Tag Archives: John Lennon

Drive: John Lennon’s hearse up for sale

With the exceptions of Jan and Dean (well, Dean, anyway, as Jan moved on in 2004), The Cars, Gary Numan, and Sammy Hagar, I find the seeming fascination with and apparent love of automobiles and rock musicians to be somewhat incongruous. Sure, the Futurist Manifesto hailed the automobile as the symbol of something that is more dynamic that those things preserved from the past and would leave them covered in its dust—“We declare that the world’s wonder has been enriched by a fresh beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing car with its trunk adorned by great exhaust pipes like snakes with an explosive breath … a roaring car that seems to be driving under shrapnel, is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace”—but (1) Marinetti wrote that in 1909, years before Bill Haley saw the light of day in Highland Park, Michigan (which, curiously enough, is where the second Ford Motor factory was located) and (2) there is evidently a deep longing for many rock musicians, both practicing and arthritic, to be entombed in a museum near Lake Erie.

We recently saw that Roger Daltrey is working with Rolls-Royce. And we cited a Rolls that had been owned by John Lennon.

Now we learn of another Lennon automobile, a 1956 Austin Princess Type A135 that will be going on the auction block at the 46th Annual Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction, to be held Jan. 14-22, 2017, which is essentially the auto auction of all auto auctions.

The vehicle was extensively used in the 1972 documentary Imagine.

It is a somewhat bizarre car in that unlike most ordinary Austin Princesses (note: Austin was a British car manufacturer; this is not a reference to some cotillion in the capital of Texas), this one was fitted out by coachbuilder Arthur Mulliner Ltd. of North Hampton (if you were to draw a line like this: \ from Birmingham to London, North Hampton falls in the middle). . .with the body of a hearse.

Mind you, this wasn’t some Lennonian prank or tweak; the vehicle was built as a hearse and operated as one by Ann Bonham & Son mortuary.

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Timeline of the early Beatles solo era

George Harrison was the first Beatle to put out a solo project when he released his Wonderwall Music soundtrack on November 1, 1968. At that point, the Beatles were still together and had just wrapped up the recording of the White Album. They would spend the month of January 1969 filming and recording what eventually became Let It Be. By the end of August 1969 Abbey Road was in the can, and the next month John Lennon told the other Beatles, “The group’s over, I’m leaving.” They all kept quiet about it while they renegotiated their record contracts. But Paul McCartney told Life magazine in November 1969, “The Beatles thing is over. It has been exploded, partly by what we have done, and partly by other people. We are individuals, all different.” Nobody seems to have picked up on this at the time though.

It wasn’t until April 1970, when Paul released McCartney, that the world figured out that the Beatles had in fact broken up. By that time, though, there had already been six prior solo albums released and three singles.

When you look at the timeline from the release of Wonderwall Music through the end of 1970, it’s crazy how much stuff they put out.

November 1, 1968: Wonderwall Music (George)
November 11, 1968: Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins (John)
November 22, 1968: The Beatles (White Album) (Beatles)
January 13, 1969: Yellow Submarine (Beatles)
April 11, 1969: “Get Back” (Beatles)
May 30, 1969: “The Ballad of John and Yoko” (Beatles)
May 9, 1969: Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions (John)
May 9, 1969: Electronic Sound (George)
July 4, 1969: “Give Peace a Chance” (John)
September 26, 1969: Abbey Road (Beatles)
October 6, 1969: “Something”/”Come Together” (Beatles)
October 20, 1969: Wedding Album (John)
October 20, 1969: “Cold Turkey” (John)
December 12, 1969: Live Peace in Toronto 1969 (John)
February 6, 1970: “Instant Karma!” (John)
February 26, 1970: Hey Jude album (Beatles)
March 6, 1970: “Let It Be” single (Beatles)
March 27, 1970: Sentimental Journey (Ringo)
April 17, 1970: McCartney (Paul)
May 8, 1970: Let It Be album (Beatles)
May 11, 1970: “The Long and Winding Road” (Beatles)
September 25, 1970: Beaucoups of Blues album (Ringo)
October 5, 1970: “Beaucoups of Blues” single (Ringo)
November 23, 1970: “My Sweet Lord” (George)
November 27, 1970: All Things Must Pass (George)
December 11, 1970: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (John)
December 28, 1970: “Mother” (John)

* When UK and US release dates differ, the earlier of the two is displayed.

