Sign up with your email address to be the first to know about new products, VIP offers, blog features & more.

You are viewing YOKO ONO

LEGENDARY LABEL EXECUTIVE JOE SMITH DEAD AT 91

By Posted on 0 , 11

Joe Smith, a former label boss with Warner Bros., Elektra and Capitol Records, has died at the age of 91.

He was head of Warners during the period of signing Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, the Doobie Brothers and others. Later, as head of Capitol, he wrote the 1988 book Off the Record: An Oral History of Popular Music, which featured interviews with Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Elton John, Neil Diamond, Billy Joel and others he was associated with. He also worked directly with first George Harrison and later Paul McCartney.

As a young jazz fan, Smith got his start in the music industry as a DJ before joining Warner Bros. in 1960 as a promotions executive. He became president 12 years later, before moving to sister company Elektra in 1975. He announced his retirement in 1983 but became boss of Capitol in 1987, before retiring for good in 1993.

“I’m so fortunate to have gotten out when I got out of it because there’s no fun anymore,” Smith told Variety in 2015. “We were there during a great time, and [then] it hit a wall. … I loved what I was doing, then it was time to hang it up. … The record business fell apart when you could get music for nothing.”

He recalled that the “best time was building Warner Bros. It was dumbfoundingly dull when we got there. … We bought Reprise, and Mo [Ostin] came aboard and the two of us had this magic run.”

Smith noted that the Grateful Dead were his “most important signing” because “we were changing from the Petula Clark-Frank Sinatra company to what was happening in music.”


ON THIS DAY: JOHN LENNON ATTENDED THE PRODUCTION SGT.PEPPER´S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND ON THE ROAD

By Posted on 0 9

On this day: 16 November, 1974:  John Lennon attended the New York City production of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Road.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Road was a 1974 off-Broadway production directed by Tom O’Horgan. It opened at the Beacon Theatre in New York on November 17, 1974 and ran for a total of 66 performances.

The plot tells of a Candide-like rock music singer, Billy Shears, who marries Strawberry Fields. Billy loses her to death, and his own integrity to Maxwell’s Silver Hammermen, Jack, Sledge and Claw, dressed in chain mail and representing the Hells Angels of the commercial music business. Billy’s bête noire is a temptress named Lucy.

Among the original cast were Ted Neeley as Billy Shears and Alaina Reed as Lucy. David Patrick Kelly played Sgt.Pepper.

The musical would later be loosely adapted into the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band film.

John Lennon attended several rehearsals and the Opening Night performance with May Pang. It was caught on film in the original promo video for “Whatever Gets You Through The Night”. Yoko Ono also attended the performance.

 




ON THIS DAY: JOHN LENNON AND YOKO ONO MET FOR THE FIRST TIME

By Posted on 0 , 4

The exhibition was held at the Indica Gallery, in the basement of the Indica Bookshop in Mason’s Yard, just off Duke Street in Mayfair, London. The Indica was co-owned by John Dunbar, Peter Asher and Barry Miles, and was supported in its early years by Paul McCartney.

John Lennon said:

“There was a sort of underground clique in London; John Dunbar, who was married to Marianne Faithfull, had an art gallery in London called Indica, and I’d been going around to galleries a bit on me off days in between records, also to a few exhibitions in different galleries that showed sort of unknown artists or underground artists.

I got the word that this amazing woman was putting on a show the next week, something about people in bags, in black bags, and it was going to be a bit of a happening and all that. So I went to a preview the night before it opened. I went in – she didn’t know who I was or anything – and I was wandering around. There were a couple of artsy-type students who had been helping, lying around there in the gallery, and I was looking at it and was astounded. There was an apple on sale there for two hundred quid; I thought it was fantastic – I got the humor in her work immediately. I didn’t have to have much knowledge about avant-garde or underground art, the humor got me straightaway. There was a fresh apple on a stand – this was before Apple – and it was two hundred quid to watch the apple decompose. But there was another piece that really decided me for-or-against the artist: a ladder which led to a painting which was hung on the ceiling. It looked like a black canvas with a chain with a spyglass hanging on the end of it. This was near the door when you went in. I climbed the ladder, you look through the spyglass and in tiny little letters it says ‘yes’. So it was positive. I felt relieved. It’s a great relief when you get up the ladder and you look through the spyglass and it doesn’t say ‘no’ or ‘fuck you’ or something, it said ‘yes’.

I was very impressed and John Dunbar introduced us – neither of us knew who the hell we were, she didn’t know who I was, she’d only heard of Ringo, I think, it means apple in Japanese.

