When John Lennon and Yoko Ono recorded the album “Imagine” in the Manhattan recording studio Record Plant, Long Island real estate agent Arlene Reckson was working in the music industry.
Reckson, 71, who was Record Plant’s nighttime receptionist before climbing the ranks to studio manager, tells her story on a page of the book, “Imagine John Yoko,” released in October by Grand Central Publishing. The hardcover book, curated by Yoko Ono, offers insight into the 1971 album by those involved in its making.
Reckson was asked to come in on a Sunday. "The Philharmonic" was coming in to record some strings. (That would be members of the New York Philharmonic.) She was sitting at her desk when Lennon and Ono walked in, Reckson recalls.
“I think with celebrity, there’s an assumption that we know them,” says Reckson, who lives in Amagansett and sells luxury real estate for The Corcoran Group. “They become, you know, part of our lives.”
The Beatles created the culture of the time, Reckson says. “They were much more than a band that you just listened to on the radio — they influenced everything in your life,” she says.
Record Plant had a familial atmosphere, she says. Most other studios she saw at the time were factory-like settings with fluorescent lighting, she adds. “Up until that time, studios were very sterile, and they were very corporate,” she says. “There was nothing comforting about them. You were there to do business.”
At Record Plant, with a setting that felt more like someone's home, guests would come in and never want to leave, Reckson says.
But Reckson did leave, eventually. By the time she was studio manager, a new door had opened: She would work for record companies — listen to tapes and hear groups perform. Later, she would make the switch to real estate, but she remembers her time at Record Plant fondly.
“When they finished mixing ‘Imagine,’ they invited me to come into the control room — to listen to 'Imagine' as an album for the first time — with John and Yoko,” the book reads. “There was only a handful of us ... It’s my favorite moment of my life.”
Lennon, who was gunned down in 1980 outside his Upper West Side apartment building, would have turned 78 on Oct. 9.