Image is a detail of the cover of Electronic Sound, painted by George Harrison.

Watch video of John Lennon at the Hit Factory in 1980

Video: John Lennon – “I’m Losing You” 1980 The Hit Factory

This footage has become something of a Holy Grail for Lennon fans. We know that director Jay Dubin shot video footage at the Hit Factory recording studio in August of 1980 for promotional videos for “(Just Like) Starting Over” and “I’m Losing You.” Afterward, John was apparently unhappy with his appearance and allegedly destroyed the footage. (By September he had cut his hair short.) A brief clip of Yoko’s “I’m Moving On” from the same session later appeared in a 1984 A&E documentary (“Yoko Ono: Then & Now”), which offered hope that the rest of the video still existed somewhere.

The above video is a montage of some of this newly unearthed B-roll footage mixed together with the 1998 video featuring Cheap Trick that was made to promote the Lennon Anthology box set. Surely if the powers that be had access to this footage in 1998 they would have used it, which proves this is a new discovery. Hopefully, some of the A-roll footage survives as well; it would be great to see some closeups of John lip-syncing the song. Then again, I would guess the bootleggers who made this video would have used it if they had it.

Still, it’s cool to finally be able to see the last professionally shot video footage of John Lennon before he was killed on December 8. Look at that funky guitar!

Continue reading Watch video of John Lennon at the Hit Factory in 1980

Playlist: The Best of John Lennon

John Lennon released four solo albums before the Beatles officially broke up, but three of these were experimental recordings made with Yoko Ono and the fourth was a live album recorded in Toronto with an under-rehearsed band featuring Eric Clapton. These four albums are generally dismissed as non-canonical, and they were not included in Spotify’s recent addition.

His first “proper” solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, came out in December 1970 and remains the best album released by any former Beatle. It’s raw, honest, and brutal. 1971’s Imagine is very good as well, but unfortunately for John it was all downhill from there. Most of his recorded output between 1972 and 1975 is…spotty, to put it gently. Lennon was uncomfortable with the natural sound of his own voice and buried it in echo and reverb and schlocky production. He took a break from the music business until 1980 when he was inspired to go back in the studio to record Double Fantasy and enough outtakes for the posthumously released Milk and Honey.

Here are the 17 best songs from what’s available now on Spotify.

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In My Life: 30 Years Without John Lennon

John and Yoko Thirty years ago right now John Lennon was living the last hours of his life. He was in a recording studio in New York City working on new music and planning a world tour. This time was supposed to mark his return from a five-year retirement but instead we remember December 8 as the day John Lennon died.

I grew up in a house where the Beatles’ music was usually playing somewhere in the background. My dad saw them in their first US concert in Washington D.C. and was a lifelong fan. That was passed down to me and I took it on with fanatical enthusiasm. I read everything I could get my hands on that detailed the Beatles’ career, music, and lives. John was my favorite. I could relate to his sarcasm and wit and I just liked the way he looked. His lyrics could somehow be profound and nonsensical, romantic and biting, clever and simple. Who else could write a song about burning down a girl’s apartment and make it sound like a love letter to a missed opportunity? This bird has indeed flown.

Continue reading In My Life: 30 Years Without John Lennon

30 Years After The Death Of John Lennon

John and YokoOn the morning of Monday, December 8, 1980, John Lennon was photographed in the nude, embracing his fully clothed wife, Yoko Ono. The iconic photograph captured by Annie Leibovitz in the couple’s Dakota apartment would later grace the cover of Rolling Stone’s January 22, 1981 edition.

