Beatles recording sells at auction for £55,000 – ‘I’m happy and surprised’

The Beatles arrive at JFK airport in 1964

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One of the schoolboys who had interviewed the couple was at the auction, now aged 68, and is still inspired by the message of peace in the ‘lost’ song ‘Radio Peace’. Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers said the tape was made in early January 1970 during the couple’s winter visit to Thy in Northern Jutland, Denmark.

The four 16-year-old boys got the experience of a lifetime, after reading in the paper that the famous couple were in town.

They managed to convince their principal at Skovgårdsskolen to let them miss class in favour of interviewing the star for their school magazine.

They borrowed recording equipment from the local radio retailer and the town’s haulier drove them to the one press conference the couple had agreed to do for the area.

Upon arrival they were greeted with a note on the door saying that the conference had moved 70km away, but adamant to get a few quotes they continued their journey through a blizzard and arrived just in time to see the press conference end.

Due to the severe weather a small handful of professional journalists had arrived alongside the boys, and together they were all granted a moment to go in and interview Mr Lennon and Ms Ono.

Listening to the tape recording, the boy’s relaxed manner is incredible, quickly building chemistry with the celebrities and they cover everything from hair length to generation gaps to peace visions.

At some point the small party even dances around the Christmas tree, with Mr Lennon and Ms Ono humming to Danish Christmas songs.

Then, Mr Lennon finds a guitar and begins singing ‘Give Peace a Chance’ followed by an unreleased song; ‘Radio Peace’.

The cassette was sold with several photographs of the interview taken by one of the boys, Jesper Jungersen, in which Mr Lennon and Ms Ono can be seen reclining on a sofa with their feet on the coffee table alongside Ms Ono’s daughter Kyoko.

Karsten Højen, one of the other lucky schoolboys, was present at the auction and the now 68-year-old is still preoccupied with the message of peace that Mr Lennon and Ms Ono presented, a message he wanted to pass on to a new owner.

Mr Højen commented: “I am happy and surprised by the great hammer price achieved for the cassette tape. The meeting with John Lennon and Yoko Ono has had a great impact on our personal lives because we considered them as sort of political prophets and symbols of peace.

“I hope that the new owner will enjoy listening to our conversation and be inspired in the same way as we were 50 years ago.

“The experience was of great importance to our lives, and back then we were not as preoccupied with the stars as youth is today. John Lennon and Yoko Ono saw us more as a kind of political prophets and symbols of peace. We shared a community of destiny with them in relation to music and progressive peace ideology. The two celebrities came to influence our generation and the entire hippie movement.”

The recording took place in quite an intimate setting, with only 10 people in the room, and Mr Lennon talks at length to answer each and every question the junior journalists presented.

Explaining how everybody can contribute to world peace, if the Beatles would ever consider recording Blues music and the couple’s micro-macro diet with the event ending after his rendition of ‘Give Peace a Chance’.

The couple managed to stay incognito a week after their arrival but soon the press found out and an official press conference was arranged, which the four boys arrived at, albeit late.

The 33 minute interview occurred shortly after the Beatles had recorded their last album Abbey Road as the group had parted ways.

Mr Lennon also airs his frustration of the Beatles’ image, revealing he had no intentions of cutting his hair, although two weeks later he went to a hairdresser regardless.

“This is the first time ever that an interview by John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono will come to our auction in Bredgade, and we expect a great interest in it,” said Alexandra Nilsson, assessment expert at the auction house where the cassette was sold, Bruun Rasmussen.

“For me personally, it has been surprisingly moving to hear his voice. It’s incredibly vibrant and doesn’t seem like it was recorded 50 years ago. Unfortunately, his message of world peace is still very topical, and one can only imagine that today he would spread the same positive message if he lived,” he added.


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