A note on bootleg records first: A bootleg record is a factory-produced vinyl record released and sold without authorization by the artist or owner of the recording. Bootleg records may contain known recordings, but most often bootleg records either contained studio outtakes or live performances. The first bootleg records were seen at the end of the 1960's. During the 1970's and 1980's lots of different bootleg records were produced. In the early 1990's bootleggers changed to use CDs instead of vinyl records. I do not encourage the production and sale of bootleg records as I find that artists, composers, producers, and the rest of the recording industry deserve a financial compensation of their work.
This series of articles is going to describe the Chuck Berry vinyl bootlegs released in the 1970's and 1980's. For any record collector these items are important to know of, even though you don't necessarily need to have them. Omitted from all the usual discographies, information about these records is next to void. Given the secret nature of the bootlegger business there are no exact dates, numbers, or origins. I have tried to collect this information from various sources and mostly from my own collection of records. If you can add anything of worth to the information given here, I'd be glad to know!
This is the fourth part of this series and it covers a record which isn't really a Chuck Berry bootleg.
John Lennon (featuring Yoko Ono & Chuck Berry) - Telecasts - Trade Mark of Quality 71046 (and multiple other labels/numbers)
Of all bootleg records containing unreleased Chuck Berry recordings, this one is probably the best-sold and the one of which the most variants exist. This is because it's not a Chuck Berry bootleg at all. Telecasts
is a John Lennon bootleg, but it contains two recordings from the Mike Douglas TV show of February 3rd, 1972. In this show, co-hosted by Lennon, the ex-Beatle invited Berry as a guest performer. Two songs were recorded, Lennon and Berry singing duets backed by Elephant's Memory and Lennon's wife Yoko Ono: Memphis, Tennessee
and Johnny B. Goode
. Further segments from the show such as an interview with Berry and a cooking scene did not make it to this bootleg.
During research for this article, I learned a lot about bootleg creation in the 1970's. I strongly suggest you take some time to read the excellent blog The Amazing Kornyfone Label
. If you follow closely the stories of Ken Douglas, one of the most famous early bootleggers, you'll learn that research is almost impossible. They never thought about getting their acts organized in any business sense. Which makes it more or less arbitrary how the records looked like. The color of the vinyl, for instance, was more or less random. The record pressing company just used what was lying around. Even in the same production run multiple colors were used. The same with labels or covers: any color, any print. Early bootlegs had their name placed on blank covers using a rubber stamp, but if there wasn't enough time, only some were stamped, others not. Due to this, bootlegs from Ken's Trade Mark Of Quality
label (and others) exist in dozens of variants and no-one can tell which ones were produced when or in which quantity. Here is what I think might be the most probable history of this Berry bootleg.
It seems that the very first version of this bootleg was produced by the legendary Los Angeles-based bootleg label "Trade Mark Of Quality". The exact date is not known, but is must have been by the end of 1972. At that time the operation was run by Ken together with Dub Taylor. They used a so-called "Farm Pig" logo on stickers, inserts, and (sometimes) labels. The initial release had a catalogue number of TMQ 71046 which was printed on an insert (xeroxed on color paper). It came in a white or colored cover with or without a rubber-stamp reading "John Lennon (featuring Yoko Ono & Chuck Berry) Telecasts". Labels seem to contain the Farm Pig logo, but also other labels exist. Note that TMQ 71046 has been copied in later years with no or little difference. This means there are bootleg copies of this bootleg.
This might be the original version of TMQ 71046:
The matrix number etched in the dead wax of TMQ 71046 reads JL-517 A/B
. It's not quite clear what this number stands for. JL of course is short for John Lennon. 517 seems to be some internal numbering at TMQ. There is for instance a Bob Dylan bootleg numbered BD-516
The letter-sized photo-copied insert on colored paper contains poor quality photos from the shows including Berry and Lennon performing together.
