Tag Archives: John Lennon

Plastic Ono Some Time New York City

Plastic Ono Some Time New York City

John Lennon
Released June 12, 1972
“New York City” live @ Madison Square Garden Que pasa, New York?
Plastic Ono Some Time New York City
The photo was taken by Lennon’s photographer and friend Bob Gruen August 29, 1974 at Lennon’s rented New York penthouse apartment.
Plastic Ono Some Time New York City

Life after the Beatles

The last Beatle album, Let It Be, was  already more than two years old. Each of the individual Beatles had been active since the breakup. Elvis met President Nixon and asked for a badge to be a drug czar. The FBI was investigating Lennon to back up a plan to deport him.

Life for John Lennon and Yoko Ono had become political. It is no surprise that Some Time in New York City happened.

Ironically, Lennon pursued this political avenue at the same time that traditional political singers such as Joan Baez and Judy Collins had moved away. No matter.

Plastic Ono Some Time New York City

In Your Face

The album was not a subtle one and smacked us right in the face with its first track: “Woman Is Nigger of the World.” To say some stations wouldn’t play it is an understatement.  The National Organization for Women awarded Lennon and Ono a “Positive Image of Women” citation for the song’s “strong pro-feminist statement” in August 1972.

The album cover resembled a newspaper with articles reflecting the songs. I’m sure the picture of President Nixon and Chairman Mao dancing nude didn’t help get Lennon off of Nixon’s Enemies List.

Plastic Ono Some Time New York City

Plastic Ono Some Time New York City

Some Time in New York City

It was a double-album with the second disc live material. The studio tracks were the main statements. All were co-written by Lennon & Ono except where noted:

Side one
  1. “Woman Is the Nigger of the World”
  2. “Sisters, O Sisters” (Ono)
  3. “Attica State”
  4. “Born in a Prison” (Ono)
  5. “New York City” (Lennon)
Side two
  1. “Sunday Bloody Sunday”
  2. “The Luck of the Irish”
  3. “John Sinclair” (Lennon)
  4. “Angela”
  5. “We’re All Water” (Ono)

Yoko Ono’s influence, presence, and art continued to rankle some fans and critics. Even today it seems de rigueur and reflexive at the mention of her name for many to mock and demean her.

Rolling Stone magazine still held powerful sway over what fans felt. Stephen Holden’s July 20, 2972 review read in part, ““except for ‘John Sinclair’ the songs are awful. The tunes are shallow and derivative and the words little more than sloppy nursery-rhymes that patronise the issues and individuals they seek to exalt. Only a monomaniacal smugness could allow the Lennons to think that this witless doggerel wouldn’t insult the intelligence and feelings of any audience.”

Time has been kinder than Holden, but still few today think of this work as Lennon’s best. [All Music review] [Ultimate Classic Rock review]

Having said that, Lennon on a bad day is far better than nearly all of us on any day.

Plastic Ono Some Time New York City
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John Yoko Give Peace Chance

John Yoko Give Peace Chance

June 1, 1969

John Yoko Give Peace Chance

John Yoko Give Peace Chance

Apolitical Beatles

While the Beatles as a group typically remained apolitical, their fame visibility, and life style put them on the world stage whether they wanted to be there or not.

1969 and the Vietnam war continued despite new President Nixon’s promises to end it. The Beatles were still recording as a group (they’d begin the Abbey Road  album  in exactly a month) and were still controversial (radio stations were banning the “Balled Of John and Yoko” because of the line “Christ you know it ain’t easy.”)

John Yoko Give Peace Chance

John & Yoko

It seemed the more others criticized Yoko Ono and her supposed negative impact on The Beatles, the more John fell in love with her and wanted to prove to the world he wasn’t listening to those criticisms.

John and Yoko had married on March 20, 1969 and began a number of peaceful events to promote peace and end war. In an Amsterdam interview he said: What we’re really doing is sending out a message to the world, mainly to the youth, especially the youth or anybody really that’s interested in protesting for peace, or protesting against any forms of violence and we say everybody’s getting a bit heavy or bit intellectual about it. Everybody’s talking about peace, but nobody’s doing anything about it, except for a few people, and the things like the Grosvenor Square marches in London. The end product of it was just newspaper stories about riots and fighting. And we did the bed event in Amsterdam and the Bag Piece in Vienna just to give people an idea, that there’s many ways of protest and this is one of them. And anybody could grow their hair for peace or give up a week of their holiday for peace or sit in a bag for peace, protest against peace anyway, but peacefully. Because we think that peace is only got by peaceful methods and that to fight the establishment with their own weapons is no good, because they always win and they’d been winning for thousands of years. They know how to play the game ‘violence’ and it’s easier for them when they can recognize you and shoot you. They don’t know how to handle humor, and peaceful humor. And that’s our message really.

John Yoko Give Peace Chance

Toronto Bed-In


 One of these events, a Bed In, took place in Toronto and on June 1, 1969 they recorded “Give Peace a Chance” while in their room with several others helping such as including Timothy Leary, Petula Clark, Dick Gregory, Allen Ginsberg, DJ Murry the K, Derek Taylor, and Tommy Smothers. Smothers also played acoustic guitar with Lennon.

John Yoko Give Peace Chance

Recording song

The recording became the first single released by Lennon while still a Beatle. It was even credited at first as a Lennon-McCartney tune.

