The best part of my job, apart from the free stuff, is balancing on the leading edge of world-shifting music news. Such as when a publicist recently clarified something without my even having to ask. The e-mail read like this: “Dear Tony, Just wanted to send you some background on the controversy surrounding the upcoming pay-per-view seance to contact John Lennon.”
There I sat, mouth agape at the mere idea. I had no idea there was an upcoming pay-per-view seance to contact John Lennon. I was disappointed, angry and perhaps a bit stunned.
How did I not think of this first?
Only in America can someone go to a big office building, in a big city, wear professional clothes and collect a salary, while, with a straight face, planning something like this. They’re putting together a TV show professing to contact rock music’s most respected dead person from beyond the grave. And they’re charging people for it.
It’ll cost you $9.95, which is pretty affordable, considering what breathing rock stars charge these days. Then again, Lennon probably has no idea how prices have inflated since he died.
When Streisand goes, all bets are off.
Anyway, the publicist continued: “Contrary to today’s Reuters article … John Lennon was not negatively disposed toward seances. In fact, the following Newsweek article describes how he and Yoko Ono actually held their own seance to commune with departed tenants of the Dakota during their time living in NYC.”
They were probably comparing utility bills. The message continued: “The seance being held on inDEMAND is a sincere attempt to reach the spirit of Lennon.”
Sign me up. I’d be happy to spend 10 bucks to ask Lennon what he thought of “Say Say Say.”
I knew that 21st century media’s technological capabilities were vast, but to think they can stretch into the afterlife is something else. As we speak, U2 is probably striking a deal with iPod to broadcast exclusive downloaded content from its 2056 Heavenly Reunification Tour.
Anyway, on April 24, famed psychics from around the world will gather at various sites significant to Lennon, including the Dakota apartment building in New York, the Capitol Records building in Hollywood and the town in India where Lennon pursued spiritual enlightenment. The spirit reader in India believes he can retrieve musical notes from Lennon, which will be flown to Los Angeles. A composer will arrange them and add vocals to produce a new song.
Which makes us wonder: If John Lennon writes a hit song from the grave, where do they send the royalties?
The press release also asks, dramatically, “Could the results be a last musical legacy from beyond?”
They should be asking whether the results can fatten up someone’s financial legacy. The talent pool is stretched so thin right now, locking the dead into multimedia contracts could help revive a sagging music industry. For example, how about “Buddy Holly’s Travel Tips (Whatever You Do, Don’t Fly Small Planes Into Snowstorms),” via Podcast? Team Frank Sinatra with Sid Vicious on an afterlife reality show and watch hilarity ensue.
At the seance, the New York-based psychic will also try connecting with Lennon at the Strawberry Fields Memorial in New York. So, New York, Los Angeles, India … all in one 90-minute special. Beautiful. Now that there’s a market for this sort of thing, I’m getting on the horn with my lawyer and a psychic. Elvis hasn’t worked in 30 years, and he’s got to be itching to get back in the game.