Tuesday, July 12, 2011
John Lennon/Bob Dylan Owned and Played Gibson Guitar Expected to Bring $200,000+
A 1967 Gibson J-160E Sunburst acoustic-electric guitar bought by John Lennon and later gifted by Lennon to Bob Dylan is expected to bring $200,000+ as the undisputed centerpiece of Heritage Auctions July 29 Signature® Music & Entertainment Auction.
Lennon played and wrote songs on this beautiful Gibson during the period of the famous Beatles retreat with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Rishikesh, India, possibly even taking this guitar with him on the journey - one of the most tumultuous and creative periods in the band's history, which resulted in 1968's The White Album, one of the greatest albums ever made. Lennon later gave to Bob Dylan, who wrote, recorded and toured with the guitar himself.
"It's a cliché to say it, of course, but if this amazing guitar could only talk," said Margaret Barrett, Director of Music & Entertainment Auctions at Heritage. "What an incredible amount of Rock n' Roll history it has witnessed, having been owned, played and beloved by, arguably, the two most important rock musicians of the 20th century."
Lennon bought this instrument new in 1967, a model he was particularly fond of, in the months before the untimely overdose death of original Beatles manager Brian Epstein. The spring of 1968 found the Beatles - and possibly this guitar - in Rishikesh, India taking a transcendental meditation course from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. For John, it was a way to "get away from everything." Though they were supposed to spend most of their time in meditation, John and Paul spent many of their afternoons writing songs.
"Regardless of what I was supposed to be doing," Lennon would recall, "I did write some of my best songs there."
This new music became the nucleus of one of the greatest albums of all time, The Beatles, better known as The White Album, released in late November, 1968.
A month or so later, around Christmas, Lennon gifted this J-160E to one of his musical idols, Bob Dylan, who took over stewardship of it for a number of years, keeping it at his New York home, writing songs on it, touring with it and using it in the recording studio during the late 1960s and early 1970s. This was the period in which Dylan released such major works as Nashville Skyline, Planet Waves and Blood on the Tracks, making it easy to assume that this guitar figured prominently in the Dylan's writing process of those seminal recordings.
"A few years after Lennon's tragic death in 1980," said Barrett, "Dylan's superstitions about owning this guitar led him to gift it to his friend, famed guitarist and guitar technician César Diáz, a legend in his own right. To the best of our knowledge, it's never been offered before at public auction."