The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

9 September 2004

Next: Ringo Starr's spice rack

In 1965, John Lennon bought a Swiss KB Discomatic portable jukebox and stuffed it with 45s; when he left his first wife — his first life, if you will — behind, the jukebox stayed with Cynthia, and wound up in storage at his old home in Weybridge. John Midwinter, a music promoter from Bristol, bought it at auction at Christie's in 1989 for something like £2500.

While the Beatles' singles, in England anyway, were all Lennon and/or McCartney compositions, their early albums contained about a dozen American R&B remakes, and it should surprise no one that the contents of John's jukebox proved to be largely Stateside recordings; only three — Donovan's "Turquoise," the Animals' cover of Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home to Me," and the Big Three's "Some Other Guy" — were recorded in the UK. And there's a typo in the list at #37; "Bad Boy" is actually the Larry Williams original, which the Beatles remade in 1965. (The Miracles did not issue a track by that title, but did cut a single called "Bad Girl.")

And why 41 tracks? The Discomatic held forty 45s; as it turns out, "I've Been Good to You" is the B-side of the Miracles' "What's So Good About Goodbye." Of course, this means that there were 80 songs involved. And I'm willing to bet that John actually paid more attention to "Hey Gyp," the B-side of "Turquoise," than he did to "Turquoise" itself; while the A-side is a wispy hippie dream from Donovan's "Colours" period, "Hey Gyp" is a goof on American R&B with lines like "I'll buy you a Cadillac if you just give me some of your love, girl," sufficiently insane to inspire Eric Burdon to cut a suitably-wack version with his New Animals.

Posted at 2:00 PM to Tongue and Groove

I saw the promo for the show last night, and was lookin' forward to seein' it. I thought it was an interestin' retrospect into the mind of John Lennon's musical roots.

Posted by: Tiger at 3:12 PM on 9 September 2004