The tracks on this record are as follows (spelling as on the sheet):
- JOHN SINCLAIR
- IT'S SO HARD
- THE LUCK OF THE IRISH
- SISTERS, OH SISTERS
- WE'RE ALL WATER
- WOMAN IS THE NIGGER OF THE WORLD
- ATTICA STATE
- SHAKE IT
- JOHNNY B. GOODE
In addition the sheet tells:
THIS MATERIAL WAS COLLECTED FROM:
THE MIKE DOUGLAS SHOW
THE DICK CAVETT SHOW
Shortly after the initial release of TMQ 71046 the owners of the label (if you can call them 'owners') split and formed separated bootleg labels. Ken Douglas continued using the Trade Mark Of Quality
name. These second version records show a different TMQ logo, though. While the original label had a so-called "Farm Pig" logo, the second version uses the so-called "Smoking Pig" label. Douglas re-used the original tapes to produce his own TMOQ records.
The second variant of Telecasts has the TMQ number 1834 which is etched in the dead wax. Thus a different matrix was used. It came in completely white covers. Both the insert and the labels show the Smoking Pig logo.
Concurrently with the TMQ release(s) or not much later (appr. 1973) another variant of this bootleg has been produced from yet another matrix. This time the etching reads WEC-3711. The "company" is known as Contraband Music but this name doesn't appear on cover or label. The cover is blank with a full-size insert in brown on white. The labels are white with a rubber-stamped A and B.
The original TMQ matrix with the etching JL-517 (or copies thereof) has been used very often. This record exists in a multitude of covers and comes with a multitude of labels. Here's one example of a modified insert. This version had plain green labels. This may be a later or even an earlier version. Have a look at Bob's Boots discussion of TMOQ cover and label variants of a Bob Dylan bootleg
For more variants of JL-517 see images here (Great Live Concerts 6012-4299)
and here (Box Top Records)
. The best known version of JL-517 is the one with the full-color photograph of the bearded Lennon sitting at a piano in front of an audience. This version also has a full-color back cover. It is this cover on which the bootleggers first forgot to list the second track from side 2 "Shake it". The song is only missing from the track listing. On the record it still is. This error has been repeated ever since.
The labels of the photograph version are blank white. Both cover and record have been reproduced often. One version has a dog label (image at discogs here
). In addition JL-517 has been used to produce one of the records in two-, three- or even nine-record sets such as John Lennon - Flower
and John Lennon - The Plastic Ono Box
The full-color photo from JL-517 has also been used to produce a picture disk. A picture disk is made out of transparent vinyl with a full-size print in between the two layers for the two sides. One should note that for the picture disk an even different master has been used (probably due to production reasons). The picture disk is etched 4-A and 4AB in the dead wax.
was the first bootleg containing the two Lennon/Berry duets, the same recordings have been used on other, later bootlegs as well. These contain different remaining Lennon recordings, typically other duets with Jimi Hendrix or Elton John. Examples of such bootlegs are the two LP set Working Class Hero
(Chet Mar CMR-75, image
), the Australian two LP set Stand By Me
(Toasted Records TRW-1942, see below), and the single LPs The Joshua Tree Tapes
(The Kornyphone Records for the Working Man TKRWM 1803, Johnny B. Goode
) and John Lennon with
(LSD Record JCJ-37037, again see below).
The Toasted Records cover tells that there's a third duet from the Mike Douglas show (Roll Over Beethoven
). This is incorrect, though. There's no Chuck Berry on that recording. Also note the spelling of Chuck on the LSD Record cover.
A (probably) legal release of the two songs plus the interview with questions to Berry, Lennon, and Ono was released in 2011 as a three CD set called Chuck Berry in the 1950s (Chrome Dreams CD3CD5073, 2011)
. You can also buy DVDs
containing the complete show.
Thanks to Morten Reff for photos of the original TMQ record and the Toasted bootleg. All other images show records from my own collection.
To read the other parts of this series on Chuck Berry vinyl bootlegs, click here: