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

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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

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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

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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.
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PLAQUE “YOKO ONO JOHN LENNON CAMBRIDGE 1969” HAS BEEN UNVEILED

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A new plaque has been unveiled in commemoration of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s first public gig, which took place 50 years ago at Cambridge University.
Ono held a jazz performance at Lady Mitchell Hall on March 2 1969 – John joined her as “her band”.

Now, a plaque that reads “Yoko Ono John Lennon Cambridge 1969” has been unveiled to mark the event. It precedes a six-month exhibition of Ono’s work which will be displayed in various cities.
The couple’s experimental jazz concert was covered in brief in student publication The Cambridge News at the time. The report explained that Lennon sat with his back to the audience for a large portion of the 26-minute set.
Part of the article described how Ono opened with a “fearsome siren note” and wrapped up the gig with “a long series of screams”.John, meanwhile, was sat by her feet with his back to the crowd, “holding, shaking, swinging electronic guitars right up against a large speaker”.

In 1980, Lennon spoke to the BBC about the Cambridge concert. “The audience were very weird, because they were all these sort of intellectual artsy-fartsies from Cambridge,” he said, but added that they “were totally solid.”
Gabriella Daris, an art historian and curator of the forthcoming Ono exhibition said: “There’s very little to commemorate this other than a press report, word of mouth and the actual recording.”
A recording of Lennon and Ono’s set, called Cambridge 1969, was played out in the Lady Mitchell Hall foyer as the plaque, gifted to the university by Daris, was unveiled  (March 2) on the 50th anniversary of the concert.
‘Yoko Ono: Looking For….’ exhibition, which opens in June and runs until the end 2019, will feature more than 90 works by Ono.

nme

A&E WILL PREMIERE: JOHN AND YOKO: ABOVE US ONLY SKY

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A&E will premiere the two-hour special John and Yoko: Above Us Only Sky next month as part of the network’s “Biography” strand.

The film follows the making of John Lennon’s 1971 solo album Imagine, exploring the politically divided time in which he recorded it.

John and Yoko also puts emphasis on the creative collaboration between Lennon and Ono, using the couple’s belief in radical engagement to draw parallels between past and present.

The special features interviews with Yoko Ono, Julian Lennon, photographer David Bailey, gallerist John Dunbar (who introduced the couple), Lennon’s former personal assistant Dan Richter and studio designer Eddie Veale.

John and Yoko: Above Us Only Sky is produced by Eagle Rock Films in association with A&E Network. Peter Worsley serves as producer, with Geoff Kempin and Terry Shand serving as executive producers.

The doc premieres March 11 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on A&E.

Watch a preview clip below:

 

ON THIS DAY: US SINGLE RELEASE: ” INSTANT KARMA”

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On this day: 1970 , US single release: ‘Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)’/’Who Has Seen The Wind’.

Released as a single on Apple Records in February 1970. The lyric focuses on a concept in which the causality of one’s actions is immediate rather than borne out over a lifetime. The single was credited to “Lennon/Ono with the Plastic Ono Band”, apart from in the US, where the credit was “John Ono Lennon”. The song reached the top five in the British and American singles charts, competing with the Beatles’ “Let It Be” in the US, where it became the first solo single by a member of the band to sell a million copies.

“Instant Karma!” was conceived, written, recorded and released within a period of ten days, making it one of the fastest-released songs in pop music history. The recording was produced by Phil Spector, marking a comeback for the American producer after his self-imposed retirement in 1966, and leading to him being offered the producer’s role on the Beatles’ Let It Be album. Recorded at London’s Abbey Road Studios, “Instant Karma!” employs Spector’s signature Wall of Sound technique and features contributions from George Harrison, Klaus Voormann, Alan White and Billy Preston. The B-side was “Who Has Seen the Wind?”, a song composed and performed by Yoko Ono. When released in the US, the single was given a minor remix by Spector.

