Over the gate...

Designed in 1913 by Victorian/Edwardian/other architect Theophilus A Allen; John Lennon's house between 1964 and 1968; sunroom, attic and prisco stripe hibernice; Mellotron and caravan; Babidji and Mimi; mortar and pestle; Wubbleyoo Dubbleyoo; curios and curiosity; remnants and residue; testimonials and traces; (Cavendish Avenue, Sunny Heights and Kinfauns); Montagu Square; mock Tudor: Brown House: *KENWOOD*.

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Friday, 9 July 2010

Kenwood: Electronic Music.

John's listening habits at Kenwood were generally informed by his deep love of primal rock 'n' roll, R&B and soul, with a large side of Zimdon for good measure. During the psychedelic period, however, his tastes grew a little freakier, in keeping with everything else going on at the time. The account of the June 29, 1967 visit to the house includes the following: "John is very fond of putting on albums of noises these days, and one played constantly while I was there, broken only by bursts of "All You Need Is Love".
But what were these "albums of noises"? Frankly, I dunno.
One strong contender, though, must be the 1966 waxing Electronic Music, a compilation of early synth pioneers (including Walter (later Wendy) Carlos). John owned it, as the pic of him arriving at EMI studios in late February '67 shows.
The album itself is a bit of a period piece; specifically, the period before someone realised that synching the lower and higher end frequencies of these machines to repetitive (and preferably nosebleed-inducing) beats was a surefire way to get Ver Yoof doing Ver Twist (or somesuch).
The curious will find it freely available to download from various naughty sites.


  1. wha?????
    ver what?

  2. Ver Yoof. Ver Kidz. If Ver Kidz Are Yoonited... etc.

  3. Never seen that photo before as far as I know....

    Any clues on this album, also being carried around the same period
    http://www.unsogno.net/177/john2.jpg ?

  4. if i'm not mistaken, this photo was taken by my friend lynda (neale) gilbert outside emi. you all would be surprised at the amount of fan photos you've never seen before... they are stored away in our photo albums. stuart, i tried the above link to see if i could help with your question, but the page is not there.

  5. Hi Lizzie - thanks. Good to meet you.

    The photos are also at the bottom of the page linked (a music discussion forum) - you'll probably need to cut and paste this link into a new browser page:


  6. hi stuart! i couldn't see the first photos (there's a question mark on each one of them) but i saw the other ones. i'm e-mailing them to my friends who were there that night and see if they remember anything.

  7. Hey there. Lizzie, Sara S, and I (as drasil) had a conversation about this very album and photo in the comments on Sara's blog back in May. Check it out:


    PS to Stuart: so /you're/ one of the ones going around resurrecting our old ILM/X threads, I see.

  8. Ah. I somehow missed this conversation before... it was a friend of mine over at 45cat who identified the album for me. Sorry about that! Hope I wasn't stepping on your toes.
    Interesting though - I didn't know there were 3 of them. I wonder if John had them all.

  9. I definitely didn't mean to imply that I had some kind of monopoly on talking about the Beatles and the avant-garde. But when and wherever that intersection comes up, I try to be there. I figured you might find it interesting that someone else was hunting down this stuff.

    Apart from the usual--Yoko and John Cage, Paul being an early pop fan of Stockhausen, etc., very few of their outside influences are known, especially in the realm of music that wasn't rock. (The same goes for visual art--ever wonder whose work Paul was into at Indica?) I like photos like this one because they make hard evidence, kind of like how you're virtually mapping Kenwood piece by piece.

    But "albums of noises"? That's great. It's not a bad description of the compositions, which are all extremely cerebral and kind of dry. Even Wendy's, which predates her work on Switched-On Bach. The other two records in the series are similar in content and have similar[ly awesome] covers.

    Thanks for highlighting this--and please keep me posted if you uncover anything similar.

  10. No worries! John always kept one eyebrow firmly raised regarding the avant-garde (as you know, he used to say it was French for bullshit, and was always fairly rude to Barry Miles (though that may have been as a result of Miles correcting John on his pronunciation of "Nietzsche" (you couldn't make this stuff up)))...but methinks he doth/did/done protest too much. After all, he wound up marrying and forever after promoting one of the leading lights of Fluxus. As you say, it's interesting that John was pictured with that album, and, by contemporary accounts, had it (or similar) on a lot at Kenwood. If you unearth anything else, do let me know - I'd be happy to post it on here.

  11. I agree--and this is one of the reasons their interests and influences from this realm are so hard to track down. I always felt that John and George, at least, didn't discuss these things with the general public even if they were fascinated by them mostly to avoid appearing pretentious by association. What would Scouse lads want with 'art?'

    Those kinds of cultural feelings tend to run deep, and even in mid-sixties London, 'happenings' (borrowed from Fluxus, you know) were alright, but Yoko and John Cage dropping a piano off a building could certainly engender the sort of eyebrow-raising you mentioned.

    So then, the proof is in the work--after all, the same George Harrison who quipped about "avant garde a clue" produced some of the most challenging and 'out' material this side of, well, Johnandyoko...

  12. Indeed. And I've always thought that Revolution 9 was as... errr... revolutionary as anything they ever did. It's not everyone's cup o' tea, certainly, but I love it, and love the fact they did it.