Saturday, December 29, 2018

Satin Whale - 1981 - Don't Stop The Show

Satin Whale 
Don't Stop The Show

01. Don't Stop The Show (3:40)
02 . Lady Night (3:40)
03 . Stay With Me (4:50)
04 . Out Of Control (4:25)
05 . Girl (3:40)
06 . It's Better (4:25)
07. Let It Roll (4:50)
08. Too Late (5:30)
09. My Anne (4:15)

Thomas Brück / Bass
Wolfgang Hieronymi / Drums
Eberhard Wagner / Guitar
Barry Palmer / Vocals
Peter Haaser / Piano, Organ, Synthesizer


"Stay With Me":
Dieter Roesberg / 6-String Acoustic Guitar
Rolf Lammers / Fender Rhodes Electric Piano
The Gürzenich String Section / Strings

"Let It Roll":
Udo Kasulke: Backing Vocals

"Too Late":
Dieter Roesberg / 6-String Acoustic Guitar
Rolf Lammers / Fender Rhodes Electric Piano
Jürgen Fritz / Grand Piano

The German band 'Satin Whale' was founded around 1971 in the region of Cologne by Thomas Brück (bass, vocals), Gerard Dellmann (keyboards), Dieter Roesberg (guitar, sax ,flute, vocals) and Horst Schöffgen (drums). Their first record 'Desert Places' was released in 1974 on the green 'Brain' label, musically a typical example of German Seventies rock not unlike their stablemates 'Grobschnitt' and 'Jane' for the harder edge, with guitar and organ jams. 

During a rock contest in 1974 ('Rocksound 74') 'Satin Whale' was elected the most popular German band. For the second release 'Lost Mankind' 1975 new drummer Wolfgang Hieronymi joined and the band changed to the 'Teldec' label, continuing musically in the same direction as their first record, with 'Jethro Tull' inspired flute-work. The band then went on tour as a support act for 'Barclay James Harvest'. This had a direct influence on their music and their third record 'As A Keepsake' was inspired by BJH, less rock and more symphonic influenced pop.

Their consequent tour served for the double live 'Whalecome', which showed the good musicianship of the band, giving room to extended improvisations, especially on the 17-minute long 'Hava Nagila. In the same year 'Satin Whale' released 'A Whale of Time', a good record especially the title track, an instrumental with a great string arrangement. In 1979 the band composed the soundtrack for the German movie 'Die Faust In Der Tasche' by director Max Willutzki. As the film was a popular and with their popularity rising the band released the same year 'On Tour'. In 1980 'Satin Whale' released 'Don't Stop The Show',their last and commercial record, together with Ex Triumvirat singer Barry Palmer and the band split up in 1981.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

John Lennon - 1974 - Walls And Bridges

John Lennon
Walls And Bridges

01. Going Down On Love 3:53
02. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night 3:25
03. Old Dirt Road 4:10
04. What You Got 3:07
05. Bless You 4:35
06. Scared 4:35
07. #9 Dream 4:44
08. Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird Of Paradox) 2:54
09. Steel And Glass 4:38
10. Beef Jerky 3:27
11. Nobody Loves You (When You're Down And Out) 5:07
12. Ya Ya 1:05

Released: 4 October 1974 (UK), 26 September 1974 (US)

John Lennon: vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano
Elton John: vocals, piano, organ
Nicky Hopkins: piano, electric piano
Jesse Ed Davis: electric guitar
Eddie Mottau: acoustic guitar
Ken Ascher: piano, electric piano, clavinet, Mellotron
Klaus Voormann: bass guitar
Arthur Jenkins: percussion
Jim Keltner: drums
Julian Lennon: drums
Bobby Keys, Steve Madaio, Howard Johnson, Ron Aprea, Frank Vicari: horns
Harry Nilsson, May Pang, Lori Burton, Joey Dambra: backing vocals
The Philharmonic Orchestrange (New York Philarmonic Orchestra)

The most focused set of recordings made during John Lennon's legendary Lost Weekend, Walls And Bridges marked a return to form following the clumsy sloganeering of Some Time In New York City and the frequently aimless Mind Games.

After completing work on Mind Games, Lennon had moved to Los Angeles with his girlfriend May Pang. Lennon and Yoko Ono had separated shortly before the album was begun, and although he hoped it would be a brief interlude in their relationship, she wished them to remain apart for a while longer.

Free from responsibility and control for the first time in his adult life, Lennon quickly fell victim to his excesses. He and Pang embraced Los Angeles' debauched lifestyle to the full, along with fellow party animals Ringo Starr, Keith Moon and Harry Nilsson.

Lennon initially began work on the Rock 'N' Roll album with Phil Spector, but the chaotic sessions eventually fell apart and Spector disappeared with the tapes. Lennon instead produced Harry Nilsson's album Pussy Cats in April and May 1974, although those sessions were equally rambunctious.

Eventually realising he was in danger of ruining his career, Lennon left LA for New York and finished producing Pussy Cats, as well as recording demos for a number of songs which eventually appeared on Walls And Bridges.

These new compositions charted his state of mind in the midst of the Lost Weekend. Lennon flitted between yearning desire to be reunited with Ono, expressions of love for May Pang, and accounts of his darkest hours at the bottom of a bottle.

