Lennon Tape Not Heard for 50 Years Hits Auction Block

Includes never-released 'Radio Peace,' performed during John and Yoko's 1970 Denmark visit
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2021 11:50 AM CDT
'Unheard' John Lennon Tape Sells for $58K
This photo made available on Sept. 15, 2021, shows John Lennon and Yoko Ono in Thy, Denmark, on Jan. 5, 1970.   (Jesper Jungersen via AP)

Think you've heard every John Lennon bootleg, remaster, and import? There's a new tape in the mix, unheard for more than 50 years, though you'll have to convince the person who just bought it for $58,300 at auction to play it. The 33-minute recording made in January 1970 features an interview with the Beatle and his second wife, Yoko Ono, by four Danish schoolboys, as well as a Lennon performance of "Give Peace a Chance" and one of a never-released song, per Euronews.

The AP reports that Lennon and Ono visited the town of Thy, Denmark, that year because Ono had a 5-year-old daughter living there with her ex-husband. During their stay, they were interviewed by local press, a group that included the four schoolboys, who'd skipped school to attend. On the recording, Lennon and Ono can be heard humming along to Danish Christmas songs, as well as talking about hair, before Lennon pulled out his guitar and started playing his anti-war tune "Give Peace a Chance," followed by "Radio Peace," which had been made as a theme song for a Netherlands radio station but never released.

"We were a bunch of 16-year-old hippies," Karsten Hoejen, who made the tape, tells the BBC, noting the teens were mostly drawn to the event due to Lennon and Ono's peace campaigns. The auction held by Bruun Rasmussen in Copenhagen featured the white cassette tape, marked with a misspelled "John Lenon" and kept in a safe deposit box for nearly 20 years; more than 20 accompanying photos; and a copy of the school publication in which the teens, now in their late 60s, published their interview with Lennon and Ono.

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It originally believed the lot would fetch between $31,000 and $47,000. "It was extraordinary that it went above the estimate," the auction house's Alexa Bruun Rasmussen tells the AP, noting only that the buyer was international and put in a bid over the phone. Hoejen says he and the other two surviving members of his reporting group haven't decided yet what to do with the money. (More John Lennon stories.)

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