In the first half of 1981, when the world was united in grief over the death of John Lennon, sales of all of his records understandably soared. Perhaps one of the most chilling aspects of the situation was that John was having the new hit singles from the just-released Double Fantasy album with Yoko Ono that he would have had anyway — he just wasn’t there to witness them.
As ‘(Just Like) Starting Over’ spent the last of its 22 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, on which it had a five-week run at No. 1, and with the No. 2 hit ‘Woman’ only halfway through its chart life, sheer public demand led to another single release from the album, ‘Watching The Wheels.’ The gentle and autobiographical song about Lennon’s happy retirement from public life in the second half of the 1970s entered the US chart on 28 March 1981.
Ono’s track ‘Walking On Thin Ice,’ which she and John had completed on the very day that he was murdered, was also in a modest chart run of its own at the time, a ten-week sequence in which the song peaked at No. 58. But ‘Watching The Wheels’ became the more substantial hit — surprisingly, not in the UK, where it only made No. 30, but in America the song hit No. 10, Lennon’s seventh solo top ten hit in his adopted home.
‘Wheels’ was recorded during the Double Fantasy sessions in August 1980, and completed early in September. It featured a number of notable players, including bassist Tony Levin, drummer Andy Newmark and guitarists Earl Slick and Hugh McCracken. “The whole universe is a wheel, right?” said John about the song, in one of his last interviews. “Wheels go round and round. They’re my own wheels, mainly. But, you know, watching meself is like watching everybody else. And I watch meself through my child [Sean] too…and the hardest thing is facing yourself. “It’s easier to shout about ‘Revolution’ and ‘Power To The People’ than it is to look at yourself and try to find out what’s real inside you and what isn’t, when you’re pulling the wool over your own eyes. That’s the hardest one.”
From May 2018, the Museum of Liverpool will show a ground-breaking exhibition, exploring the personal and creative chemistry of this iconic couple and their ongoing Imagine Peace campaign.
Double Fantasy – John & Yoko, at Museum of Liverpool from May 18, 2018 to April 22, 2019, is a free exhibition, celebrating the meeting of two of the world’s most creative artists who expressed their deep and powerful love for one another through their art, music and film. They used their fame and influence to campaign for peace and human rights across the world, transforming not only their own lives, but art, music and activism forever.
Featuring personal objects alongside art, music and film produced by John and Yoko, the exhibition is drawn from Yoko’s own private collection, some of which has never been displayed.
Yoko Ono Lennon said: “I am so happy and grateful that we are having our Double Fantasy -John & Yoko show in Liverpool.“This is where John was born and I know John would be very happy too.“We were a very simple couple just loving each other every day and I just wanted to show the simple truth of us.“In our personal life we were pretty simple people, and we made all sorts of things with love for each other. Everything was made out of love.“We found that we were both very strongly interested in world peace. I feel John and I are still working together. I always feel his warmth next to me.”
Taking a chronological journey, the exhibition starts with two unique individuals – a leading figure in the avant-garde art world and a global rock ‘n’ roll star. From a tender first meeting at Indica Gallery in London, it was 18 months later that the album, Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins was issued. What followed was breathtaking in its rapidity and productivity until John’s tragic and untimely death on 8 Dec 1980.
Through interviews, quotes and lyrics, the story of their personal and creative relationship along with their political activism and peace campaigning, will be told in their own words for the very first time.
From the intimate to the iconic, the exhibition brings together unmissable objects and artworks including:
Hand-written lyrics by John Lennon, including In My Life, Give Peace a Chance, Happy Xmas (War is Over) and Woman.
Grapefruit –Yoko’s artist book, which she gave to John as a gift in 1966. Published in 1964, the book represents a seminal piece of conceptual art and was a direct influence on the lyrics and ideas behind Imagine.
Original artwork by both, including Yoko’s Ceiling Painting/Yes Painting, Painting to Hammer A Nail and Apple, as well as The Daily Howl, a hand-made book by John from his childhood and numerous examples of his distinctive line drawings. The exhibition also features conceptual work the couple produced together, such as War is Over, Plastic Ono Band, and elements of their first collaboration Acorn Peace.
Many personal items, such as John’s wire-rimmed glasses, Yoko’s large Porsche sunglasses, iconic items of clothing, such as John’s New York City t-shirt, and items from their wedding outfits.
An extremely rare Sardonyx guitar used by John on the album, Double Fantasy, and the acoustic Gibson guitar, illustrated on by John, from their 1969 Bed-Ins.
John’s hard-won Green Card.
Items from the couple’s famous 1969 Bed-Ins in Amsterdam and Montreal.
A rolling programme of the films that John and Yoko created, and music videos made under Yoko’s supervision. A music room, overlooking the Mersey with the couple’s albums played for visitors will feature album cover art.
