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JOHN LENNON INTERVIEW TITTENHURST ASCOT, 1969

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The interview was filmed by ATV on December 2nd, 1969 . Tittenhurst, London Road, Sunninghill, Ascot, Berkshire, United Kingdom. The footage was broadcast in Britain on December 30th 1969.

JOHN: “You start off with, say, rock & roll in just the late fifties and sixties when all the kids including me were on James Dean and Elvis and early paranoican violence. And then that part of the trip… That’s what happens on acid, folks! Then from there you start, I don’t know, maturing or thinking about the trip. The first effects of the drug wear off, and you start coasting along a bit. And you have time to look at the trees, and that developed into the actual acid scene. The psychedelic bit, you know. And everybody was grooving around with flowers, and that. And then of course, like any drug, it wears off and you’re back to so-called reality.”

“Speaking as somebody who’s been in the drug scene, it’s not something you can go on and on doing, you know. It’s like drink, or anything, you’ve got to come to terms with it. You know, like too much food, or too much anything. You’ve got to get out of it. You’re left with yourself all the time, whatever you do– you know, meditation, drugs or anything. But you’ve got to get down to your own god and ‘your own temple in your head,’ like Donovan says. Etcetera. And it’s all down to yourself, you know.”

“It’s like the thing I was saying about ‘It starts with us.’ When it started with me, George, Paul and Ringo, and we said, ‘Listen man, here’s another field of professionalism that doesn’t need any qualifications except that you gotta get down to it, and want to do it. And you can make it in the terms of the world– the terms of reference they’re talking about. You can make it without that pressure. And everybody at the same time was finding that out, you know. I mean, I had my guitar, Mick Jagger had his in London, and Eric Burdon was up in Newcastle, and we were all going through the same changes at once. And we all discovered that the values didn’t mean a thing, you know, and you could make it without college and education and all those things. It’s nice to be able to read and write, but apart from that I never learned anything worth a damn, you know.”

“Some people have sort of discovered a new reality, and uhh, some people are still sort of confident about the future. But uhh, we two are, you know. Everybody is talking about the way it’s going, and the decadence, and the rest of it. But nobody is really… Not many people are noticing all the good that came out of the last ten years, which is the moratorium, and the vast gathering of people in Woodstock– which is the biggest mass of people ever gathered together for anything other than war! Nobody had that big of an army that didn’t kill somebody or have some kind of violent scene, like the Romans or whatever. And even a Beatle concert was more violent than that, you know, and that was just fifty-thousand. And so, the good things that came out were all this vast peaceful movement, you know.”

“The bully– that’s the establishment– they know how to beat people up. They know how to gas them, and they have the arms and the equipment. And the mistake was made that, the kids ended up playing their game of violence. And they know how to be violent. They’ve been running it on violence for the last two-thousand years, or a million or whatever it is. And nobody can tell me that violence is the way after all that time, you know. There must be another way, but alot of people fell for it. And it’s understandable in a way, ‘cuz when the bully is actually RIGHT THERE it’s pretty hard to say ‘Turn the other cheek, baby.'”

“When we were in touch with the Berkeley kids, during whatever was going on, we were peacefully doing our peace demonstration in a Montreal bed, and then we suddenly were connected by phone directly to them, you know. And they were saying, ‘Help us,’ or ‘What are we gonna do? It’s gonna go wrong,’ and this was some of the people who were organizing it. But they were saying, ‘It’s out of our control,’ and ‘What can we say?’ you know. And of course I haven’t got any solution.”

“It’s like, for peace or anything, it’s all down to this relationship. To work on this relationship with Yoko is very hard, and we’ve got the gift of love. But love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard, or just think it’s gonna get on with itself. You gotta keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it, and be careful of it, and keep the flies off and see that it’s alright, and nurture it. And to get a relationship between two people is a start. And then if we two can make it, maybe we can make it with you. And from maybe us four– you and yours– we can make it with the next four. It’s only that. There’s no sort of ANSWER.”

“I’m full of optimism because of the contacts I’ve made personally throughout the world… knowing that there’s other people around that I can agree with, you know, I’m not insane and I’m not alone. That’s just on a personal level. And of course, the Woodstock, Isle of Wight, all the mass meetings of the youth is completely positive for me. Now we’re all getting to know it. We’re all showing our flags, you know. And when you show your flag, you’re not alone. It’s like, we’ve no need to be a few christian martyrs because there’s lots of us. And don’t be afraid because they do look after ya, whoever’s up there, if you get on with it. And I’m completely positive. And when I’m negative, I’ve got Yoko– who is just as strong as me. And it helps, you know.”

