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A costly casette

Unheard Lennon tape sells for nearly $60k at Danish auction

Artist recorded singing previously unknown ‘Radio Peace’ jingle as he met with Danish schoolboys in 1970

Beatle John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, hold a bed-in for peace in room 902, the presidential suite at the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam, on March 25, 1969. (AP Photo)
Beatle John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, hold a bed-in for peace in room 902, the presidential suite at the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam, on March 25, 1969. (AP Photo)

A 1970 tape of John Lennon singing a hitherto unheard jingle called “Radio Peace” and expressing frustration at his Beatles image to a group of Danish schoolboys sold for nearly 50,000 euros ($58,000) on Tuesday at an auction in Copenhagen.

The 33-minute tape was recorded on January 5, 1970, when the former Beatle spent winter in a remote corner of Jutland in western Denmark with his wife Yoko Ono.

The buyer, who remains unknown, made a telephone bid for 49,760 euros ($58,000) for the cassette, as well as accompanying Polaroid photographs of the schoolboys with Lennon and a copy of a school newspaper.

Back in 1970, four eager boys, writing for their high school newspaper, braved a snowstorm in the hope of interviewing their idol.

They clinched the interview. The topics ranged from the couple’s peace campaign, the Beatles, Lennon’s hair and his frustration with his image as part of the “Fab Four.”

Lennon and Ono were famous for staging lie-ins and singing songs of peace as the Vietnam War raged.

“We went into the living room and saw John and Yoko sitting on the sofa, it was fantastic. We sat down with them and were quite close to each other,” Karsten Hojen, one of the tape’s owners, told AFP.

“I was sitting next to Yoko Ono and John Lennon was sitting next to Yoko and we talked, we had a good time,” said Hojen, who is now 68.

“He stretched out his legs on the table with his woolen socks. It was just cozy,” he added.

In this May 13, 1968 file photo, singer John Lennon appears during a press conference in New York. (AP Photo/John Lindsay, File)

Lennon and his wife arrived in Denmark in December 1969 to sort out the future of Ono’s five-year-old daughter Kyoko, who was living with her father in northern Jutland.

By then, the Beatles had recorded their last album, Abbey Road, and even though it was not official, the group had parted ways.

Although Lennon and Ono spent their first week in Denmark incognito, the press found out and the singer organized a news conference that coincided with the first day of the school term.

Hojen and his friends convinced the headmaster to let them skip class to talk peace and music with the singer, a few months before the Beatles officially disbanded.

Hojen and his friends said that they decided to part with the audio cassette because they could not imagine sharing it among their numerous children.

Labelled with the name “Skyrum Bjerge,” the hamlet where it was made, the recording is of decent quality.

The tape includes the song “Give Peace a Chance,” but with different words.

It also sees Lennon and Ono sing “Radio Peace,” an apparent jingle for a radio station the two planned to open, but which never came to be. Short snippets of the simple song online simply have Lennon singing the words “This is radio peace” again and again.

The buyer will not have the right to use the tape for profit.

Although Hojen has recounted that winter day in detail to his children and grandchildren, he will no longer have any trace of it after the sale, as the owners have not digitized the recording.

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