s still available but not for free. You can find it here and there is a bootleg recording floating around.]

Finally, an audio curiosity I happen to have. This is taken from a John Lennon’s actual birthday party held in a Syracuse, New York hotel room on Oct. 9 1971. In attendance were:  Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr, Phil Spector, Eric Clapton, Klaus Voorman, Allen Ginsberg, Jim Keltner, Mal Evans and Neil Aspinall. It seemed appropriate to include here.

 

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Written by ahess247

October 9th, 2010 at 7:05 pm