"I think I was more in a morass mentally than Yoko was. If you listen to Walls And Bridges you hear somebody that is depressed. You can say, 'Well, it was because of years of fighting deportation and this problem and that problem,' but whatever it was, it sounds depressing. The guy knows how to make tables, but there's no spirit in the tables. I'm not knocking the record. But I'm saying it showed where I was. It's a reflection of the time."
John Lennon, 1980
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

In the studio

In New York Lennon instigated a professional work ethic, demanding his session musicians worked from noon to 10pm, five days a week. Drugs and alcohol were kept away from the studio, Record Plant East, and Lennon enjoyed a type of creative surge he hadn't known for many months.

"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."
Jimmy Iovine
Lennon And McCartney: Together Alone, John Blaney

The band spent two days rehearsing and arranging the songs; several of the recordings later appeared on the posthumous collections Menlove Ave and John Lennon Anthology. Lennon produced the recordings, though he was happy to take direction from studio staff including Roy Cicala and Jimmy Iovine.

The album was recorded in an eight-week period over July and August 1974. He was joined in the studio by Elton John, at the time one of music's biggest stars, who performed on Whatever Gets You Thru The Night and Surprise Surprise (Sweet Bird Of Paradox).

"I was fiddling about one night and Elton John walked in with Tony King of Apple — you know, we're all good friends — and the next minute 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."
John Lennon, 1974

The songs

John Lennon often found inspiration at his lowest points, and the Lost Weekend was no exception. Walls And Bridges begins with Going Down On Love, in which Lennon reveals he is "drowning in a sea of hatred". The mix of indulgence and sorrow continues throughout the album, from the defiantly upbeat Whatever Gets You Thru The Night through to the morose Scared and Nobody Loves You (When You're Down And Out) – a song which Lennon hoped Frank Sinatra might record.

"Well, that says the whole story. I always imagined Sinatra singing that one, I dunno why. He could do a perfect job with it. Ya listenin', Frank? You need a song that isn't a piece of nothing. Here's one for you. The horn arrangement – everything's made for you. But don't ask me to produce it!"
John Lennon, 1980
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

What You Got and Bless You were written for Lennon's estranged wife Yoko Ono. The former showed the influence of the American R&B on his music, while the latter was a mournful lament in which Lennon spoke explicitly of the couple's separation: "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". He even found the grace to wish well Ono's new partner, session guitarist David Spinozza, who had played on Mind Games.

Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird Of Paradox), meanwhile, was inspired by his unexpected contentment with May Pang, and his thanks to her for lifting his spirits from the gutter. Pang had been encouraged by Ono to begin a relationship with Lennon, and despite her initial wariness, the pair soon fell in love.

A key track on Walls And Bridges was #9 Dream, a lush production sounding unlike anything else he recorded, over which Lennon sang of romantic magic and nocturnal discovery. He adapted the melody of the string arrangement of Harry Nilsson's cover of Many Rivers To Cross for the verses, and the chorus – Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé – was taken from a dream in which two women called his name.

"This was one of John's favorite songs, because it literally came to him in a dream. He woke up and wrote down those words along with the melody. He had no idea what it meant, but he thought it sounded beautiful. John arranged the strings in such a way that the song really does sound like a dream. It was the last song written for the album, and went thru a couple of title changes: So Long Ago, and Walls & Bridges."
May Pang

Two of the tracks referenced Beatles songs. Going Down On Love contained the line "Somebody please, please help me", and Surprise Surprise (Sweet Bird Of Paradox) ended with an echo of the 'beep beep, beep beep, yeah' refrain from Drive My Car.

The mostly instrumental Beef Jerky, meanwhile, borrowed the riff from Paul McCartney's Let Me Roll It – itself a stark recording seemingly inspired the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album. Lennon had been reunited with his former bandmate after McCartney unexpectedly dropped by a Los Angeles studio earlier in 1974, and while the resultant jam was disappointing, it showed that neither was eager to continue feuding.

Walls And Bridges also featured Old Dirt Road, a collaboration with Harry Nilsson, one of Lennon's most tenacious drinking buddies during the Lost Weekend. It also closed with a throwaway cover of Lee Dorsey's 1961 hit Ya Ya, featuring the 11-year-old Julian Lennon on drums.

One song from the Walls And Bridges sessions was left off the album. Move Over Ms L was originally to have been positioned between Surprise Surprise (Sweet Bird Of Paradox and What You Got on the album's second side, but Lennon decided to remove it shortly before the album's release. The song was subsequently re-recorded and released as the b-side to the Stand By Me single.

Cover artwork

Walls And Bridges was presented in a fold-out cover featuring various photographs of Lennon taken by Bob Gruen, and reproductions of artwork drawn by Lennon as a schoolboy in the 1950s. The fold-over flaps could be rearranged in various combinations, and were designed by Roy Kohara.

The LP's inner sleeve was enclosed inside another card container featuring more photographs of Lennon, and an eight-page booklet completed the package. The booklet contained song lyrics, five more artworks from the 1950s, and an extract from the book Irish Families, Their Names, Arms And Origins by Edward Maclysaght which detailed the history of the name Lennon.

The booklet also featured credits for the album, and two quotations: '"Possession is nine-tenths of the problem" – Dr. Winston O'Boogie'; and 'On the 23rd August 1974 at 9 o'clock I saw a U.F.O. – J.L.'

