Earl Slick recalled how he nearly derailed his first session with John Lennon, who had asked him to appear on his 1980 album Double Fantasy.

The American guitarist first met the ex-Beatle during sessions for David Bowie’s Young Americans in 1975, but in a new interview with Guitar World, he admitted he’d been too high on drugs to remember the experience.

“This is so strange because John is my favorite Beatle,” Slick said. “I was uncharacteristically nervous before Double Fantasy started. I went in early on the first day. I thought if I could grab a cup of coffee and a smoke and just chill out … I got to the studio and nobody was there – except for John. I introduced myself, and his reaction was, ‘Why?’ Because to him, we already knew each other. And I said, ‘Well ... I don’t remember.’”

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Slick continued: “The second I said it, I thought, ‘Oh, God, this could go really bad.’ You know – he called me to play on his record, and he is who he is, and I’m telling him that I can’t remember playing with him on a No. 1 record. But he thought it was hysterical. It became kind of a joke during the recordings.”

Although Lennon hadn't recorded for a few years, Slick said his chops were intact and he was “right on the money,” adding that the sessions included a lot of impromptu jamming. “Every day John would break into some ’50s or ’60s thing – Eddie Cochran or Buddy Holly. We’d all join in for a while, and then he’d say, ‘OK, back to work.’”

He added: “Once in a while, Hugh [McCracken, session guitarist] and I would start playing a Beatles song, and John would go, ‘Cut that shit out!’ It was really funny! ... One that would really get to him was 'She’s a Woman,' which isn’t a Lennon song. It’s a McCartney song.”

How Earl Slick Nearly Toured with John Lennon

Lennon was killed before he got the chance to tour with the band that tracked Double Fantasy, but Slick said arrangements had been made for him to take part in the trek, even though it clashed with a previously-arranged studio engagement.

“At the time, I had just signed to Columbia, and I was supposed to start a record in February of ’81," he said. "I explained my situation to John, that I had a record deal and all that. He got in touch with my management, and they worked everything out with Columbia, who were actually thrilled I’d be going out with Lennon before my record. Sadly, none of that happened.”

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Gallery Credit: Michael Gallucci