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Tuesday, 11 August 2015

At last - Lennon at the Hit Factory 1980

Stills from video of John Lennon in the studio, 1980
Yesterday, we could finally feast our eyes on moving images from the footage of John Lennon recording "I'm Losing You" at the Hit Factory Studio. On August 19th, 1980 at the Hit Factory recording studios in New York City, director Jay Dubin filmed John Lennon & Yoko Ono with the intention of producing music videos to promote their upcoming release "Double Fantasy". The recording sessions for "I'm Losing You" and Yoko's "I'm Moving On" were filmed. Two cameras were in use, and the footage was committed to 1 inch video tapes. Only the raw film exists, as Dubin never edited the footage.
This incredibly important footage turned out to be the last documented time that John Lennon was filmed making music, and even more incredibly, has never been seen by the general public. Footage from the recording of "I'm Moving On" was used in the 1985 documentary "Yoko Ono: Then & Now", released on VHS home video. Approximately 10 seconds of footage from the session is shown, and underneath the narrative, you can clearly hear Yoko's song, "I'm Moving On". On April 20, 1992, NHK-TV of Japan broadcasted a nearly 15 second clip of the footage, which also included clips of drummer Andy Newmark, guitarists Earl Slick & Hugh McCracken, and Yoko Ono getting ready to sing at the microphone.

Yesterday, Revolver Records & Video uploaded a version of the 1998 "line drawing" video for "I'm Losing You", intersped with footage from supposedly the secondary camera of John Lennon singing and strumming his limited edition futuristic Sardonyx guitar in 1980. Link to the video.
This footage proves that Lennon's attempt to drown the film in his bathtub (which was what was reported at the time) was unsuccessful. Apparently, Lennon was dissatisfied with the way he looked in the video. Most of what we see is Lennon aggressively strumming and slapping his guitar, but there are also a few cutaways to his face, he still has long hair and is wearing Yoko Ono's cap. It's sad to see John Lennon being so alive and eager to play when we know the outcome of this story. Published only yesterday, the video clip has already attracted more than 10,000 visitors. Revolver Records & Video have used the wrong version to dub this footage, the proper audio to accompany this clip appears on HMC's "Oddities 3" release.

Many people have refused to believe that this footage actually exists, finally we have evidence that proves them wrong. We can only hope that Yoko (or bootleggers) are planning to release a fully edited version of the footage from cameras one and two, but word is that all that still exists is twenty minutes from camera two.

You can read more about the guitar Lennon is playing at the Guitar Player site. The outdated Double Fantasy Video mystery Page has the full history behind the filming of the footage.


Unknown said...

Brilliant post Roger.
I've often wondered if we would ever see this.
WOW !!!!!!!!!

Ariel C said...

I think RR&V had to make a "music video" since they couldn't just show the raw footage. It's a music youtube channel. Probably the same goes with the previous unseen Beatles footage (which I think were edited by RR&V). Either way it's great to see something!

ciuzo85 said...

Revolver has just uploaded an edited video of "Beautiful Boy" with unseen footage from John and Sean's birthdays on October 9th 1980 at the Tavern on the Green. Great stuff!

Unknown said...

Revolver TV is me and i have not edited these Lennon and Beatles clips together, i just upload them the way i recieve them

Unknown said...

Well hell, now it's gone: "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Yoko Ono Lennon." Thanks for the tip anyway!