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John Lennon 1969 Canadian Interview Reels Discovered, Up For Auction

A December, 1969 interview with John Lennon while he stayed at Rockin' Ronnie Hawkins mansion in Mississauga is up for auction today after a reel-to-reel tape was discovered in a broadcaster attic.

The National Post report the 90-minute interview with Lennon by then-Village Voice music columnist and broadcaster Howard Smith touched on a variety of topics including The Beatles' production process behind "Let It Be."

Lennon also discussed a possible Canada-based peace foundation and Woodstock-like gig planned for Toronto in July 1970, neither of which came to fruition. A seven-minute excerpt posted on YouTube and found on the auction house's website sheds more info on the tape.

"We think Canada's a good place," Lennon says during the interview with wife Yoko Ono beside him. "We tried to come in [to the U.S.] to do it ["bed-in"]. We ended up in Montreal, which turned out to be a good thing -- you know, that's how the whole Canada thing happened.

Lennon also discusses the Beatles last album "Let It Be" which the musician describes as "torture" as well as the hurdles of performing onstage, something the band did for the final time at San Francisco's Candlestick Park in August, 1966.

"We were going through hell; we often do..." Lennon says. "It's torture every time we produce anything. The Beatles haven't got any magic you haven't got. We suffer like hell anytime we make anything.

"I'm not against performing, but performing as a Beatle is like such a myth and an aura about it that they expect Jesus, God and Buddha," the musician adds. "It's an anti-climax to the build-up of the myth, the myth is bigger than ... three guitarists and a drummer. The myth is bigger than the reality (and) I'm included to leave them with the myth."

According to authoritative fan site the 86-minute interview for WABC-AM radio took place on the evening of Dec. 17, 1969 while Lennon and Ono ate. The interview also reportedly had Lennon saying the odds of The Beatles ever touring again being "90-1" and that the "War Is Over" slogan was given a test-run by a single person wearing the slogan on a sandwich board in New York City. Lennon also reportedly said both Ringo Starr and George Harrison briefly left The Beatles in the conversation. The interview is known to be in circulation by diehard fans on bootleg recordings.

The visit was part of a peace mission Lennon was on which concluded with meeting Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in Ottawa. Trudeau reflected on the encounter which stretched to a 50-minute conversation from an originally slated 10-minute chat in his 1993 book "Memoirs."

"I was pleased to receive [Lennon and Ono]," Trudeau wrote, stating Lennon was kind to say "'If all politicians were like Mr. Trudeau, there would be world peace.'"

The auction house (RR Auction) expects the reels will get roughly $5,000.

"They've resurfaced and it's just fantastic to hear John's voice clear as day, captured at this moment where the Beatles are breaking up," RR Auction vice-president Bobby Livingston said.

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