Monday, November 22, 2010

American Masters: LENNONNYC and Nashville's Steve Marcantonio

Posted By on Mon, Nov 22, 2010 at 5:40 PM

There are many good reasons to watch American Masters: LENNONNYC tonight, two of which involve American pride and Steve Marcantonio. If the first rationale is confusing, well, Lennon loved New York City, wistfully wishing he had been born there, and if the second explanation fails, then allow me to elaborate.

According to an NPT interview with Marcantonio celebrating the documentary, Nashville resident Steve Marcantonio is the 2010 recipient of the Academy of Country Music's Engineer of the Year Award and has worked for mega-stars such as George Strait, Brooks & Dunn and Reba McEntire. However, Marcantiano's most impressive recording arguably went to tape 30 years ago, when he worked for the Record Plant in New York City. There, he and John Lennon spent a week in December 1980 mixing Yoko Ono's "Walking on Thin Ice," a tropical and New Wave ditty, the sound of which evinced Lennon's recent sailing trip to Bermuda. Bermuda also inspired Lennon to name his and Yoko's Double Fantasy (a flower that, to Lennon, symbolized the artists’ relationship). Marcantonio would have worked full-time on Double Fantasy had his workload not been tyrannized by obligations pertaining to the Blues Brothers Soundtrack.

During their time together, Lennon and Marcantonio engaged in recreational activities such as walking and air-guitaring. Lennon was so interested in a device described by Marcantonio that produced artificial clapping noises (the Clap Track), that he put two Benjamins in Marcantonio’s hand so that he might procure it for future — perhaps New Wave — uses. When Lennon was shot, his hand clutched the final mix of “Walking on Thin Ice,” put there by Marcantonio hours earlier.

American Masters: LENNONNYC, about Lennon's life in NYC beginning a year after The Beatles' 1970 breakup, airs tonight at 8 p.m. CST on NPT.

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