“And this is only the beginning. This sixties bit was just a sniff. The sixties was just waking up in the morning, and we haven’t even got to dinner time yet. And I can’t wait, you know, I just can’t wait. I’m so glad to be around. And it’s just gonna be great and there’s gonna be more and more of us. (humorously, to the camera) And whatever you’re thinking there, Mrs. Grundy of Birmingham on toast, you know, (laughs) you don’t stand a chance! A, You’re not gonna be there when we’re running it, and B, You’re gonna like it when you get less frightened of it. And it’s gonna be wonderful, and I believe it. Of course we all get depressed and down about it, but when I’m down, or when John and Yoko is down, somebody else will be up. There’s always somebody else carrying the flag or beating the drum, you know.”

“So THEY, whoever they are, don’t stand a chance because they can’t beat love. Because all those old bits from religion about love being all-powerful is true, you know. And that’s the bit they can’t do. They can’t handle it.”

JOHN LENNON, YOKO ONO DOCUMENTAL ’24 HOURS’ AVAILABLE TO STREAM

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The short documentary about John Lennon and Yoko Ono, 24 Hours: The World of John and Yoko, is available to stream on the Coda Collection on Amazon Prime Video.

The release marks the first time the 35-minute film has been available in full since it first aired on the BBC December 15th, 1969. Directed by Paul Morrison, 24 Hours follows Ono and Lennon over five days, documenting their creative efforts and activism, including their famous campaign to promote peace. Filming took place at Lennon’s Tittenhurst Park estate, Abbey Road Studios, and the Apple Records offices.

A trailer for 24 Hours boasts clips from one of Lennon and Ono’s “Bed-ins for Peace,” as well as footage of the couple working in the studio and bundled up in the snow while watching a giant air balloon. There are also several clips of Lennon bickering with the press, telling one reporter who said she used to admire him, “You liked Hard Day’s Night, love, but I’ve grown up, but you obviously haven’t.”

The Coda Collection release of 24 Hours is accompanied by a new editorial by journalist Alan Light. He describes the doc as “a portrait of two energized and inspired artist-activists, with a strong sense of purpose and a fearless attitude, even in the face of resistance and ridicule” and “a fascinating snapshot of a hugely transitional moment for John and Yoko.”

24 Hours: The World of John and YokoWATCH H E R E .

NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN PHOTOS OF JOHN LENNON ENHANCED TO BE SOLD (MAY PANG/PERSONAL COLLECTION)

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Never-before-seen photographs of Lennon cinematically enhanced and created with AR-technology to be sold as an exclusive NFT collection Liquid Avatar Technologies Inc.,ImagineAR Inc., McCartney Multimedia Inc. and Oasis Digital Studios proudly announce a truly historical collaboration, in an effort to unveil new, never-before-seen photos of John Lennon drops for viewing today (May 10th), as part of an exclusive, first set collection of 15 photographic and animated NFTs with AR enhancements, that recount the original inspiration of Lennon’s Walls and Bridges album cover art. Music enthusiasts and John Lennon fans will be able to purchase this NFTs in two special groups, as originals, variations, and cinematics, starting May 19th, gaining digital ownership of a representation of a very personal time in his life. Majority of the photos have never been seen before and have been previously preserved as part of music history. “I’m proud to share these portraits of John, which became the inspiration for the Walls and Bridges album artwork as NFTs, allowing music fans and collectors the opportunity to own a piece of music history,” shares May Pang, artist and ex-partner of John Lennon.

“I have kept them in my personal collection for almost 50 years and I am excited to present them in this new and innovative form. I know that John, a man of music and art who was always well ahead of his time, would have been excited to experience the emergence of NFTs.” This commemorative moment is made possible by Oasis Digital Studios. The collection can be viewed via Pang’s website. “This is a historical collaboration that wouldn’t have been possible without May,” stated David Lucatch, Managing Director of Oasis and CEO of Liquid Avatar.

“It’s been an honor to work with May to share this personal collection of hers during a very cherished time in her and John’s life and open them to music fans around the world as cinematically and Augmented Reality enhanced NFTs. We’re grateful and honored to be able to bring these iconic photos to millions of John’s fans around the world.” While the album cover for Walls and Bridges featured some of Lennon’s childhood drawings, including one portraying a game of football, specifically the goal scored by George Robledo in the 1952 FA Cup Final. That drawing also featured Newcastle United’s number nine, Jackie Milburn; as a child, Lennon lived at 9 Newcastle Road and it, along with his birth date, October 9th, fueled lifelong fascination with that number.

The album also features a series of photos of Lennon’s face with different expressions. The front cover contained two flaps which, when folded, created several interchangeable “Lennon faces,” some of them silly. This is where May came in.

