A recording made of John Lennon singing a previously unreleased song was sold for £43,000 at an auction on Denmark.
The cassette contains an interview that Lennon and Yoko Ono gave to four Danish schoolboys before their honeymoon tour in 1969, which also included bed-ins at hotels in Amsterdam and Montreal. The excursion is documented in ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’, although the pair’s stop in Denmark is not mentioned. Lennon and Ono arrived to drop off Ono’s daughter Kyoko with her father, Tony Cox, who was living in Denmark at the time.
“We were a bunch of 16-year-old hippies,” tape recorder Karsten Hoejen told the BBC. “As we arrived everyone was leaving … 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. We talked, we had a good time. John asked me, ‘where do you come from? A radio station?’ ‘No, from a school magazine,’ I said.”
The cassette mostly contains an interview with Lennon and Ono, but after an extended discussion, the students asked Lennon to play a song. Lennon played them a rough version of what would eventually become ‘Give Peace A Chance’, which would be officially recorded at the couple’s bed-in in Montreal, as well as a song that was meant to be theme tune for a radio station Lennon was looking to launch in Amsterdam.
‘Radio Peace’, as it’s known, was never recorded in any other fashion, and the cassette tape remains the only recording of the (possibly improvised) song.
“The radio station was never opened and the song was never released,” Hoejen said. “To our knowledge, the only place where this song exists is on our tape.”
The tape, along with an original copy of the school newspaper that ran the interview plus 23 photographs of the meeting, were set to sell for around between £23,000 to £35,000. The interest generated by the tape ultimately led to all the items being sold of £43,000.
The bidders retain exclusive rights to the recording, meaning that ‘Radio Peace’ is unlikely to hit streaming services any time soon. The recording can be played in public at museums and showcases, however.