Tuesday, May 15, 2012

14 Tracks Per Side

John and Yoko's Mike Douglas Show tapings continued on January 18th and 20th, 1972, in Philadelphia. Each show had a controversial guest booked: radical Jerry Rubin on the first and Black Panther Bobby Seale on the second, and Rubin in particular chose to make several outrageous statements which couldn't have endeared John and Yoko to middle America. The highlight of both days was John's rendition of "Imagine" on the 20th, backed by Elephant's Memory:

January 23rd, 1972 was "Beatle marathon day" on WPLJ, with 17 continuous hours of Beatle music and programming. John and Yoko listened in during the afternoon, and were still tuned in when Howard Smith dropped by to tape an interview for airing at 10pm. The result was a unique opportunity to hear John react in real time to blasts from his past, recalling (and often misremembering) bits of trivia about each song for Yoko and Howard.

Among the recordings heard are Fan Club Christmas messages from 1963 and 1965, Eleanor Rigby, A Hard Day's Night, Back In The USSR, Rain, I'm A Loser, Maybe I'm Amazed, It Won't Be Long, Happiness Is A Warm Gun, She Loves You, I Should Have Known Better, Strawberry Fields Forever, Why Don't We Do It In The Road, All My Loving, A Day In The Life, Something, Tell Me Why, Magical Mystery Tour, Day Tripper, I Wanna Be Your Man, I'll Cry Instead, Hey Jude, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Bungalow Bill, and The Fool On The Hill.

Other topics included American vs. British television, the recent Mike Douglas tapings, Arthur Janov, and plans for a new album with Elephant's Memory, as well as their accumulating stockpile of live recordings.

New York Beatles fan Dave Morrell had phoned in to Howard Smith's "radio happening" with John and Yoko on June 6th, 1971; later that year he had picked up a copy of the bootleg Yellow Matter Custard. Curious as to the source of these mysterious recordings, he wrote to Smith, asking if he could perhaps put the question to John sometime.

To his astonishment, Smith called a few days later, saying John had read the letter and wanted to meet Morrell. So on December 7th, 1971, Howard and Dave dropped by the Record Plant, where sessions for David Peel's album were ongoing. Along with some other memorabilia, Dave brought a reel-to-reel copy of Yellow Matter Custard, which he presented to John. In exchange, John traded his personal copy of the "butcher cover" of Yesterday And Today (actually a blank cover with the butcher slick pasted on), which he promptly signed, dated, and adorned with a drawing!

Upon hearing the tracks, John deduced incorrectly that they must be the failed Decca audition tapes, and they were played as such when Morrell dropped by the studio later on the night of January 23rd.


  1. If this isn't a sort of "holy grail" I don't know what is!!! Downloading now, and THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  2. Finally listening to this.....it's unbelievable, I'm a New Yorker, and WPLJ (and all the stations) would periodically have Beatle days, Beatle weekends, Beatles A - Z weekends......and to think John was listening to it at the same time, wow!

    But here's what gets me angry! John is EFFERVESCENT! So proud!! It's obvious he hasn't thought about or heard these songs in years! (when "I'll Cry Instead" comes on, for instance! Awesome! "Dick Lester didn't like this one!" Ha!). Yoko is way into it! So now you finally got John Lennon IN THE MOOD to talk Beatles.....and Smith (who I do love these Howard Smith interviews, no offense Howard!) keeps dragging the conversation to the Paul/John feud, to when-are-you-going-to-get-back-together, to Janov, to what are you going to record next.......just shaddup and let John narrate the radio broadcast!!! He obviously keeps getting bummed out! (he keeps asking to change the subject!). Ugh! So frustrating! Finally we got John in a Beatle mood!

    Still, FANTASTIC recording, wow. The expression of how proud he is of George, with the Bangla Desh thing, would bring a tear to the eye of the most hardened criminal! Beautiful moment, someone should play this to Olivia and Dhani, it is so beautiful.

    Thank you, Beatle Swami!!!