Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The night I met John Lennon

Popular comedy writer, Ken Levine, wrote a great story on his extremely popular blog about the time in 1972 when he met John. It is a great story and really shows how John really had a sense of humor, even during what many think of as a "serious period" of his life. Since I hate posts without photos, I am posting a "new" found photo of John taken in 1972 at the Bank Street apartment.

It was the summer of ‘72. This is another radio story. I was an engineer at KABC/KLOS in Los Angeles. It was a Saturday night. Elliott Mintz hosted a weekend talk show on KABC. He was (and is) very close to Yoko Ono. I believe been her publicist for all these years.

On this particular Saturday night he had arranged for John and Yoko to be his guests. I knew nothing about it. But I happened to be on a break, and as I turned into the long hallway that ran the length of the station I spotted John and Yoko at the side door.

Holy shit! I couldn’t believe it.

So I barreled down the hallway to let them in. John was wearing a jean jacket and sported the familiar round wire glasses, hair parted down the middle. Yoko was wearing a giant black fur. I think it was August.

I let them in and said I’d escort them to the booth. I introduced myself and shook hands with both. John’s handshake was very limp. Yoko’s was very firm.

Like I said, this was a long hallway. What do you say to John Lennon? I didn’t want to just gush and be yet another tiresome groupie. And there was hardly time to engage him in a lengthy discussion.

There was, at the time, a NATIONAL LAMPOON comedy album that was quite popular. One of the cuts was a parody of John Lennon. In it, the Lennon impersonator keeps boasting, “I’m a fuckin’ genius! I’m a fuckin’ genius!”

So, throwing caution to the wind, I asked the great John Lennon, “So what’s it like being a fuckin’ genius?” I know. You’re horrified. What the hell was I thinking?

John smiled at me and said, “Pretty nice, actually!”

We shook hands again and he and Yoko disappeared into the studio. In addition to everything else, he really did have that sense of humor.

I still can’t believe he’s gone. And for so many years.

He was a fuckin’ genius.

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