Recently shorn of the long hair synonymous with their 1969 campaign for world peace, Lennon and Ono promoted the single with an appearance on Britain’s Top of the Pops five days after its release. The song received positive reviews and is considered by some music critics to be among the finest recordings from Lennon’s solo career. A live performance recorded at his and Ono’s “One to One” concerts in August 1972 was included on the posthumously released Live in New York City (1986). Paul Weller, Duran Duran and U2 are among the acts who have covered “Instant Karma!” Its chorus also inspired the title to Stephen King’s 1977 novel The Shining.

Although still officially a member of the Beatles, Lennon had privately announced his departure from the band in September 1969. He was keen to issue “Instant Karma!” immediately as a single, the third under his and Ono’s Plastic Ono Band moniker. The recording session took place at Abbey Road Studios in north-west London, on the evening of 27 January. Lennon’s fellow musicians at the session were Harrison, Klaus Voormann, Alan White and Billy Preston– all of whom had performed at the December 1969 Peace for Christmas Concert, as part of the Plastic Ono Supergroup. The recording engineer for “Instant Karma!” was EMI mainstay Phil McDonald.[38] Spector produced the session, arriving late after Harrison had found him at Apple’s office and persuaded him to attend.

According to author Bruce Spizer, the line-up for the basic track, before overdubs, was Lennon (vocals, acoustic guitar), Harrison (electric guitar), Preston (organ), Voormann (bass) and White (drums). Lennon later recalled of the recording: “Phil (Spector) came in and said, ‘How do you want it?’ And I said, ‘1950s’ and he said ‘Right’ and BOOM! … he played it back and there it was.” The song uses a similar amount of echo to 1950s Sun Records recordings.

[T]here was this little guy walking around with “PS” on his shirt, and I was thinking, “Who is this guy?” … When he turned on the playback [after recording], it was just incredible. First, it was ridiculously loud, but also there was the ring of all these instruments and the way the song had such motion. As a first experience of the difference from the way you played it to the sound in the control room, it was overwhelming. And I knew immediately who he was – Phil Spector.

– Klaus Voormann, describing his first experience of working with Spector and his Wall of Sound technique

The musicians recorded ten takes, the last of which was selected for overdubbing. To create what Spector biographer Mark Ribowsky terms a “four-man Wall of Sound” production, Lennon added grand piano onto the basic track, while Harrison and White shared another piano and Voormann played electric piano. In addition, Beatles aide Mal Evans overdubbed chimes (or tubular bells) and White added a second, muffled drum part.[51] Rather than an instrumental solo over the third verse, Lennon vocalised a series of what Urish and Bielen term “grunts and moan” Lennon felt that the chorus was missing something, and so Preston and Evans were sent to a nearby nightclub to bring in a group of people to provide backing vocals. These newcomers and all the musicians, along with Allen Klein, then added chorus vocals, with Harrison directing the singing.

Although Lennon and Spector disagreed over the bass sound, Lennon was delighted with the producer’s work on “Instant Karma”. White’s drums assumed the role of a lead instrument, positioned prominently in the mix. Spector biographer Richard Williams wrote in 1972: “No Beatles record had ever possessed such a unique sound; Spector had used echo to make the drums reverberate like someone slapping a wet fish on a marble slab, and the voices sounded hollow and decayed.” Spector wanted to add a string section to the track in Los Angeles, but Lennon insisted that the recording was complete.

Having only recently returned to producing, after the commercial failure of Ike & Tina Turner’s 1966 single “River Deep – Mountain High” in America, Spector had “passed the audition”, according to Beatles Forever author Nicholas Schaffner. “Instant Karma!” was the first of many Beatles-related recordings that Spector worked on during the early 1970s. Lennon and Harrison were sufficiently impressed with his production on the song that they asked Spector to work on the tapes for the Beatles’ final album release, Let It Be, and then to produce their respective 1970 solo albums, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and All Things Must Pass.