The release

An advertising campaign ran to promote Walls And Bridges. The concept, suggested by Lennon, was around the theme "Listen to this...", and was applied to button badges, stickers, advertisements, posters and t-shirts. In New York City it also featured on the rear of 2,000 buses.

A television commercial also ran in late 1974. It showed the album sleeve in various permutations, and had a voiceover by Ringo Starr. Lennon returned the favour by voicing the advert for Starr's album Goodnight Vienna, released in November 1974.

Walls And Bridges was released on 26 September 1974 in the United States. It was a Billboard number one, was awarded gold status, and spent 35 weeks on the charts.

In the United Kingdom it was issued on 4 October 1974. It peaked at number six, and was in the charts for a total of 10 weeks.

Shortly after its release Lennon supervised a quadrophonic mix of Walls And Bridges, although the popularity of the format was limited in 1974 and it sold poorly.

Walls And Bridges Sessions
Misterclaudel – mccd - 386/387/388/389/390

101. Going Down On Love (Piano Demo Sequence)
102. Going Down On Love (Demo Take 1)
103. Going Down On Love (Demo Take 2)
104. Going Down On Love (Demo Take 3)
105. Going Down On Love (Studio Rehearsal )
106. Going Down On Love (Takes 5 & 6 Breakdown)
107. Going Down On Love (Offline Monitor Mix)
108. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Demo Sequence #1)
109. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Demo Sequence #2)
110. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Demo Sequence #3)
111. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Demo Sequence #4)
112. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Demo Sequence #5)
113. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Studio Rehearsal #1)
114. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Studio Rehearsal #2)
Recording Session #1
115. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Ain't She Sweet)
116. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 1)
117. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 2)
118. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 3)
119. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 4 Breakdown / Yesterday Parody)
120. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 5)
121. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 6 Breakdown)
122. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 6)
123. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 7 Breakdown)
124. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 7)
125. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 8 Breakdown)
126. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 9 Breakdown)
127. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 9)
128. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 10)

201. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 11)
202. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 12 Breakdown)
203. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 13 Breakdown)
204. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 14)
205. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 15 Take 14 By Engineer)
206. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 16 Breakdown)
207. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 17 Breakdown)
208. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 18)
209. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 19 Breakdown)
210. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 20 Breakdown)
211. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 21 Breakdown)
212. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 22)
213. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 23)
214. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 24)
Re-Make Recording Session #2
215. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 1)
216. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 2)
217. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 3 With Breakdown)
218. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 4)
219. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 5)
220. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 6)
221. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Take 7 - Backing Track Master Take)
222. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Mixing Session - Offline Monitor Mix Guitar & Bongos Overdubs)
223. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Mixing Session Over Take 7 - Offline Monitor Mix)
224. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Rough Mix - Single Vocal)
225. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (Vocal Overdubs Over Take 7)
226. Old Dirt Road (Studio Rehearsal)
227. Old Dirt Road (Takes 11 & 12)
228. Old Dirt Road (Mixing Session - Offline Monitor Mix)

301. What You Got (Demo #1)
302. What You Got (Demo #2)
303. What You Got (Demo #3 Breakdown)
304. What You Got (Demo #4)
305. What You Got (Alternate Take)
306. What You Got (Take 10 Mixing Session - Offline Monitor Mix #1)
307. What You Got (Take 10 Mixing Session - Offline Monitor Mix #2)
308. What You Got (Take 10 Mixing Session - Offline Monitor Mix #3)
309. What You Got (Mono Promo)
310. Bless You (Studio Rehearsal #1)
311. Bless You (Studio Rehearsal #2)
312. Bless You (Studio Rehearsal)
313. Bless You (Alternate Take #1)
314. Bless You (Alternate Take #2)
315. Bless You (Offline Monitor Mix)
316. Scared (Studio Rehearsal)
317. Scared (Take 4)
318. Scared (Offline Monitor Mix)
319. #9 Dream (Demo #1)
320. #9 Dream (Demo #2)
321. #9 Dream (Demo #3)
322. #9 Dream (Mixing Session - Offline Monitor Mix)
323. #9 Dream (Rough Mix)

401. #9 Dream (Edit Promo Mono)
402. #9 Dream (Edit Promo Stereo)
403. Surprise, Surprise (Demo #1)
404. Surprise, Surprise (Demo #2)
405. Surprise, Surprise (Studio Rehearsal)
406. Surprise, Surprise (Alternate Take)
407. Surprise, Surprise (Offline Monitor Mix)
408. Steel And Glass (Demo #1 'Pill' 1971)
409. Steel And Glass (Demo #2 1973)
410. Steel And Glass (Demo #3 1973)
411. Steel And Glass (Demo #4 1974)
412. Steel And Glass (Studio Rehearsal)
413. Steel And Glass (Take 8)
414. Steel And Glass (Mixing Session - Offline Monitor Mix 1)
415. Steel And Glass (Mixing Session - Offline Monitor Mix 2)
416. Steel And Glass (Offline Monitor Mix 3)
417. Steel And Glass (Long Version - Quad Mix)
418. Beef Jerky (Studio Rehearsal)
419. Beef Jerky (Alternate Take)

