Never-before-seen studio footage of John Lennon recording his infamous song attacking former bandmate Sir Paul McCartney has been released.
The video of John Lennon recording How Do You Sleep with George Harrison and the Plastic Ono band has emerged ahead of the re-release of his most celebrated solo album, Imagine: The Ultimate Collection, on 5 October by Universal Music.
The song, recorded at Lennon’s Ascot sound studio a year after Paul McCartney applied to have the band legally dissolved in 1970, is part of a raw studio mix which features recordings with “no reverb [reverberations] or echoes, no effects, no strings, just live, unvarnished and raw [performances].”
The caption accompanying the clips says: “Imagine you are at the Lennon’s home, Tittenhurst Park in Ascot, England. It’s night. It’s the last week in May in 1971 and you are their special guest, sat in a chair in the very center of their recording studio, Ascot Sound Studios.”
It adds: “John Lennon is sat in front of you, teaching the musicians one of his latest compositions. He is talking and singing and playing the same wood-finish Epiphone Casino electric guitar he played on Revolution.
“A bearded George Harrison is in front of you, to the right, playing electric slide on John’s pale blue Fender Strat.”
The six-disk box-set, overseen by Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, will include a previously unheard demo of Lennon’s best-selling single, Imagine, alongside 140 remastered tracks and previous interviews with the former Beatle and his wife.
In a preface to the 120-page book included with the box-set, Ono writes: “Imagine was created with immense love and concern for the children of the world. I hope you enjoy it.
“The Beatles publicly split in 1970 owing to the combination of the death of their manager, Brian Epstein; legal rows over their record label, and McCartney and Lennon meeting their respective spouses, Linda and Ono.
Lennon and McCartney had an often tense relationship and made subtle jabs at each other in their song lyrics. Lennon’s How Do You Sleep was viewed as a retort to McCartney’s track Too Many People which made fun of the former’s advocacy for world peace.
The pair reconciled before Lennon’s murder on December 8, 1980. His killer, Mark Chapman, was denied parole for the tenth time, last month. Following his death, Lennon was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award and two special BRIT awards for outstanding contribution to music.