John Lennon and Chuck Berry Jam on 'The Mike Douglas Show' in 1972 — Video

by Damian Fanelli
Posted Oct 19, 2015 at 8:30am

In February 1972, John Lennon and Yoko Ono took over The Mike Douglas Show for a full week.

It was a week filled with unusual guests, including Ralph Nader, Jerry Rubin and Surgeon General Dr. Jesse Steinfeld. Douglas even called it "probably the most memorable week I did in all my 20-something years on air."

The musical highlight, however, was an appearance by one of Lennon's biggest heroes, Chuck Berry. Berry and Lennon even performed "Johnny B. Goode" and "Memphis, Tennessee" with Lennon's average-in-every-way 1972 backing band, Elephant's Memory. You can watch both performances below.

As we've seen in two other Lennon performances from 1969 and 1971, Yoko Ono likes to scream into the microphone for no good reason, usually ruining otherwise-decent performances. Her appearance with Berry was no exception. Check out Berry's facial expression at the 1:21 mark during "Memphis, Tennessee" (bottom video) when Ono starts making her pointless noises.

Priceless. And eternally frustrating.

"[Berry] was writing good lyrics and intelligent lyrics in the 1950s when people were singing 'Oh baby, I love you so,'" Lennon said during the show. "It was people like him that influenced our generation to try and make sense out of the songs rather than just sing 'do wah diddy.'"

Damian Fanelli is the online managing editor at Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado. His New York-based band, the Blue Meanies, has toured the world and elsewhere. Fanelli, a former member of Brooklyn jump-blues/swing/rockabilly band the Gas House Gorillas and New York City instrumental surf-rock band Mister Neutron, also composes and records film soundtracks. He writes's The Next Bend column, which is dedicated to B-bender guitars and guitarists. His latest liner notes can be found in Sony/Legacy's Stevie Ray Vaughan: The Complete Epic Recordings Collection. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram.

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