Unheard Lennon tapes set to fetch £70,000 at auction

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Two previously unheard recordings in which John Lennon tells stories, nursery rhymes and improvises songs for his young stepdaughter Kyoko are to be sold at auction.

The 80-minute tapes, recorded in 1969 and 1970, display for the first time the bond between Lennon and the daughter of Yoko Ono. They are expected to fetch as much as £70,000 at Christie's in London at the end of this month.

On one, Lennon can also be heard for the first time singing "Oh Yoko" from the 1971 hit album Imagine, retitled "Oh Kyoko" in honour of his stepdaughter, then six years old.

Lennon also joins Yoko for a brief romp through the 1966 chart-topper "Yellow Submarine" as well as improvising blues, folk and funk guitar riffs and accompanying Kyoko in an unlikely rendition of Frank Zappa's "Jelly Roll Gum Drop". The Beatle also reveals a previously undocumented talent for penning children's ditties, including a touching fragment addressed to his own son Julian.

The second tape features Lennon and Kyoko playing the acoustic guitars of Tony Cox, Yoko's ex-husband. Ono and Mr Cox can be heard making occasional interjections.

The tapes are made all the more poignant by the knowledge that soon after they were recorded John and Yoko were estranged from Kyoko while Mr Cox and the Lennons were embroiled in an increasingly bitter custody battle.

Tuesday's sale also includes another unheard tape, recorded by Lennon at home in 1966 as he develops the lyrics and melody for "She Said, She Said", from the Beatles' Revolver album, released later that year. It, too, is estimated to fetch £70,000.

The 25-minute tape – which Lennon gave to Tony Cox in Denmark in January 1970 – ends with Lennon listening to a playback of his work to date and complaining: "God, I just don't know what I'm doing. I'll have to give up."

A rare seven-inch acetate, "Don't Worry Kyoko", on the Apple label, recorded by Yoko in Queen Charlotte's Hospital for her daughter in 1968, should realise up to £12,000.

At the same sale, a pewter tankard and a metal cigarette lighter that John Lennon gave to his Liverpool flatmate Rod Murray instead of rent money early in 1960 are expected to fetch up to £3,000.

The mementoes are being sold by Mr Murray, who shared the flat in Gambier Terrace with Lennon and "fifth Beatle" Stuart Sutcliffe while they were students at Liverpool College of Art.

Mr Murray said: "John never had any money when rent day came around so you took whatever was offered."

Comments