501 Nobody Loves You (Demo 1973)
502 Nobody Loves You (Studio Rehearsal)
503 Nobody Loves You (Take 9)
504 Nobody Loves You (Take 18 Breakdown)
505 Nobody Loves You (Take 19)
506 Nobody Loves You (Offline Monitor Mix)
507. Move Over Ms. L (Demo #1)
508. Move Over Ms. L (Demo #2)
509. Move Over Ms. L (Studio Rehearsal #1 Breakdown)
510. Move Over Ms. L (Studio Rehearsal #2)
511. Move Over Ms. L (Alternate Take Breakdown)
512. Move Over Ms. L (Alternate Take)
513. Move Over Ms. L (Alternate Take 2)
514. Move Over Ms. L (Offline Monitor Mix)
515. Move Over Ms. L (Rough Mix Take 3)
516. Move Over Ms. L (Walls And Bridges Radio Spot)
517. Just Because #1 (1973 Demos)
518. Just Because #2 (1973 Demos)
519. Just Because #3 (1973 Demos)
520. So Many (1973 Demos)
521. The Boat Song (1973 Demos)

Like most of John Lennon's solo albums, Walls and Bridges came with its share of bumps along the way. And like much of Lennon's work starting around the time the Beatles were working on the White Album, many of those bumps were spurred by Yoko Ono.
While recording Mind Games in 1973, Lennon and Ono split up. His year-and-a-half separation from her became known as Lennon's Lost Weekend, a fabled period that lasted way longer than a weekend, and included such figures as Ono's personal assistant (with whom Lennon shacked up), Harry Nilsson and Phil Spector.
John Lennon was about a year into his break from Ono – and about a month removed from wrapping work on Nilsson's Pussy Cats album – when he began recording Walls and Bridges in New York in July 1974. About nine months earlier, Lennon had holed up with legendary producer Spector (who had also assembled the Beatles' final album Let It Be from hours of unedited tapes, much to the disappointment of the group's fans) in hopes of making a record of rock 'n' roll oldies.
But like many things during Lennon's Lost Weekend, alcohol sidelined the sessions and Spector left with the tapes (they'd later be revisited for 1975's Rock 'n' Roll album). So, Lennon fleshed out the new songs he'd been working on since finishing Mind Games a year earlier, assembled some Los Angeles session vets, including some string and brass players, and began work on Walls and Bridges.
He was all over the place, playing around with various styles (pop, rock, R&B), themes (some songs were about Ono, some were about his new love and some were about the Lost Weekend) and intention. Its best songs – "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night," "Bless You," "Scared," "#9 Dream" and "Nobody Loves You (When You're Down and Out)" – dipped as much into Lennon's past as they pointed toward his future.
Nilsson co-wrote one song. Another was a cover of an R&B oldie. Lennon wrote one song with Frank Sinatra in mind. And Elton John came in at the last minute and added vocals and piano to "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night," Lennon's first solo No. 1 hit.
("#9 Dream," the other single from Walls and Bridges reached No. 9, appropriately enough.)
The album also went to No. 1, repeating the success Imagine had achieved three years earlier. But its reputation, even at the time, is far removed from that of Lennon's 1971 classic, mainly because he sounds a little lost – emotionally and musically. No doubt some of that aimlessness had to do with Lennon's separation from Yoko Ono. But it's telling too that after relaunching his Spector-produced oldies project a year later, John Lennon took a long break from music, not returning until 1980's fateful Double Fantasy.
It was almost like the music didn't matter much to him at this point. And maybe it didn't. Rollicking numbers on Walls and Bridges like "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night" are offset by pained confessionals like "Scared." Lennon sounds torn on the album, and his retirement, in hindsight, was much needed.
When he returned in 1980 with his "Heart Play" collaboration with Ono, Lennon was refreshed – lighter and more open to the world. Past demons behind him, he was all set to enter the third stage of his career until it was ended on Dec. 8.
These days, Walls and Bridges comes off like the tossed-off Lost Weekend castaway it often is. Even though Lennon and crew set aside much of the drug- and alcohol-fueled debauchery that marked the Pussy Cats and initial Rock 'n' Roll sessions, the album can't help but take on the signs of a slight hangover ... or at least a kinda rough morning after. There may have been some good times put into it, but there were way better days long before.

With Walls & Bridges, John Lennon finally lets go of his Beatles history, seems to overlook his acrimonious relationship with Paul McCartney, and overcomes his tendency to indulge his rather bloated ego. There's little of the sanctimony that plagues Imagine, little of the navel gazing that renders Plastic Ono Band as bitter as dry aspirin, and little of the pretention that mars Mind Games. It's as if Lennon found the freedom to just enjoy making music with a certain abandon and with a good healthy dose of the kind of funk that was bubbling to the surface of the music scene in 1974. Indeed, I would even call this album Lennon's 1970s funk album. Whether this newfound freedom to create something enjoyable and listenable comes from his infamous lost weekend or simply through creative inspiration and attention to musical trends is probably a moot point by now. In any case, Lennon offers a great time on this LP, even in the more acerbic numbers like Steel and Glass. That number could be taken as a weak point -- "oh, no, more McCartney bashing," right? However, at least to my ears, Lennon is not directing his anger to McCartney at all but rather to himself. In Steel and Glass, this is the Lennon who wrote "Mother" and "Yer Blues," the Lennon who, through some sliver of self-realization cracking through the hardened ego, realizes that his own selfish is a worthy target, is something that has inhibited his personal growth. Who, after all, is the man with the L.A. tan and the New York vibe except none other than the man you took up New York as his home town and hired L.A. musicians to finish this album?   

