"The Alternate Rock 'n' Roll"
1974 Rehearsals & demos
01 That'll Be The Day (2:25) Rehearsal
02 Thirty Days (1:31) Rehearsal
03 C'Mon Everybody (2:17) Rehearsal
04 Here We Go Again (2:59) Acoustic demo
Lennon initially teamed up with producer Phil Spector to record the album, letting Spector have full control.
Spector chose some of the songs, booked the studio, and the musicians. When news got around that Lennon was
in Hollywood making a record, every musician there wanted to be part of the sessions. In mid-October 1973,
sessions were booked at A&M Studios, with many of them having over 30 musicians, but the sessions quickly fell
into disarray—fuelled by alcohol.
Spector once showed up dressed in a surgeon's outfit and shot a gun in the ceiling of the studio, hurting Lennon's ears.
On another occasion, a bottle of whiskey had spilled on the A&M Studio's mixing console causing future sessions to be
banned from the facility. Unknown to Lennon, each night Spector would remove the master tapes from the studio,
and move them to his house. Spector then disappeared with the session tapes and would not be heard from for several months.
Spector made one cryptic call to Lennon, claiming to have the "John Dean tapes" from the recent Watergate scandal;
Lennon deduced that Spector meant he had the album's master tapes. When a car accident on 31 March 1974 left Spector in a coma,
the project was put on indefinite hold. In mid-1974, Lennon returned to New York with Pang and began writing and recording a
new album of original material, Walls and Bridges.
Shortly before these sessions began, Al Coury, then-head of A&R/promotion for Capitol Records retrieved the Spector tapes.
Not wanting to break stride, Lennon shelved the tapes and completed work on Walls and Bridges. With "Walls and Bridges" coming out first,
Lennon had reneged on his deal with Levy and he threatened to refile his lawsuit when Lennon explained to Levy what had happened, and
assured him that the covers album was indeed in the works.
Levy gave Lennon use of his farm in upstate New York to rehearse material. Lennon then recalled the session musicians from Walls and Bridges to
complete the oldies tracks. Several tracks never made it past the rehearsal stage: "C'mon Everybody", "Thirty Days", "That'll Be the Day" – the band
also played a few impromptu jams. On 21 October, Lennon went into Record Plant East, completing the oldies tracks in a few days.
Lennon wanted the musicians to stay close to the original arrangements of the songs, apart from "Do You Wanna Dance?".
Mixing and editing lasted until mid-November. To assure him progress was being made, Lennon gave Levy a rough tape of the sessions to review.
Levy took the tapes and pressed his own version of the album called Roots: John Lennon Sings the Great Rock & Roll Hits on his record label, Adam VIII,
then proceeded to sue Lennon, EMI and Capitol for $42 million for breach of contract. Capitol/EMI quickly sought an injunction.
After two trials, in which Lennon had to convince the court of the difference between a rough version and a final take, Levy won $6,795 in
damages, and Lennon won $144,700, in February 1976. The album was originally scheduled for release in April 1975, however, in February 1975,
Capitol Records rush-released the official Rock 'n' Roll as a Capitol "budget" album (prefix code SK—one dollar cheaper than the usual releases)
to counteract sales of the Levy album.
Download this bootleg here