Lennon and Ono performed the song live on September 13, 1969 at the Toronto Peace Festival. Their band was called the Plastic Ono Band and included Klaus Voorman, Alan White, and Eric Clapton.

John Yoko Give Peace Chance

Ev’rybody’s talking about
Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism
This-ism, that-ism, is-m, is-m, is-m

All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

C’mon
Ev’rybody’s talking about Ministers
Sinisters, Banisters and canisters
Bishops and Fishops and Rabbis and Pop eyes
And bye bye, bye byes

All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Let me tell you now
Ev’rybody’s talking about
Revolution, evolution, masturbation
Flagellation, regulation, integrations
Meditations, United Nations
Congratulations

All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Ev’rybody’s talking about
John and Yoko, Timmy Leary, Rosemary
Tommy Smothers, Bobby Dylan, Tommy Cooper
Derek Taylor, Norman Mailer
Alan Ginsberg, Hare Krishna
Hare, Hare Krishna

All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

John Yoko Give Peace Chance

Legacy

The song has become one of the most powerful peace songs ever written and is still sung today.

John Yoko Give Peace Chance

More about John & Yoko in Canada via The Conversation dot com

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John Paul Record Ballad

John Paul Record Ballad

John and Cynthia


John Lennon met Cynthia Powell wen they were students at Liverpool Art College in 1957. In 1962, she became pregnant. John apparently said “There’s only one thing for it Cyn – we’ll have to get married and on  August 23 that’s exactly what they did.  


On the verge of succeeding as a band particularly with many female teenagers, manager Brian Epstein kept the marriage low key.


On April 8, 1963 Julian Lennon was born.


John Paul Record Ballad

John meets Yoko


On November 7, 1966, John  visited the Indica Gallery in London. He met Yoko Ono displaying her art.


Ballad of John and Yoko
poster for Yoko’s exhibition

Of that meeting, John later reflected, The old gang of mine was over the moment I met her. I didn’t consciously know it at the time, but that’s what was going on. As soon as I met her, that was the end of the boys, but it so happened that the boys were well known and weren’t just the local guys at the bar.” (from All We Are Saying, by David Sheff)


On November 8, 1968 Cynthia Lennon and John divorced.  Cynthia had filed for divorce in August 1968 no longer able to ignore John and Yoko’s relationship.


On November 21, 1968,  Yoko suffered a miscarriage.


John Paul Record Ballad

John Yoko marry


On March 20, 1969 John and Yoko married in Gibraltar.

John Paul Record Ballad

Ballad of John and Yoko



On April 14, 1969, John Lennon and Paul McCartney recorded “The Ballad of John and Yoko.” John had written the song in the days following his and Yoko’s marriage. Work on the Let It Be album had often been contentious among the then less-than-Fab Four.


A break-up was imminent, but Paul McCartney later reflected, “John was in an impatient mood so I was happy to help. It’s quite a good song; it has always surprised me how with just the two of us on it, it ended up sounding like The Beatles.” (from Many Years From Now by Barry Miles)


They recorded the song at Abbey Road’s Studio Three in a session beginning at 2:30 pm and ending at 9 pm.


It was then mixed for stereo, and was finished and ready for release by 11 pm. According to George Martin, Yoko Ono was present in the studio, although she appears to have played no part in the recording.


John Paul Record Ballad

George Martin


George Martin later said in Anthology, “I enjoyed working with John and Yoko on The Ballad Of John And Yoko. It was just the two of them with Paul. When you think about it, in a funny kind of way it was the beginning of their own label, and their own way of recording. It was hardly a Beatle track. It was a kind of thin end of the wedge, as far as they were concerned. John had already mentally left the group anyway, and I think that was just the beginning of it all.” 


In 1966, John comments regarding the Beatles and Christianity had gotten no reaction in the UK but blew up in the American press. Some radio stations refused to play Beatle music.


Aware that the Ballad line “Christ you know it ain’t easy” could re-ignite that controversy, the song was kept “secret” until its release.


Apple released it on May 30 in the UK and on June 4 in the US. True to expectations, some top-40 US stations refused to play it and some played a version with the word “Christ” reversed in an attempt to avoid criticism.


Ironically, the Spanish government had no issue with the word Christ, but did have a problem with the line “you can get married in Gibraltar near Spain” as Spain considered Gibraltar part of Spain not the UK.


Ballad of John and Yoko
cover of John and Yoko’s wedding album

The lyrics tell the story:


Standing in the dock at Southampton
Trying to get to Holland or France
The man in the mac said
You’ve got to go back
You know they didn’t even give us a chance(chorus) Christ you know it ain’t easy
You know how hard it can be
The way things are going
They’re going to crucify meFinally made the plane into Paris
Honeymooning down by the Seine
Peter Brown call to say
You can make it O.K.
You can get married in Gibraltar near Spain(chorus)Drove from Paris to the Amsterdam Hilton
Talking in our beds for a week
The newspapers said Say what’re you doing in bed
I said we’re only trying to get us some peace(chorus)Saving up your money for a rainy day
Giving all your clothes to charity
Last night the wife said
Oh boy when you’re dead
You don’t take nothing with you but your soul, thinkMade a lightning trip to Vienna
Eating chocolate cake in a bag
The newspapers said
She’s gone to his head
They look just like two gurus in drag(chorus)Caught the early plane back to London
Fifty acorns tied in a sack
The men from the press
Said we wish you success
It’s good to have the both of you back(chorus)

John Paul Record Ballad


 

John Paul Record Ballad

 

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