I heard a John Lennon demo tape today on a classic rock station

Here in the bay area, on 98.5, there’s a DJ by the name of Greg Kihn, who can be alternately annoying and informative. He’s a musician himself, and likes to pepper his broadcast with name-dropping. He will also occasionally play rare bits and pieces he has collected, as well as live recordings he has made himself.

This morning, without explaining where he got it, he played a demo tape made in November of 1966, of John Lennon singing in his living room and accompanying himself on an acoustic guitar. The song was a new one he had just composed - Strawberry Fields. This was the tape he apparently played to Paul McCartney to get started on fleshing the song out.

I can’t describe how jaw-droppingly perfect this humble little recording was. It was virtually in the same form as was eventually produced for the public, only much simpler and spare. Sometimes it takes stripping a classic song down to its basic form to re-appreciate its genius. The ability to write a hauntingly beautiful melody seems to me to be the most mysterious art in the world - I can’t understand how someone can do it, the way I can basically understand how a painting is done or a book is written. And John Lennon had this art in spades, not that it’s news to anyone.

::still breathless::

That came from Anthology 2 after having been on numerous bootlegs for years.

Thanks, Mr. Blue Sky. I Amazoned that right away and now Anthology 2 is on my Amazon Wish List. All the other tracks look fascinating, too.

Then you’ll love “Because”. It’s just the vocal track with the music stripped away. The Beatles recorded a three-part harmony (John, Paul, & George) and then overdubbed it twice giving us a nine-part harmony.

Greg Kihn of “The Breakup Song” fame? Cool…glad to see he’s working. One of my earliest girlfriends (back in 6th grade or so) was the niece of his drummer.

The version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” on Anthology 3 may have a similar effect.

Question for the bootleg fans out there: I was informed awhile back that a vinyl Beatles boot of 16 or 17 different versions of “Strawberry Fields” was in circulation for awhile.

I frequent rare record shows (usually bootleg markets) on occasion and haven’t ever seen it for sale, so, does this rarity in fact exist?

Keith Berry, I have two such rarities in MP3 format, I guess you could call them pirate versions of bootleg albums.:wink:

One is called The Alternate Magical Mystery Tour, released by “Walrus” records. Side 2 includes about 14 different takes and mixes of “Strawberry Fields.”

The other is Strawberry Lane, released by “Silent Sea Productions.” The entire album consists of out-takes, sound samples, false starts and various mixes of “Strawberry Fields” and “Penny Lane” (mostly “Strawberry Fields” stuff). This one is a real gem which traces the development of “Fields” from John’s acoustic demo through the finished product.

Look for a book called Not For Sale. It gives an extensive list of Beatles bootlegs.