While discussing the creation of the album cover, Lennon and Pang had an idea. They went up to the rooftop of the Record Plant Studios where he was recording at 321 W. 44th Street in NYC, and she started to take fun and candid photographs of Lennon with her Nikon 35mm camera, capturing the playful essence that was the true John Lennon. When the photos were developed, they were well-received, but the 35mm format was not the right size for the album design requirements, and unlike digital images today, nothing could be done to change that in 1974. New photographs were taken by photographer Bob Gruen, based on the concept and designs that Lennon and Pang created. The final art for the album was credited to Capitol’s in-house designer Roy Kohara. These photographs are a combination of works done both at the Record Plant Studios and Lennon and Pang’s home rooftop.

In September 1973, while separated from second wife Yoko Ono, Lennon and Pang left New York for Los Angeles to promote Mind Games and began an 18-month relationship, which Lennon affectionately and publicly referred to this period of his life as his “Lost Weekend.” While there, Lennon embarked on a recording project — a collaboration with Phil Spector, to record and produce an album of the old rock ‘n’ roll songs that inspired Lennon to become a musician. The album, Rock ‘n’ Roll, was ultimately completed in New York using the same musicians he used on Walls and Bridges.

Walls and Bridges was Lennon’s fifth studio album and captured his mindset and feelings in the midst of the “Lost Weekend.” The album was released by Apple Records on September 26, 1974 in the United States and on October 4, 1974 in the United Kingdom. Walls and Bridges was an American No. 1 album in all three trade papers, Billboard, Cashbox and Record World and included two hit singles, “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” which hit No. 1 and was John’s first and only No. 1 hit as a solo artist in his lifetime and “#9 Dream” which fittingly peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, and No. 23 on the British singles chart. The Walls and Bridges album was certified gold in the US and silver in the UK.

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JOHN LENNON WAS MENTIONED IN THE UNDERCOVER POLICING INQUIRY

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Special Branch had ‘file open’ on John Lennon, spy cops inquiry hears.
The public inquiry into undercover policing heard some shocking evidence this week.
Special Branch detectives within the Metropolitan Police had a “file open” on John Lennon, the spy cops inquiry heard this week.

The Undercover Policing Inquiry was commissioned after shocking stories emerged about the behaviour of officers on deep undercover missions to infiltrate various political groups.

The inquiry is led by retired judge Sir John Mitting, and will examine 139 undercover officers who have spied on more than 1,000 organisations since 1968.

Allegations include that officers manipulated women, used violence and threats to conceal their identities and assumed the identities of dead children.

Last week James Scobie, QC, instructed by the Public Interest Law Centre which is representing several alleged victims, said undercover officers regularly began assuming leadership and organisational roles in groups they infiltrated.

This became common after DC Richard Layton Clark was deployed to spy on the Troops Out Movement (TOM) in 1974.

Mr Scobie detailed DC Clark’s manipulation and sexual exploitation of members of the TOM, including Richard Chessum and a woman referred to as ‘Mary’, which lead to Clark taking the highest position of power in the organisation.
Mr Scobie told the inquiry neither ‘Mary’, a 27-year-old anti-racist, women’s liberation campaigner, nor 32-year-old Methodist preacher Mr Chessum had a special branch file prior to encountering Clark and joining the TOM branch he created, and described them as “peaceful law-abiding citizens, targeted solely because of their politics”.

The inquiry heard that between March to June 1975, Clark got himself elected as the Secretary of branch, and also as a delegate to the London Co-ordinating Committee of the Movement and the All London meeting.
On September 19, 1975, at the London Co-ordinating Committee that DC Clark was a delegate to, he was elected to the Organising Committee for London – a National position.

Clark became a powerful organiser of the movement and managed the national rally where he failed to secure the attendance of any of the proposed headline acts, including John Lennon who Mr Scobie told the inquiry had a Special Branch file open.
Mr Scobie said: “Ordinary people have been involved in campaigns for a better society, for social equality, anti-racism, anti-fascism, against apartheid and for trade union rights.The best of reasons, and the best of traditions.We hope the Inquiry is ready, willing and equipped to meet that challenge. The Inquiry must be fearless and unflinching in the pursuit of the truth.The people of this country expect nothing less”.

