John Lennon (b. Liverpool 1940, d. New York 1980)
A John Lennon cassette recording with Yoko Ono, her daughter Kyoko and journalists. Recorded 5th January, 1970, at the New Experimental College, Skyum Bjerge, Denmark. Labeled on the A-side: “John. Lenon Skyrum Bjerge” and on the B-side: “Cocktail”. Cassette in case. Length c. 33 minutes. + 19 colour photos and ten b/w photos. (of these 2 colour doublets and five b/w doublets). Photos document the event, all but one (with Kyoko) are with Lennon. + School Magazine Siva Aciam(a)j (Jamaica Avis/Jamaica newspaper spelled backwards) with parts of the John Lennon interview.
The recording primarily consists of John Lennon speaking. Journalists ask questions and Lennon answers these at length occasionally joined by Ono. He speaks of the reason for being in Skyum Bjerge, how their art and music champions world peace and how everybody can contribute to world peace. There is talk about the length of his hair, and their micro-macro diet, how it was to perform with the Beatles and the importance of crashing the Beatle image. A student asks if they would consider recording Blues music to which Lennon replies that all they play is Blues. At one point someone suggests a dance around the Christmas tree whilst singing a Danish Christmas carol (Lennon partly tunes in although not knowing the lyrics). A student asks whether Lennon would play the guitar, and he plays “Radio Peace”, followed by “Give peace a chance”. The event concludes.
The recording took place in an intimate setting with around ten people. Among them was also the young student Karsten Højen, who recorded the interview, and Jesper Jungersen who photographed the event. The atmosphere was remarkably relaxed – probably because the interview took place after the official press conference. Photos show Lennon and Ono with Kyoko lounging on the couch with their feet resting on a coffee table.
Lennon and Ono were in Denmark for private reasons arriving in late December 1969. Anthony Cox, Ono’s ex-husband, had moved to rural north Jutland in Denmark bringing their five-year-old daughter Kyoko with him. The custody rights were still unresolved, and Ono and Lennon travelled to Denmark to discuss the future of Kyoko. They were in Denmark for c. a month, the first week incognito. When the press found out, an official press conference was organized. Due to severe weather conditions, a small group of journalists and four 16-year-old students on the quest of interviewing John Lennon for the school magazine turned up late for the press conference. Lennon and Ono agreed to talk to them anyway. An event that is preserved for posterity with this tape and photos.
In the c. 33-minute recording, several important topics that defined Lennon in that period are touched upon: The couple's Peace campaign, The Beatles and Lennon’s hair. As the Vietnam War raged, Lennon and Ono were fervent spokespeople for peace raising awareness with so-called bed-ins and peace songs. The interview in Denmark was no exception to this message, where they performed Radio Peace and Give Peace a Chance which allegedly is presented in a slightly different version in this interview. By December 1969 the Beatles had recorded their last album, Abbey Road, and even though it was not official, the group had by then parted ways. In the present recording, Lennon airs his frustration about the Beatle image. Also, the length and purpose of Lennon’s hair is explained revealing no plans of cutting it. But two weeks later a hairdresser was called to cut Lennon, Ono and Kyoko's hair. According to the hairdresser, Lennon wanted a Beatle haircut, but when he saw the result, he asked to be cut shorter, which caused quite a stir internationally.
The cassette is from the same period as the so-called “Denmark” tapes or “Cox tapes”.
Disclaimer: Bruun Rasmussen Kunstauktioner is not liable for any use or misuse of the copyrights to the songs that may adhere to the artistic and creative work in any commercial or private context.
Paintings, sculptures and a sound recording with John Lennon, 28 September 2021