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John Lennon wished Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen had played on Cold Turkey instead of Eric Clapton

[L-R] John Lennon, Rick Nielsen and Eric Clapton
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Cold Turkey was John Lennon's second solo single – released under the Plastic Ono Band moniker – and was particularly notable for its six-string contributions from Eric Clapton.

But, as it happens, the Beatles icon reportedly once suggested that another guitarist, Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen, would have been a better choice for the track.

In a new interview with Classic Rock magazine, Nielsen recalls how, during the recording sessions for Lennon's fifth and final album, 1980's Double Fantasy, the Beatle was impressed by his playing.

“I was in the studio, playing, and John looked at [Double Fantasy co-producer] Jack Douglas and said, ‘God, I wish I’d had Rick on Cold Turkey. Clapton choked up,’” he says.

Nielsen and fellow Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos were recruited by Douglas – who also produced their 1977 debut album – to perform on Double Fantasy's fifth track, I'm Losing You

The version with Nielsen and Carlos didn't appear on the album's initial release, but was later included on 1998’s John Lennon Anthology box set. Cheap Trick later covered the track on their 2001 live album, Silver.

The band are set to pay tribute to Lennon once again on upcoming album, In Another World, with a cover of Lennon's 1971 Imagine track Gimme Some Truth – and for the recording, the four-piece recruited former Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones.

“I’ve known Steve for a long time and Cheap Trick always loved the Sex Pistols,” Nielsen told Classic Rock. “Their approach was so alien from what we were doing, but it still had that raw power. I asked if he wanted to play on a track with us, he liked the idea of the song, and it worked out perfectly. Now we can’t get rid of the guy!”

Sam Roche

Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.