Can you identify John Lennon’s mystery radio?

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Robert Yowell, who writes:

Hi Thomas – you might recall several years ago I found a photo of a Sony ICF-2001 in the New York studio where John Lennon was recording his final album “Double Fantasy.”

Well I just recently found this photo of John Lennon which I believe is dated to the late 1970’s [correction: the photo was actually taken in November, 1980, just a few days before his death] tuning an unknown brand of portable radio. Do you think your readers might be able to identify it?

All the best,


Thanks for sharing this, Robert! No doubt, this will be a difficult radio to ID since we can’t see the front of it. Then again, we’ve some savvy radio enthusiasts here in the SWLing Post community! If you think you can ID this radio, please comment!

Spread the radio love

9 thoughts on “Can you identify John Lennon’s mystery radio?

  1. Mike

    Anybody want to search just a little more?

    The radio on the museum page looks like the bottom of the radio is flat and squared off. If you look closely at the second photo of John Lennon, it appears as though the bottom of the radio has a small indentation around the bottom edges of the radio where the very edge sits off the table (stool).

    Just my observation for now

  2. James Patterson

    Cant beat those old analoge portable radios made to last for ever.I bet the one in the photo still operates as new !

  3. KChye

    JL seemed to like radios. He had a SONY ICF- 2001 on a desk in front of him in the studio at about the time he was recording Double Fantasy.

      1. Ayar

        When you wrote that the location of the photo was in Soho/NY, I thought that this should narrow the search to either a US brand, or a Japanese one! I have seen some models from early 1970’s that look like this , including some UK and Japanese models, but they had the antenna position on the other side.
        So I started looking for US transistor radios beginning from 1970. When I reached the first search results page of 1971, the radio immediately caught my eyes with its distinct 3 knobs on the front, the leather handle with metallic covers, the antenna position (on the left side) and most importantly, the “EXT ANT” connector on the right side. Bingo! There was Lennon’s radio!

        Being old enough to remember the 70’s, has its advantages I guess! 🙂

    1. Robert

      Thanks – just a note about “Soho” – the photo was taken at a gallery in Soho New York City, not Soho London.


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