There is so much going for this album. On Walls and Bridges, Lennon is confident and strong, funky and rollicking. Plus, if I were to name the most Beatle-esque John Lennon album, this is it -- great production, melodies and all.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

John Lennon - 1973 - Mind Games

John Lennon
Mind Games

01. Mind Games 4:10
02. Tight A$ 3:35
03. Aisumasen (I'm Sorry) 4:41
04. One Day (At A Time) 3:27
05. Bring On The Lucie (Freda Peeple) 4:11
06. Nutopian International Anthem 0:03
07. Intuition 3:05
08. Out The Blue 3:19
09. Only People 3:21
10. I Know (I Know) 3:56
11. You Are Here 4:06
12. Meat City 2:52

Released: 16 November 1973 (UK), 2 November 1973 (US)

John Lennon: vocals, guitar
David Spinozza: guitar
Peter E 'Sneaky Pete' Kleinow: pedal steel guitar
Ken Ascher: keyboards
Michael Brecker: saxophone
Gordon Edwards: bass guitar
Jim Keltner: drums
Rick Marotta: drums
Something Different: backing vocals

John Lennon's fourth solo album, Mind Games, was recorded at the beginning of the Lost Weekend, his separation from Yoko Ono. It showed Lennon moving away from the politics of Some Time In New York City, and a return to more introspective songwriting.

Bruised by the public and critical backlash against Some Time In New York City, John Lennon moved away from radical politics and activism. He retreated from recording music for more than a year and continued his efforts to remain in the United States.

In May 1973 he and Yoko Ono moved from Greenwich Village to a 12-room apartment at the Dakota near Manhattan's Central Park. The couple had been drifting apart, however, and she had busied herself recording the albums Approximately Infinite Universe and Feeling The Space.

Lennon worked on a number of song ideas which he recorded in demo form, but was aware that his confidence as a musician had taken a knock. The boundless creativity which had driven his early solo works was lacking, yet he set about crafting a set of solid yet uninspired songs.

Using many of the same session musicians Ono had employed on Feeling The Space, Lennon entered New York's Record Plant East studio to begin work on the album. Mind Games was completed within a period lasting around two weeks, with Lennon producing himself. The band was credited as the Plastic U.F.Ono Band.

Significantly, the period also marked the beginning of Lennon's 16-month separation from Yoko Ono, and the start of his relationship with May Pang and the time he later dubbed the Lost Weekend. She had been the couple's personal assistant since 1971 and had been asked by Ono to become Lennon's partner in order to discourage him from seeing other women.

"Well, first I thought, Whoopee! Bachelor life! Whoopee, whoopee! And then I woke up one day and thought, What is this? I want to go home. But she wouldn't let me come home. That's why it was eighteen months instead of six."
John Lennon, 1980
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

Mind Games captured this state of flux in Lennon's life. The songs ranged from aimless fillers (Intuition, Bring On The Lucie, Only People) to up-tempo rockers (Tight A$, Meat City). The lack of a unifying theme hadn't prevented Lennon from producing great work in the past, as demonstrated on Imagine, but Mind Games lacked enough great moments to mask the sense that this once-great composer and performer was treading water.

Several of the songs, inevitably, were about Ono, and were among the most effective on the album. Out The Blue, Aisumasen (I'm Sorry) and I Know (I Know) detailed his regret at losing her, while One Day (At A Time) and You Are Here explored the theme of two star-crossed lovers destined to be together.

The title track, along with Bring On The Lucie (Freeda Peeple) and Only People, showed that Lennon hadn't lost his belief in peace or the power of people to change the world, even if the results lacked the conviction and drive of his earlier solo work.

The three-second silent track Nutopian International Anthem, meanwhile, showed that even if he hadn't lost his skill at subverting expectations, there was little radical spirit to back it up. The conceptual country Nutopia had been announced by Lennon and Ono in a press release issued on 1 April 1973, and at a press conference the following day.

"[Mind Games] was originally called 'Make Love Not War, but that was such a cliché that you couldn't say it anymore, so I wrote it obscurely, but it's all the same story. How many times can you say the same thing over and over? When this came out, in the early Seventies, everybody was starting to say the Sixties was a joke, it didn't mean anything, those love-and-peaceniks were idiots. [Sarcastically] 'We all have to face the reality of being nasty human beings who are born evil and everything's gonna be lousy and rotten so boo-hoo-hoo...' 'We had fun in the Sixties,' they said, 'but the others took it away from us and spoiled it all for us.' And I was trying to say: 'No, just keep doin' it.'"
John Lennon, 1980
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

Even Lennon's skill for wordplay had largely left him, with Tight A$ (itself a subversion of the phrase 'tight ass') and Meat City ("Chickinsuckin' mothertruckin' Meat City shookdown USA") the sole exceptions. The latter song also contained one of Lennon's favourite curses, "Fuck a pig," played backwards and sped up.

There was only one outtake from the sessions. Rock And Roll People, was included on the 1986 posthumous collection Menlove Ave.