And Dunbar had sort of been hustling her, saying, ‘That’s a good patron, you must go and talk to him or do something.’ John Dunbar insisted she say hello to the millionaire. And she came up and handed me a card which said ‘breathe’ on it, one of her instructions, so I just went [pant]. This was our meeting.

 

Then I went up to this thing that said, ‘Hammer a nail in.’ I said, ‘Can I hammer a nail in?’ and she said no, because the gallery was actually opening the next day. So the owner, Dunbar, says, ‘Let him hammer a nail in.’ It was, ‘He’s a millionaire.

He might buy it,’ you know. She’s more interested in it looking nice and pretty and white for the opening. That’s why she never made any money on the stuff; she’s always too busy protecting it!

 

So there was this little conference and she finally said, ‘OK, you can hammer a nail in for five shillings.’

So smart-ass here says, ‘Well, I’ll give you an imaginary five shillings and hammer an imaginary nail in.’ And that’s when we really met. That’s when we locked eyes and she got it and I got it and that was it.”

 


JOHN LENNON, YOKO ONO DOCUMENTARY ‘ABOVE US ONLY SKY’ FOR HOME RELEASE

By Posted on 0 5

The film documents the couple’s unique and enduring relationship and the creation of the 1971 album ‘Imagine.’

The documentary John & Yoko: ABOVE US ONLY SKY will be released on DVD, Blu-ray and digital by Eagle Vision on 13 September. The feature-length film, directed by the Emmy Award-winning Oscar nominee Michael Epstein, tells the untold story of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s unique and enduring relationship and the creation of the 1971 album Imagine.

The film explores the way that John and Yoko’s art, activism, politics and music shaped their creative and personal relationship. It features a compelling new commentary that plots the creative path that they shared en route to Imagine, to the innovative film of the same name and to Ono’s remarkable Fly album. The record was produced by the pair and released in the same month as Imagine, in September 1971.

Viewers are invited to take a deep dive into previously unreleased recordings that include the first demo of the anthemic title song of Imagine. Unseen film of the time is complemented by archive and brand new interviews, including an exclusive new conversation with Yoko. ABOVE US ONLY SKY describes the challenges faced by John and Yoko in their respective childhoods and how they found redemption in their love and art.

CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF HILTON – JOHN LENNON AND YOKO ONO HELD ONE LEG OF THEIR “BED-IN” AT THE HILTON AMSTERDAM

By Posted on 0 5

The Hilton hotels became notorious for throwing huge, celebrity-studded parties to celebrate their hotels.
The Beverly Hilton hotel’s ballroom hosts the Grammy and Golden Globe Awards, which means a reliable crowd of actors, musicians, directors, models and more regularly check in.

 

John Lennon and Yoko Ono held one leg of their famous “Bed-In” at the Hilton Amsterdam while on their honeymoon in 1969 (the other part was at the Fairmont in Montreal.)
Later, John Lennon wrote the lyrics to “Imagine” on a pad of paper at the Hilton New York.
Hilton has quite a few firsts in its history.

 

 

 

 

 

ROYAL CANADIAN MINT SILVER COIN CELEBRATES 50th ANNIVERSARY OF BED-IN

By Posted on 0 , 3

In 1969, Plastic Ono Band (John Lennon and Yoko Ono) recorded Give Peace A Chance, an anti-war anthem for generations of pacifists and music fans around the world. The song was recorded live from Lennon and Ono’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel suite in downtown Montreal, where John and Yoko were holding their famous “Bed-in for Peace” protest. Fifty years later, the Mint has captured that special moment in Canadian and music history with a pure silver coin celebrating Lennon and Ono’s artistic talent and social activism, in a deal brokered by Epic Rights, the global licensing agent for John Lennon.

“For generations of Canadians, the music and lyrics of John Lennon and Yoko Ono have been a source of pleasure and inspiration,” said Marie Lemay, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint.  “We are delighted to have crafted a coin celebrating Canada’s special connection to John and Yoko, and their lasting message of peace.”

“For the 50th anniversary of the Bed-in for Peace, we are honoured that the Royal Canadian Mint is paying tribute to a marking moment in our hotel and our city’s history by issuing a commemorative coin,” mentions David Connor, Regional Vice-President and General Manager, Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth. “We hope that it will help promote greater awareness about John and Yoko’s message of peace which still has strong resonance and importance today.”

The reverse design of this 99.99% pure silver coin features a rendering of Ivor Sharp’s famous black and white photograph of John and Yoko at their “Bed-In for Peace,” held in Montreal in the late spring of 1969. Dressed in pyjamas and both holding roses, they sit on a bed, with handmade peace posters hanging behind them.  The obverse features the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.
PRNewswire