The Beatles have been a part of my life as long as I can remember. As a seven year old child in the late 1970s I can recall playing over and over the Beatles Oldies But Goldies LP, the first compilation of their greatest hits up to 1966, while gazing for hours at the cover. The front was a colourful Yellow Submarine-esque drawing of a suitably attired male; the rear a photograph of The Beatles sitting in a room having a pot of tea.
By the mid-80s nothing else but The Beatles and Lennon mattered musically for me, with all contemporary music paling into insignificance. I began to delve deeper beyond the early hit singles, purchasing the LPs from second-hand record shops, reading all of the available biographies on the band and Lennon in particular, and scanning all of the TV listings for any Lennon/Beatle related programmes. My 2 favourite tracks in 1986 were You Can't Do That (the riff stayed in my head for ever!) and the laid-back, dreamy but slightly melancholy No 9 Dream. Even today many years later that opening intro still gets me the way it did the first time I heard it.
It was difficult being a Lennon fan in the 80s. Readily available information was at a premium. This was a time when the Anthology series was an on and off rumour in the 'Latest News' section of The Beatles Monthly. In todays readily available, easily accessible world of the internet and YouTube, the devoted and curious can access pretty much everything that has ever been wriiten or recorded about the Fab Four. They can access forums and websites and make contact with fans in every country of the world. It is, indeed, a medium that suits the universality of the appeal of The Beatles.
Against this backdrop, you can only imagine the excitement that the knowledge of the existence of The Lost Lennon tapes incited within me. As a teenager in the late 1980s I became aware, via The Beatles Monthly magazine which I bought religiously every month, of this new radio show available only to residents of the USA. I was convinced that the series, featuring one of Britain's most famous sons, would soon be broadcast in the UK. I waited, and waited....and waited. It never came. Small consolation was found in Imagine:The Movie in late 1988 but it was frustrating knowing there was so much out there for me to discover.
Finally, in a new millenium, I finally was able to listen to the shows - and they didn't disappoint.
The Lost Lennon Tapes ran on the Westwood One American Radio Network from 1988 to 1992. It consisted of 219 episodes, beginning with a three-hour premiere episode, followed by 218 one-hour episodes. The host was Elliot Mintz, a close friend of both John and Yoko. Each show is a mixture of archive interviews, and music from John's Beatle and solo years. Besides the familiar songs that were released as singles and on albums, there are many, then previously unheard, fascinating demos of songs that deserve to be heard.
Join me as I revisit The Lost Lennon Tapes, in series order. I know it will be an exciting journey, and am sure there will be much to discuss, so please do get involved. One is a lonely number !!