Sunday, September 9, 2012
John Lennon's 1965 Epiphone Casino
John Lennon was the other half of the incredible songwriting juggernaut, the famed Lennon-McCartney tandem with fellow Beatle Paul McCartney, that produced one hit song after another during The Beatles' incredible run from their inception of the group's classic lineup, with George Harrison and Ringo Starr, in 1962 up to their break-up in 1970.
Lennon was born John Winston Lennon on October 9, 1940 in Liverpool, England at the height of the Second World War. Got his first guitar, a Gallotone Champion acoustic given by his mother, in 1956. He then formed a band called The Quarrymen on the same year. It was on one of the band's performances that Lennon met Paul McCartney and asked him to join the group, which ultimately evolved into The Beatles.
The Beatles went on to become the best-selling musical group in history, with an estimated sales of over a billion units and influenced scores of budding musicians over the years.
Even after the Beatles went their separate ways, Lennon continued writing and recording iconic songs, such as "Imagine", "Working Class Hero", and "Give Peace A Chance", in the 70's which became anthems for a generation of socially-conscious individuals.
However, good things never really last. On December 8, 1980, Lennon was shot in the back four times by a deranged fan near his New York apartment, The Dakota. He was declared dead on arrival at the nearby hospital where he was taken after the tragic shooting.
Among his numerous accolades, Lennon inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987. In 1994, he was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And in 2008, Rolling Stone Magazine honored Lennon by ranking him the 5th greatest singer of all-time.
Though Lennon's career is defined largely by his contributions to songwriting and his larger-than-life persona, his role as a guitarist in The Beatles repertoire should not be ignored.
The 1965 E230TD Epiphone Casino that John acquired had a double-cutaway semi-hollow f-hole body, P-90 pickups, vintage tuners with small buttons, trapeze tailpiece and originally a sunburst finish. However, after hearing from a friend that a guitar would sound better without a heavy finish, he decided to sand the paint off the instrument, leaving it with a natural wood finish. He then used his newly-sanded Casinos to the sessions for the "White Album". In the promo video for the single "Revolution" off the new album, Lennon can be seen taking the refurbished guitar for a spin.
During his remaining years with The Beatles, Lennon frequently utilized the Epiphone Casino as his main guitar, thereby cementing its status as one of the legendary guitars of the era.
After Lennon's passing, the guitar was kept by Yoko Ono and was put on display in the John Lennon Museum in Saitama, Japan until it closed in September 30, 2010.
Here's a video of the phenomenal group performing their classic "Don't Let Down" in their historic Apple building rooftop concert, at 3 Savile Row, London, on January 30,1969.