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The Record That Changed My Life: Sean Ono Lennon Discusses 'The Inner Mounting Flame' by the Mahavishnu Orchestra with John McLaughlin

The Mahavishnu Orchestra with John McLaughlin
The Inner Mounting Flame (1971)

“I was about 15 or 16 when I first discovered The Inner Mounting Flame, and it really did change my life. I’d gotten into John McLaughlin through his work on Miles Davis’ album Bitches Brew. There’s even that track on there called ‘John McLaughlin.’ I’d never really been interested in be-bop, but free jazz just blew my mind, particularly things like Miles Davis’ Live Evil album, and of course John McLaughlin.

The Inner Mounting Flame really showed me how total freeform creativity could be applied to the electric guitar. And I prefer Inner Mounting Flame to later albums like Birds of Fire or the George Martin stuff like Apocalypse, because Inner Mounting Flame is less produced. You can really hear Billy Cobham and Jan Hammer’s contributions. So there’s that real purity there.”