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“WALLS & BRIDGES”: THE STORY BEHIND THE ALBUM

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Following the completion of the Mind Games album in September 1973, John Lennon separated from his wife Yoko and headed for Los Angeles to begin a period he later referred to as his ‘Lost Weekend’. In October, he began recording the ‘Back To Mono/Oldies But Mouldies’ sessions with Phil Spector and a host of L.A. session musicians that were to become the Rock ‘N’ Roll album, but the project spiralled out of control and was not eventually fixed and finished until February 1975 after he had returned to New York. But all of that was about to change, when he released his fifth studio album, Walls and Bridges, on 4 October 1974 in the UK.
In an interview he later admitted to it being a period of great depression and hell-raising behaviour. He was separated from his wife, he was fighting deportation from Nixon’s US Immigration Service who wanted to kick him out of the country, he was being sued over the dissolution of The Beatles and over alleged copyright infringement on ‘Come Together’, and Phil Spector had disappeared with the master tapes for the Rock ‘n’ Roll sessions and was nowhere to be found.

Tired of all the aggravation and seven months of the messy lifestyle in Los Angeles, John returned to New York in April 1974 with a strong determination to improve the quality of his life and lifestyle. In June he began work on his fifth studio album, Walls and Bridges, with a more professional plan. Instead of the party atmosphere that surrounded the Spector sessions, the recording sessions for Walls and Bridges were very structured and organised, devoid of booze and drugs. An environment in which John realised he truly creatively thrived.

Jimmy Iovine, overdub engineer on the album, said: “The Walls And Bridges sessions were the most professional I have been on. He was there every day, 12 o’clock to 10 o’clock, go home, off the weekends, eight weeks, done. John knew what he wanted, he knew how to get what he was going after. He was going after a noise and he knew how to get it. And for the most part, he got it. What he explained, we used to get.”
Released on 26 September 1974 in the US, Walls and Bridges became John’s second LP to top the Billboard charts, its title based on the walls around him and others dear to him, and to the bridges burned and being rebuilt.

The album includes ‘Whatever Gets You Thru the Night’ a song recorded with Elton John that also became Lennon’s first solo record to top the Billboard Hot 100. It was, of course, a factor in propelling Walls and Bridges to the top spot.

Elton, by that time also one of the world’s most successful musicians, was due to cross the Atlantic from England to New York on the ship the SS France, with his entourage and Apple’s Tony King. Elton was on the way to the Caribou Ranch in Colorado to record his new album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, most of which was actually written on board that ship.

Elton and Tony very kindly offered to bring John’s firstborn son Julian with them so he could reunite and spend much needed time with his father during his summer school holidays. John, delighted at the prospect, bought first-class cabin tickets for Julian and for his mother, John’s ex-wife Cynthia, who also wanted to travel with them.

John moved into a bigger new apartment in New York with a spare room especially for Julian, who stayed with John for six weeks, attending the weekday recording sessions at The Record Plant and spending sunny relaxed weekends together on the boat up in Orchard Beach.

While Elton was still in New York, John invited him to play on Walls and Bridges, and Elton duly added harmony vocals, piano and organ to, ‘Whatever Get You Thru The Night’. According to Lennon, “Elton said ‘Say, can I put a bit of piano on that?’ I said, ‘Sure, love it!’ He zapped in. I was amazed at his ability. I knew him, but I’d never seen him play. A fine musician, great piano player. I was really pleasantly surprised at the way he could get in on such a loose track and add to it and keep up with the rhythm changes – obviously, ’cause it doesn’t keep the same rhythm. And then he sang with me. We had a great time.”

When they finished the recording, John told Elton that he was the only Beatle that had not managed a solo No.1 single. Elton’s response was to bet John that if ‘Whatever Gets You Thru the Night’ went to No.1, John should join Elton on stage at New York’s Madison Square Garden at Thanksgiving. John jokingly agreed, never expecting for one minute that Elton might be right.
A real sense of cohesion

Walls and Bridges took about eight weeks to record and there is a real sense of cohesion in the record. The tracks while never sounding ‘samey’ really do have a sense of coming from the same place, a feeling that John had not achieved in quite the same way since the album, Imagine. John’s pain is clear to hear on the album’s opening track, ‘Going Down On Love’ and is played out on ‘Scared’ and ‘Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down And Out)’. But it is played out with such musicality that it is impossible not to be drawn into the beauty of this record.

Both ‘What You Got’ and ‘Bless You’ were written for his wife Yoko. “You don’t know what you got ‘til you lose it.” sings John on the former, while in the latter, one of John’s most beautiful melodies, he sings, “Some people say it’s over, now that we spread our wings, but we know better darling, the hollow ring is only last year’s echo”.

‘Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird Of Paradox)’ is about John’s affections for assistant and mistress May Pang but it also refers to John’s “god-awful loneliness.”