A recreation of the Imagine mosaic circle in Strawberry Fields, Central Park, New York. An intimate and contemplative space, it will also reflect on the global impact of John’s death.
Sharon Granville, Director of the Exhibition for National Museums Liverpool said: “We have worked closely with Yoko and her team for several years to tell an intimate story of the couple’s relationship and work, using her and John’s words wherever it was possible. Setting this against a backdrop of the volatile late 1960s – Vietnam War, civil rights protests and social unrest and revolution across Europe and the USA – reveals just how creatively and bravely the couple harnessed their fame and influence to express their radical ideas, challenge preconceptions of the role of artists in society and promote universal themes of peace, love and equality, which continue to have strong resonance and importance today.”
Liverpool remained with John throughout his life. Testament to this is Yoko’s own longstanding connection to the city and her decision to have this incredibly personal exhibition celebrating their life and work at the Museum of Liverpool.
Double Fantasy – John & Yoko is a major part of Liverpool’s celebration of its 10th anniversary as European Capital of Culture.
This exhibition has been made possible with the kind permission of Yoko Ono Lennon.
The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus presented by OWC takes over The Belmont in Austin, TX at SXSW for two whole days of peace, love and creativity! Stop by the Lennon Bus Lounge and Official SXSW showcase on March 14th followed by the Come Together for Education event with the Texas Association of School Administrators, Nearpod and OWC on March 15th featuring special guests Hanson.
John Lennon used to have a Honda Monkey bike as well as a Mercedes 600 Pullman and a psychedelic Rolls-Royce. He bought the bike new in 1969, and used it to ride around the premises of his country house near Ascot, England. The 49cc Z50A is one of the earlier Monkeys, as the model line was originally introduced in the mid-Sixties and made commercially available in England by 1967. Monkeys or other Z-series mini bikes are still being made.
The fantastic thing is that the bike is still as rough and dirty as Lennon left it, when he sold it in 1971, at the same time as he sold the house and moved to New York. In the early ’70s, his celebrity status was so strong that the family purchasing the bike decided to just store it, instead of running it to the ground. Well, any further into the ground than Lennon had — there’s certainly some patina on the bike.
However, it runs, the frame and the powertrain are numbers matching, and it’s still registered with the original plate. That all will probably translate into a final auction price that would buy you a boatload of old Honda Monkey bikes: The estimate ranges from $28,000 to $55,800, and even the starting bid is almost $14k. The Monkey is part of a National Motorcycle Museum auction held on March 4 in Solihull, England.
UK-based finance, production and sales outfit Evolutionary Films has closed a slew of deals on two of the titles on its slate.
Music documentary Looking For Lennon has sold to North America (SP Releasing), China (Lemon Tree), Italy (Koch Media), Brazil (Globosat), Spain (Vertice) and Poland (Against Gravity). Garry Popper is producing the film which is being directed by Roger Appleton.
The company is also looking to ramp up its UK distribution activities one year after it launched its releasing arm. Looking For Lennon and Vengeance will be released in April and May, respectively, as the company aims to release a film every week in the UK through the end of the year.
As passionate and visionary artists, Molecule 8 is setting new standards in craftsmanship with its commitment to life-like imagery and the highest quality production. The company will incorporate the singer-songwriter’s likeness in a global, limited edition collectible figure represented in sixth scale (12 inches). The John Lennon Figure will be available April 2018.
“The John Lennon Molecule 8 figures highlight a delicate balance of creativity, quality and artistry,” said Lisa Streff, EVP of Global Licensing at Epic Rights. “The team at Molecule 8 are well known for creating figures of the highest quality that are eagerly sought by collectors and fans.”
“We are honoured to have been approved by Yoko Ono and Epic Rights to develop a line of distinct premium collectibles under the John Lennon brand,” said Vijay Chadha, CEO of Molecule 8. “In addition to the sixth scale figure of Mr. Lennon, our team is developing a unique assortment of pieces that will speak to the genius, character, and passions that defined John Lennon, both as an artist and as a man.”
About Epic Rights
Epic Rights is a leading music industry artist services company representing many top artists and providing a broad scope of services, including: retail and brand licensing, official artist ecommerce shops, VIP ticketing, official fan communities, and concert merchandising.
Epic Rights is headquartered in West Hollywood, California. For more information, visit: www.epicrights.com.
Molecule8 was formed in 2015 with a passionate vision to deliver the most life like, visually engaging and advanced collectible products in the world. Its leading team of artists specialize in the production, marketing and distribution of museum-grade licensed collectibles. With locations in London, Tokyo, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, its global business presence offers extensive experience working with multinational brands across a broad spectrum of the entertainment industry and beyond.
For further inquiries, please contact email@example.com and visit Molecule8.com Follow Molecule8 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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