Lennon, the upcoming musical built around the songs of John Lennon, will feature a pair of his unreleased works. Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono granted the show’s writer and director Don Scardino permission to use “India India” and “I Don’t Want to Lose You” during a recent meeting.
“We were going over the calendar and talking about how the show was moving forward when suddenly out of the blue she said, ‘You know, I have these songs that might be perfect,'” Scardino says. “Of course I was jumping out of my skin with the possibility, but casually I said, ‘Oh sure, that sounds good.'”
“India India” was written during the Beatles’ famed 1968 trip to meet with the Maharishi. “It’s about coming to India and trying to follow his heart, but knowing that his heart was really back in England where his love waited,” Scardino says. “I guess he didn’t release it at the time because it would have blown the lid off his feelings for Yoko. His [first] wife [Cynthia] was with him. It’s a beautiful, lilting sort of melody — really pretty.”
Lennon recorded a piano-and-vocals demo of “I Don’t Want to Lose You” late in his solo career. “At one point, Yoko suggested it for the reconstituted Beatles’ Anthology stuff, along with ‘Real Love’ and ‘Free as a Bird,'” says Scardino, “but they couldn’t get a clean track out of it.”