Cover artwork
John Lennon designed the artwork for Mind Games himself. The front cover pictured him alone in a wilderness, overshadowed by a mountain-sized rendering of Yoko Ono. The meaning was obvious: he was adrift without Ono, although her influence was still the dominant force in his life.

"I think I really needed some space because I was used to being an artist and free and all that, and when I got together with John, because we're always in the public eye, I lost the freedom. And also, both of us were together all the time, twenty-four hours a day. And the pressure was particularly strong on me because of being the one who stole John Lennon from the public or something... Whatever the reason is, I was under very strong pressure and I think my artwork suffered. I suffered a lot and so I thought I want to be free from all that. I needed the space to think. So I thought it would be a good idea that he would go to LA and just leave me alone for a while."
Yoko Ono, 1980
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

The image also featured two suns were in the sky, symbolising the spirits of the pair. The same image was repeated on the rear cover, but with Lennon's figure slightly larger and with a rainbow in place of the suns.

The release
In contrast to Some Time In New York City, Mind Games was well received by the public. In the United States it peaked at number nine on the Billboard 200, was certified gold, and spent 31 weeks on the chart.

The album reached number 13 in the United Kingdom, and was also certified gold in May 1974. Mind Games was in the UK album chart for a total of 12 weeks.

Tony King, who worked as a promotions executive for Apple Records in Los Angeles, encouraged Lennon to give several print and radio interviews in support of the album.

"While he had been with Yoko he had been involved with all these semi-subversive activities, which had not given him a great reputation in America. He said to me at the time, 'Look, I've got this album, what do you think I should do?' I said, 'Honestly, you've got to go out and make a few friends, because you've lost a bit of support because you've been involved with things of a controversial nature.' So he said, 'Fine, you organise it, I'll do it.' And he did."
Tony King
Lennon And McCartney Together Alone
John Blaney

Mind Games was released in November 1973. The following month, Lennon and May Pang left New York for Los Angeles, where they remained until June 1974. Their spell on the West Coast saw Lennon embrace a drink-fuelled lifestyle which led to the often chaotic sessions for Walls And Bridges and Rock 'N' Roll. In comparison, the backdrop to Mind Games looked positively tranquil.

John Lennon - Mind Games Sessions

Misterclaudel / mccd - 405/406/407/408

Mind Games
101. Demo #1 (Make Love Not War) (1970)
102. Demo #2 (I Promise) (1970)
103. Alternate Take Rough Mix
104. Promo Mono 45" Version
Tight A$
105. Demo
106. Rough Mix
107. Rough Mix With Overdubs #1
108. Rough Mix With Overdubs #2
Aisumasen (I'm Sorry)
109. Demo #1 (Call My Name) (1971)
110. Demo #2 (Call My Name) (1971)
111. Demo #3 (Call My Name) (1971)
112. Demo #4 (Call My Name) (1971)
113. Demo #5 (Call My Name) (1971)
114. Demo #6 (Call My Name) (1971)
115. Demo #7 (Call My Name) (1971)
116. Demo #8 (Call My Name) (1971)
117. Rough Mix #1
118. Rough Mix #2 With Overdubs
One Day (At A Time)
119. Alternate Take
120. Rough Mix #1
121. Rough Mix #2 With Overdubs
Bring On Lucie (Freda People)
122. Demo (1971)
123. Alternate Take
124. Rough Mix With Guide Vocal

201. Demo Take 3 With 'How?' & 'God'
202. Demo Take 4
203. Rough Mix
Out Of The Blue
204. Rough Mix #1
205. Rough Mix #2
206. Rough Mix #3
Only People
207. Rough Mix #1
208. Rough Mix #2 With Overdubs
I Know (I Know)
209. Acoustic Demo #1
210. Acoustic Demo #2
211. Acoustic Demo #3
Vocal Overdub
212. Demo Take #1
213. Demo Take #2
214. Demo Take #3
215. Demo Take #4
216. Demo Take #5
217. Demo Take #6
218. Alternate Early Take
219. Alternate Take Rough Mix #1
220. Rough Mix #1
221. Rough Mix #2

You Are Here
301. Alternate Take
302. Rough Mix
Meat City
303. Demo
304. Demo #1
305. Demo #2
306. Rough Mix
307. Single Version
Rock 'N' Roll People
308. Piano Demo (1970)
309. Piano Demo (1973)
August 1 1973 Session
310. Take 6
311. Take 7
August 4 1973 Session
312. Take 5
313. Take 6
314. Take 7
I'm The Greatest
1970 Demos
315. Piano Demo #1
316. Piano Demo #2
1971 Rehearsal
317. Studio Demo #1
318. Studio Demo #2
1973 Session For 'Ringo' LP
319. Take 1 (Breakdown)
320. Take 2 (Breakdown)
321. Take 3 (Breakdown)
322. Take 4 (Breakdown)
323. Take 5
324. Take 6 (Breakdown)
325. Take 7 (Breakdown)
326. Take 8
327. Take 9 (Breakdown)
328. Take 10
329. Take 11

