He Said, He Said
("She Said, She Said"
home rehearsal sequence)

Life with the Lennons
by Peter Doggett©

Two hours of previously unheard John Lennon recordings have been unearthed, and will be auctioned in London next month, reports Peter Doggett. The tapes, which will be among the highlights of Christie's South Kensington's rock and pop memorabilia sale on 30th April, offer uniquely intimate glimpses of Lennon as both a songwriter and a family man.

The first tape, recorded by Lennon at home in early spring 1966, documents the creation of She Said, She Said, which was released on the Beatles' Revolver album later that year. Very brief fragments were aired in the US more than a decade ago on The Lost Lennon Tapes radio series. But the 25-minute sequence of home demos, assembled by Lennon himself as a guest of Yoko Ono's previous husband, Tony Cox, has never surfaced before.

She Said, She Said was famously inspired by a remark made to Lennon by actor Peter Fonda during a shared LSD trip in 1965. But the composer quickly moved beyond Fonda's claim, "I know what it's like to be dead", to examine his own bittersweet childhood in song for the first time. The Cox tape shows him experimenting with additional sections of the song which weren't included in the finished version, and weighing up unused lyrical ideas: "When I was a little boy, I never had no toy… and I might be green, I might be green."

Particularly fascinating is the way in which he gradually strips away the weakest elements of the lyric and melody, briefly taking the process so far that he loses the entire "when I was a boy" section. A song, which sounds like a maudlin dirge on its early run-throughs, is transformed by a change into a higher key, after which She Said, She Said takes on a much more recognisable form. The tape ends with Lennon listening to a playback of his work to date, while a voice suspiciously like Paul McCartney's chats in the background, and Lennon complains: "God, I just don't know what I'm doing. I'll have to give up. I'm going crazy with it!"

Lennon handed over the composing tape when he and Yoko stayed with Cox and his family in Denmark during early January 1970.



Lost Beatles tape to be auctioned by Christie's

A lost Beatles tape featuring John Lennon working on the song She Said, She Said is to be auctioned by Christie's.

The London auction house is planning a special sale of the 32-minute recording owned by American collector Chris Lopez.

The tape will go on sale on April 30 and has a reserve price of £152,000.

It features 20 rough versions of the song, written after a Hollywood party on the Beatles 1965 US tour, reports the Liverpool Echo.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon can be heard on the tape discussing the song.

Mr Lopez had apparently been in negotiations with Yoko Ono, Julian Lennon and EMI, the Beatle's record company, to sell the cassette until talks broke down.

Story filed: 15:23 Monday 25th February 2002