The Guardian

London, March 8:

A long-lost jukebox owned by John Lennon has revealed that, when it came to musical inspiration, even the Beatles got by with a little help from their friends.

The 15 kg portable jukebox, owned by Lennon 40 years ago, was bought by music promoter John Midwinter for Pounds Sterling 2,500 at a London auction in 1989. He then spent years resea-rching its 41 discs. Listed in Len-non’s handwriting, they are effectively the discs which helped shape his genius.

Among the collection of rock and roll, rhythm and blues and soul, Midwinter traced an intriguing influence on the Beatles’ output. Blues performer Bobby Parker’s guitar lick was ‘borrowed’ by the Beatles for ‘I Feel Fine’. Delbert McClinton’s harmonica inspired Lennon’s own on ‘Love Me Do’. And the high-pitched scream on ‘Twist and Shout’ and other tracks were copied from Isley Brothers.

A team from the TV programme The South Bank Show took the jukebox, which they dubbed ‘the original

iPod’, across America to track down Lennon’s heroes. Many were gratified and none accused the Beatles of plagiarism.

Lennon is believed to have bought the KB Discomatic jukebox in 1965. He is thought to have left it behind when he moved to US. It passed through private hands before reaching Midwinter. Midwinter died of cancer at the age of 57, two days before he could be told his ambition of a TV documentary about the jukebox would be realised.

Midwinter’s widow and son have refused to cash in on the jukebox and plan to give it to Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono for possible display at Lennon’s childhood home in Liverpool. The family will also publish a posthumous book by Midwinter on the subject. A double CD, John Lennon’s Jukebox, is being released in the UK by Virgin/EMI today.