401. Takes Unknown
402. Rough Mix
1973-1974 Pussy Cats Session
Mucho Mungo
403. Demo Take 1
404. Demo Breakdown
405. Demo Take 2
Demo Taping With Harry Nilsson
406. Demo Sequence #1
407. Demo Sequence #2
408. Demo Sequence #3
Mt. Elga
409. Rehearsal
Record Plant Jam Session - March 28 1974
410. A Toot And A Snore/Never Trust A Bugger With Your Mother
411. Little Bitty Pretty One/Jam
412. Lucille
413. Sleepwalk - 'Nightmares' Jam
414. Stand By Me #1 (Breakdown)
415. Stand By Me #2 (Breakdown)
416. Stand By Me #3 (Breakdown)
417. Stand By Me #4
418. Cupid/Chain Gang/Take This Hammer

Featuring – Bobby Keys (tracks: 4-10 - 4-18), George Harrison (tracks: 3-19 - 3-29), Harry Nilsson (tracks: 4-6 - 4-8), Jesse Ed Davis (tracks: 4-10 - 4-18), Paul McCartney (tracks: 4-10 - 4-18), Ringo Starr (tracks: 3-19 - 3-29), Stevie Wonder (tracks: 4-10 - 4-18)

John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. Imagine. Some Time in New York City. What next? Yes, it was called Mind Games.

John Lennon's early solo career was a series of large size cultural/musical happenings. Think about the world peace manifestation of "Give Peace a Chance", the political stand-taking on "Working Class Hero" and "Power to the People", the sugar-coated communist manifesto also known as "Imagine", the radical left wing frenzy of Some Time in New York City, the 'Lost Weekend' stamp of Walls and Bridges, the close circle abusing songs ("How Do You Sleep", "Steel and Glass") as well as the famous personal-to-universal, universal-to-personal love declarations ("Love" & "Oh My Love"). What I am trying to say is that each and every John Lennon recording of those days was a socio-cultural manifestation, a movement, a special act. That is why, if it is Lennon, it is at least three stars (well, if it is full standard music, let's add). Some Time in New York City does not deserve more than three because "Woman Is the Nigger of the World" was the only fine performance on it. But even though Mind Games lacks songs I would call true classics (in terms of my own classification, again), it has the John Lennon quality. Three and half because of that.

The 'classic' songs on this album are among the first – the title track, naturally, and "One Day (at a Time)." The opening title track is a nice piece of music, and it makes clear that John's most furious NY radical period is over. I am not sure because I wasn't even born at the date but I guess many "All You Need Is Love" / "Imagine" hippies must have been relieved hearing the artist sing about 'mind games' and declare 'love is the answer' (or even 'yes is the answer' – despite the fierce radicalism, John was still the person they knew from The Beatles, he who fell in love with that Japanese woman and pursued a solo career). "One Day (at a Time)", then, is my favourite song on the album. It isn't "Oh My Love" or "Bless You", but musically, you can certainly draw a line from the former to the latter via this one. Beside the rockers, John always (except on Some Time, say) had those sensitive loving moments which he, for some reason, began to shape into more and more nightclubbing form. Interesting!

Rockers, by the way, exist on Mind Games within the shape of "Tight A$" and "Meat City." The latter contains a couple of nice beat-and-chord changes, but the point is that the rockers are not the point. The most distinct social comments on the album can be heard on "Bring on the Lucie (Freda Peeple)" and "Only People"; however, they aren't among the most essential Lennon protest songs. In fact, "Only People" sounds a bit like the New Seekers' Coca-Cola hit, "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing." "You Are Here" surprises the listener while it is quite much country but despite that (and the nightclub feel that appears in "One Day (at a Time)" now and then), on Mind Games, musical crossoverism is not the point. "Out the Blue", "Intuition" and "Aisumasen" are absolutely nice songs but in a case like this even that seems not to be the point either.

So, what is the substance of the matter on Mind Games? I think the main point is that Mind Games was – back in 1973 – a new true John Lennon album on which the artist showed the world he was not over, neither as a musician nor as a person who walked the road he had chosen. Mind Games is the continuity. And while it is so, Mind Games is also one of the biggest cultural/musical happenings of 1973, like George Harrison's Living in the Material World in its own category. Because of that, the """""track""""" which almost seems to describe the album's nature best is "Nutopian International Anthem": a song that doesn't exist (or three seconds of nothing), being a bold socio-political comment because it doesn't exist (and this isn't a hoot – just think of the title, Nutopian International Anthem, can you see?). Funnily perhaps, Mind Games is an album whose greatest meaning is its existence, not its content. Thank you for making it, John, even though unfortunately my thankyou may be a little late, like, over 45 years.

Mind Games is, to my knowledge, the first release from the conceptual country Nutopia, whose existence John and Yoko proclaim in a Declaration on the lyric sheet. Oddly enough, it isn’t all that different from the records he has been making in America these last few years. Those have revealed a steady decline from the high points of his post-Beatle work, Plastic Ono Band and “Instant Karma.” There, he distilled his simplistic humanism into a single moving statement of belief — at once his most accessible and intelligent attempt at autobiography and philosophy.

With Imagine he began affecting attitudes bereft of emotional force. As he turned to petty gossip and didactic social commentary, his gambit of combining simple thoughts with simple music backfired. What was moving when applied to his own life was unbearably pretentious when used to offer aphorisms concerning larger issues.

Musically, Mind Games is a return to the form of Plastic Ono Band, employing some of the same simple chord progressions, similar instrumentation, and tunes that on closer inspection prove devoid of melodies, consisting only of pleasant collections of pop song, gospel and folk-rock cliches, particularly dependent on Dylan’s apocalyptic mid-Sixties style.