My Monday morning was dramatically different. I was 14 years old and days were spent in the classrooms of Keokuk Middle School. I was oblivious to the work of Annie Leibovitz, but I was very much aware that John Lennon had recently left his world of domestic tranquility and returned to the career that made him such a recognizable figure among any 8th grader in 1980.

While John Lennon endured interviews and recordings on that day, I endured the breath of our algebra teacher and the watchful eye of Mr. Gaylord, the middle school principal whose mistrust of anyone 14 and under was probably well deserved thanks to the ridicule he endured because of the too-easy ammunition of his last name.

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John Lennon Remasters Coming in October

John Lennon by Iain Macmillan

Eight of John Lennon‘s classic solo albums and other standout recordings have been digitally remastered from his original mixes for a global catalogue initiative commemorating the music legend’s 70th birthday, October 9, 2010. Plus, Double Fantasy will have a new “Stripped Down” remix in addition to the original mix. Plus, of course, a huge eleven-disc box set and couple of different greatest hits compilations.

No Two Virgins, Life with the Lions, or Wedding Album though. Because those albums are, you know, weird.

Full press release after the jump…

Continue reading John Lennon Remasters Coming in October

Handwritten Lyrics for A Day in the Life Auctioned

On a Loop in Hell Some handwritten lyrics of the Beatles‘ “A Day in the Life” will hit the auction block in June, the BBC reports. Written by John Lennon in a couple types of ink (because one pen apparently ran out) and with corrections and notes throughout, the double-side sheet is expected to fetch around $700,000, just behind the current record holder for handwritten Beatles lyrics.

“According to [Sotheby’s], the current record for the sale of Beatles lyrics is All You Need Is Love, which fetched $1m (£655,450) in 2005.”

The lyrics go up for sale on June 18, in case anyone is looking for a birthday present for Paul McCartney.

The Beatles: Amazon, Insound, wiki

Twitter Roundup #11

Tweet tweetBelow are the things we’ve posted to Twitter recently. In reverse chronological order, just like Twitter… We’re reposting 195 tweets this time with a total of 108 links to stuff that (mostly) didn’t end up on GLONO.

# RT @seanonolennon: Now they say I’m abusing Lennon fans? Because I’m defending my mother from insults over an advert I had NOTHING to do with!? 3 minutes ago

# How come Paul McCartney never made another album as good or as weird as Ram? about 2 hours ago

# Sad about Haeley. RT @maura: tonight’s ‘american idol’ recap, in which i get to the point: http://bit.ly/csZzTO about 4 hours ago

# “With Paula, you’re never more than a few minutes away from seeing a grade-A display of batshit antics on live TV.” http://ow.ly/1eHYx #idol about 4 hours ago

# Macca to quit touring in 2012; age 70: http://ow.ly/1eI4N about 4 hours ago

# “But yeah, there’s just so many songs about the war,” the one publisher reiterated. “My writers have a bunch.” http://ow.ly/1eHLu about 5 hours ago

# On this day 2001: Glenn Kotche joins Wilco. Ken Coomer out: http://ow.ly/1eHuB about 5 hours ago

Lots more below, and you might consider following us on Twitter if you want to keep up with this stuff as it happens…

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John Lennon Signed My Album Day He Was Killed: What’s It Worth?

Lennon%20and%20Chapman_Cropped.jpg As most people know, John Lennon was gunned down in New York City on December 8, 1980 by Mark David Chapman, a loner from Hawaii with a Holden Caulfield complex and an intense drive to make a mark. What many don’t know is that earlier that day Lennon had signed a handful of autographs for fans, including the album cover of his latest release Double Fantasy.

Letter of Note is a cool little blog dedicated to highlighting “correspondence deserving of a wider audience,” where they publish personal letters of note. Today they have a letter from one of the autographer seekers from that day to a collector wondering about the value of an item signed by John Lennon on the day of his murder. To say anything more would give away the surprise but check it out.

A clue on who the letter writer is after the jump…

Continue reading John Lennon Signed My Album Day He Was Killed: What’s It Worth?