Book Review: Confessions of a Rock ‘N’ Roll Name Dropper: My Life Leading Up to John Lennon’s Last Interview by Laurie Kaye

Book Review: Confessions of a Rock ‘N’ Roll Name Dropper: My Life Leading Up to John Lennon’s Last Interview by Laurie Kaye

By Shelley L. Germeaux

Confessions of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Name Dropper: My Life Leading Up to John Lennon’s Last Interview, released December 8, 2023, is Laurie Kaye’s 219-page memoir about her career in radio and the many rock stars she interviewed. The central focus of the book is her extraordinary experience interviewing John Lennon on December 8, 1980, hours before he was shot and killed. Referring to it as the “best day of her life and also the worst”, it has taken her decades to decide to write out her memories.

This interview was done by RKO radio, when John and Yoko were promoting their new album, Double Fantasy. Laurie was part of the RKO team with Dave Sholin and Bert Keane. For perspective, the Lennons had done other major interviews for radio and print that week, with Andy Peebles for the BBC on the 6th, and Jonathon Cott on the 5th for Rolling Stone. But this almost 2-hour interview with RKO was the very last one John gave, and is available on YouTube. Laurie can be heard asking several questions, and at one point the noise of the little toy she brought for John and Yoko’s son Sean is noticeable, which she references in her book.

The first chapter opens with her excitement at coming to John and Yoko’s New York apartment
at the Dakota, and what it was like as they set up for the interview. The final two chapters describe the interview in detail, which resulted in a radio special called John Lennon: The Man, the Memory. She recounts various parts of the upbeat conversation with the couple, but also shares her personal excitement at coming face-to-face with the former Beatle, after his five-year hiatus from the media. His jovial and positive attitude that day calmed her nerves and made a deep impact on her. The reader would be forgiven for allowing their own heart to race at her flushed description of John sitting next to her on the love seat throughout the interview.

The middle chapters go back to childhood and progress through her radio career. Among many other recollections about various rock stars, she devotes a section to Elvis Presley, describing her visit to Sun Records and Graceland on her honeymoon, and includes comments of John, Paul and George about Elvis, gleaned during her interviews with them.

Her accomplishments include writing and co-producing a 14-hour special, RKO Presents the Beatles, in the late 70s. She interviewed Paul and Linda McCartney in London, & George Harrison over the phone, and a good deal of those conversations are included in this book.

Tragically, John’s future killer was outside and harassed her as she left the Dakota after the interview, a memory that still haunts her. What was supposed to be the crowning glory of her career also turned into the biggest nightmare of her life, and she shares her difficulty going back to work after John’s murder. The trauma has followed her ever since that night.

Her book is a special piece of rock and roll history that can only be told from a interviewer’s perspective, who is also a fan; but it also serves as a cathartic expression of her meeting with John, that ended in tragedy.

Laurie’s book is available on Amazon, and has now been released as an audiobook on Audible.


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