Rare Beatles memorabilia, John Lennon interviews uncovered during pandemic cleaning spree

Pop Culture

John Lennon laughing, admitting to being “prejudiced” because he likes his Beatles songs the best and musing about whether he’ll be bald in 1984.

Three fascinating audio interviews, most of which have never been heard before, have people buzzing.

“Just reading the transcripts before we actually heard them was fascinating in itself,” said Paul Fairweather of Omega Auctions.

The company, which specializes in music memorabilia and vinyl records, will be auctioning off the recordings on Sept. 28.

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“When we actually heard them, it was amazing to hear John speaking because they’re such clear audio recordings that it feels that he’s actually sat in the room with you,” Fairweather said.

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The interviews from 1969 and in the early 1970s were done by the late Ken Zeilig, a journalist originally from Winnipeg.

“We always knew from him that he’d hung out with John Lennon and that he’d interviewed John Lennon. But we never heard the interview. He didn’t mention he’d spent time with Yoko Ono as well, which he clearly had,” said the journalist’s daughter Hannah Zeilig.


Ken Zeilig died in 1990, but his 12 reel-to-reel recordings of interviews with the Beatles were only discovered this past summer. (Submitted).


Submitted

In an interview with Global News, Hannah Zeilig described how her love for the Beatles was reignited as she sat in her home in the U.K. transcribing a portion of her father’s work.

Ken Zeilig died in 1990, but his 12 reel-to-reel recordings were only discovered this past summer. How the family came across them is a relatable tale.

“My sister, who lives in L.A., was clearing out her garage and she found a whole bunch of boxes,” Hannah Zeilig said.

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“She wasn’t looking for anything in particular. She was looking to do one of those pandemic clear-outs that we all did.”

The decision to sell the recordings didn’t come easily but the three Zeilig siblings hope someone will do something creative with the lot.

Omega Auctions estimates the recordings will sell for between 20,000 to 30,000 U.K. pounds.

It’s not always about the value, it’s about the history that is in those tapes,” said Fairweather.

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There is a market for such rare memorabilia according to Corus Radio broadcaster Alan Cross, the man behind the program The Ongoing History of New Music.

“One of the things about John Lennon was that he was always looking to give interviews to non-conventional people,” Cross said.

“I think he thought those people would get his message out better and (in) less edited fashion than say Rolling Stone or The New York Times so he might have been a lot more candid.”

The recordings were done on three separate occasions and run 91 minutes in total.

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One of Hannah Zeilig’s favourite parts is when Lennon talks about his creative process.

“I found that absolutely extraordinary and so insightful,” she said. “Like, forget all those self-help books. John Lennon, just, like, puts it really well.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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