The mostly-instrumental ‘Beef Jerky’ was an album track on John Lennon’s fifth solo album Walls And Bridges, and was also the b-side to his single ‘Whatever Gets You Thru The Night’.
‘Beef Jerky’ was one of the songs rehearsed prior to the full recording sessions for Walls And Bridges. In July 1974 Lennon brought the session musicians together at Los Angeles’ Sunset Studios and New York’s Record Plant East, where at least 10 different songs were worked on.
Walls And Bridges was recorded in New York in July and August 1974. ‘Beef Jerky’ was a funk-and-blues performance based around some jagged guitar riffs and a soulful brass arrangement which harks back to George Harrison’s White Album song ‘Savoy Truffle’.
The central guitar riff for ‘Beef Jerky’ had previously appeared in a home demo Lennon recorded in 1973 of the Mind Games track ‘Tight A$’. Lennon performed the part alongside guitar virtuoso Jesse Ed Davis; the sleeve notes credits Davis along with “Dr Winston and Booker Table and the Maître d’s”.
One of the licks also had echoes from an unlikely source: Paul McCartney’s ‘Let Me Roll It’, from 1974’s Band On The Run, itself widely believed to be inspired by the stark John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band sound.