A classic cassette demo from John Lennon was recently archived at United Recording by head archivist, Dan Johnson. Retrieved by Lennon’s producer/engineer Jack Douglas, the cassette was recorded by Lennon in Bermuda before his comeback in 1980.
“I was hanging out with Ringo and he said to me, ‘I had a bunch of John’s memorabilia in a box and when I moved the box disappeared. I don’t have that cassette from Bermuda anymore,'” said Douglas, recalling a recent conversation with Ringo Starr.
Unbeknownst to Starr, Douglas had the cassette, which featured Lennon’s demos for songs slated for Starr’s album, including ‘Real Love’ that was later recorded by the three surviving Beatles for The Beatles Anthology Project in 1995.
Lennon recorded the demos after a treacherous sailing trip to Bermuda where several crew members fell ill and required him to steer the boat. The experience renewed his self-confidence, affording him opportunity to return to songwriting.
“I wanted to make a CD of the cassette for Ringo and came to United to work with archivist Dan Johnson. It’s incredible to hear what Dan has done,” Douglas said.
Johnson noted, “I didn’t know what he was planning. Jack booked some time and explained he wanted to transfer a cassette. It was one of those ‘Oh my God’ moments, but you have to maintain a level of professionalism. I made sure everything was aligned properly and that the machine would accept the tape. The cassette was in great condition and played back perfectly.”
United studio manager Rob Goodchild said, “We built our new archiving studio to accommodate analog and early digital recordings that are nearing the end of their shelf lives. We ensure recordings are properly preserved and archived.”
Pictured in United’s Archiving Suite are (L-R) Studio Manager Robin Goodchild, Archive Engineer Dan Johnson, and Producer Jack Douglas. Article & Photo by David Goggin