‘Old Dirt Road’ was co-written with John’s longtime pal, Harry Nilsson, who himself lived through the excesses of Lennon’s stay in California. It’s another wonderful song that is helped by Jesse Ed Davis’s country sounding guitar.
John’s other big hit from Walls and Bridges is a classic, ‘#9 Dream’. It is a luxurious production that again shows John’s brilliance with a melody. Deceptively simple yet beguiling and complex. The gorgeous chorus – “Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé” came from a dream in which two women called his name, although he slightly altered the lyrics to avoid the record being banned or censored.

John recorded a brief version of Lee Dorsey’s ‘Ya Ya’ on which his son Julian, attending the sessions, played drums. It acts as a coda to the record, but the real coda took place two months after the U.S. release of Walls and Bridges and two weeks after ‘Whatever Gets You Thru the Night’ made it to No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

John, dressed in a black suit and playing a black Fender Telecaster, held up his side of the deal with Elton and joined him on stage at Madison Square Garden on Thanksgiving, 28 November 1974, to a prolonged, thunderous standing ovation from the ecstatic audience, amazed at Rock History being made in front of their very eyes and ears. John and Elton and his band performed ‘Whatever Gets You Thru the Night’, ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’, Elton’s then‑current single (on which John had sung harmony vocals), and The Beatles ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ which Lennon credited to “an old, estranged fiancé of mine named Paul.”

This proved to be John Lennon’s last major concert appearance, but his appearance also brought about further reconciliation. Yoko had sent orchids to her husband and Elton, which they both wore onstage. John, not knowing Yoko was in the audience, nervously met with her backstage after the show when they shared a moment where they both later said they just “clicked”.
John told Rolling Stone in June 1975, “It meant a lot to me and it meant a hell of a lot to Elton, and he was in tears. It was a great high night, a really high night. Yoko and I met backstage. And somebody said, ‘Well, there’s two people in love.’ It was very weird. There was just that moment when we saw each other and like, it’s like in the movies, you know, when time stands still? And there was silence, everything went silent, y’know, and we were just sort of lookin’ at each other and… oh, hello. I knew she’d sent Elton and I a flower each, and we were wearing them onstage, but I didn’t know she was there and then everybody was around us and flash flash flash. But there was that moment of silence. And somebody observed it and told me later on, after we were back together again, and said, “A friend of mine saw you backstage and thought if ever there was two in love, it’s those two.” And I thought, well, it’s weird somebody noticed it… So it was a great night.

After a period of dating, John and Yoko fully resumed their relationship less than three months later in January 1975. John finally completed work on the Rock n Roll album, and with other outstanding litigations resolved, the period of the difficult ‘Lost Weekend’ was finally over, and a new chapter of his life began.

In a lovely footnote to the story, in gratitude of bridges built, John and Yoko asked Elton to be godfather to their new son Sean, born on John’s 35th birthday, 9 October 1975, their much-wanted beautiful boy and gift of their grand reunion.

RINGO STARR REMEMBERS JOHN LENNON AS “ONE OF THE GREATS”

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Ringo Starr paid tribute to his former Beatles bandmate John Lennon as “a brilliant artist and a brilliant man” during a worldwide listening party.
Celebrating the forthcoming ‘Ultimate Collection’ reissue of the Beatles icon’s 1970 debut solo album ‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’.

As Tim Burgess‘ latest Twitter Listening Party turned its attention to the upcoming ‘Ultimate Collection’ box set reissue of the Beatles icon’s 1970 debut solo album ‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’ (celebrating its 50th anniversary), the drummer wrote: “It’s so incredible, the emotion on this record, just mind blowing. The sparseness of the band, the force of John Lennon. That’s why he’s one of the greats.”
Addressing suggestions that Lennon frequently worried about the quality of his singing voice, Starr wrote: “John always wanted a lot of echo on his voice. He had a great voice and when he was singing, he gave all of that. I don’t feel personally he was insecure about his voice. Everybody wants to be someone else, to be different.”
About the experience, Ringo added: “It is an incredibly cool record. It’s a beautiful record and he was a beautiful man and I’m privileged to feel he was my friend. Great to be a part of Plastic Ono Band.”

Earlier this week (April 20), a new video was shared for John Lennon‘s classic ‘Isolation’, filled with Easter egg glimpses into his life with Yoko Ono.
Taken from the upcoming ‘Ultimate Collection’ box set reissue of the Beatles icon’s 1970 debut solo album ‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’, the video for the ‘Raw Studio Mix’ of the track was filmed upstairs at John and Yoko’s home at Tittenhurst Park in Berkshire on July 16, 1971.
It follows the recent release of a never-seen-before performance of ‘Give Peace A Chance’, and newly-unearthed footage of John and Yoko in a video for ‘Look At Me’.
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