He’s the man who once hung up on John Lennon. And despite that, he still went on to play on the ex-Beatle’s most iconic song, “Imagine,” which was recorded 50 years ago this spring.
Alan White, who now lives in the Seattle area, was just another struggling young English rock ’n’ roller when, one night in September 1969, he took his position behind the drums with his band Griffin at the matchbox-sized Rasputin club in London. White didn’t know that Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, were sitting anonymously at the back of the room. The next evening, the drummer was frying up a meal for some of his bandmates at the small house they shared near Wembley Stadium in London when the phone rang.
“A voice announced, ‘Hello, this is John Lennon,’” White remembers with a chuckle. “I thought it was a mate pulling my leg, put the receiver down, and went back to the kitchen.
“Luckily, the caller rang back. This time I listened and thought: Hang on. Maybe it is John Lennon.”