Lennon’s last session. The making of double fantasy
Ken Sharp tells the story of a historic album, in the words of those who were there
After the birth of John and Yoko’s son Sean on 9 October 1975 (John’s birthday), the former Beatle bid farewell to life as an internationally renowned rock star, and assumed a new role as a house husband. While Yoko spent much of her time downstairs in her Studio One offices brokering high-powered business deals, Lennon focused on raising Sean, baking bread and penning the occasional song.
But a June 1980 trip to Bermuda found Lennon newly inspired. With an Ovation acoustic guitar in hand and two Panasonic boom-boxes set for record, he composed many of the songs that would form the basis of Double Fantasy and follow-up posthumous release, Milk & Honey. These included Nobody Told Me, Borrowed Time, I’m Losing You, Woman, I Don’t Wanna Face It, Beautiful Boy and I’m Stepping Out.
Enlisting producer Jack Douglas (Aerosmith/Cheap Trick/ Alice Cooper) and a seasoned studio band comprised of guitarists Hugh McCracken and Earl Slick, bassist Tony Levin, drummer Andy Newmark, and keyboardist George Small, the troupe entered New York’s Hit Factory during the first week of August 1980 for a productive batch of sessions. Emerging from a five-year self-imposed retirement from the music scene, critical and public expectations were high for the new record.
Signed to David Geffen’s …
by Ken Sharp
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