“Hi It’s John Lennon”
April 16, 2015
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Before he began his nearly 40-year-career as the drummer for the rock group Yes, Alan White had played with John Lennon in the Plastic Ono Band and with George Harrison on “All Things Must Pass.”
Interviewed before a Yes concert on Maui, White recalled the first time he got a phone call one morning from Lennon, thinking it was a prank.
“I was 20-years-old and I picked the phone up and thought it was a friend of mine playing around, so I put the phone down on him. He called back about 10 minutes later and said, ‘it really is John Lennon. I saw you play in a club and I think you’d be great for this gig I have to do in a couple of days in Toronto.
“That’s when I dropped the phone and fell off my chair. A limo picked me up and there was Yoko and John at the airport. And then he says, ‘I forgot to tell you Eric Clapton is playing guitar.’ That’s when Eric walked in.”
The musicians headed to Canada for a legendary concert captured on the “Live Peace in Toronto” album. “We rehearsed on the plane,” White continued. “I had a pair of drum sticks and played on the back of the seat.”
That gig led to the drummer playing with Lennon on “Instant Karma” and the “Imagine” album and one of the most famous anthems of our time.