The album’s music might have served as the basis for a good LP if it had been paired with some new lyrical insight and passion. But instead, Lennon has come up with his worst writing yet. With lines like, “A million heads are better than one/So come on, get it on,” a listener can only accept or reject them. I’ve done the latter.

Lennon’s lyrics aren’t offensive, per se — just misguided in so underrating his audience’s intelligence. John Lennon’s admirers do not need to be preached at about the importance of love. They might even be able to withstand something more challenging than the repetition of the hollow shells of ideas they already share. But then, perhaps Lennon’s didacticism, preaching and banality are part of the mind game of the album’s title, yet another attempt to push his luck to the brink of self-annihilation.

Mind Games remains listenable, which is certainly more than can be said for Some Time in New York City. Lennon’s voice is in good shape, his production a cut above average and his performance occasionally forces us to take him more seriously than we would if he seemed less determined. “Mind Games,” “One Day,” “Intuition” and “Only People” (with some lines remarkably reminiscent of “Revolution”) all have one or another touch to recommend at least a few listenings.

Mind Games reveals another major artist of the Sixties lost in the changing social and musical environment of the Seventies, helplessly trying to impose his own gargantuan ego upon an audience that has already absorbed his insights and is now waiting hopefully for him to chart a new course.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

John Lennon - 1972 - Sometime In New York City

John Lennon
Sometime In New York City

01. Woman Is The Nigger Of The World 5:15
02. Sisters O Sisters 3:46
03. Attica State 2:52
04. Born In A Prison 4:04
05. New York City 4:29
06. Sunday Bloody Sunday 5:00
07. The Luck Of The Irish 2:55
08. John Sinclair 3:26
09. Angela 4:06
10. We're All Water 5:18
11. Cold Turkey (Live Jam) 8:34
12. Don't Worry Kyoko (Live Jam) 15:40
13. Well Baby, Please Don't Go (Live Jam) 4:28

CD Bonus Tracks
14. Listen The Snow Is Falling 3:06
15. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) 3:34

Album Released on Released: 15 September 1972 (UK), 12 June 1972 (US)
Recorded: 15 December 1969, 6 June 1971, 13 February – 8 March 1972
Producers: John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Phil Spector

John Lennon: vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar
Yoko Ono: vocals
Wayne 'Tex' Gabriel: electric guitar
Gary Van Scyoc: bass guitar
Adam Ippolito: piano, organ
John La Bosca: piano
Stan Bronstein: saxophone, flute
Richard Frank Jr: drums, percussion
Jim Keltner: drums
George Harrison: electric guitar
Frank Zappa: vocals, electric guitar
Eric Clapton: electric guitar
Klaus Voormann: bass guitar
Billy Preston: organ
Jim Pons: vocals, bass guitar
Bob Harris: vocals, keyboards
Nicky Hopkins: piano
Delaney Bramlett: electric guitar
Don Preston: Minimoog
Ian Underwood: vocals, woodwind, keyboards
Bobby Keys: saxophone
Jim Price: trumpet
Andy White: drums
Jim Gordon: drums
Keith Moon: drums
Aynsley Dunbar: drums
Bonnie Bramlett: percussion
Mark Volman: vocals
Howard Kaylan: vocals

Some Time In New York City, the follow-up to John Lennon's Imagine, was inspired by radical left-wing politics of the early 1970s. A critical and commercial failure, it featured two discs containing 10 studio songs and six live performances.

The album was borne of the vitality Lennon felt after moving to New York City. He had previously spoken of his love of the city and of America in interviews, and finally moved there with Yoko Ono in September 1971.

Well nobody came to bug us, hustle us or shove us
So we decided to make it our home
If the Man wants to shove us out we gonna jump and shout
The Statue of Liberty said, 'Come!'
New York City
Some Time In New York City

New York rejuvenated Lennon, both personally and musically, and he swiftly wrote a number of songs about his experiences. They were initially acoustic guitar-based, but took on a more traditional rock 'n' roll sound once studio work began.

"America is where it's at. You know, I should have been born in New York, man. I should have been born in the Village! That's where I belong! Why wasn't I born there? Like Paris was in the eighteenth century or whatever it was, London I don't think has ever been it. It might have been literary-wise when Wilde and Shaw and all them were there. New York was it! I regret profoundly not being American and not being born in Greenwich Village. That's where I should have been. But it never works that way. Everybody heads towards the centre, that's why I'm here now. I'm here just to breathe it. It might be dying, or there might be a lot of dirt in the air, but this is where it's happening."
John Lennon, 1970
Lennon Remembers, Jann S Wenne

Lennon had become interested in political issues while touring with The Beatles in the mid 1960s. At first unsure of whether to speak out against the Vietnam War, and discouraged from doing so, it wasn't until 1968's Revolution that social commentary began to take centre stage in his music.

As a solo artist Lennon used his songwriting increasingly as a way to chart what was occurring in his life, whether personal or political. Working Class Hero and Power To The People were key songs of his in the early 1970s, and he and Yoko Ono had spoken out in support of British Black Power leader Michael X, convicted A6 murderer James Hanratty, and the editors of Oz magazine.

Although he encountered resistance from Nixon's administration, Lennon found a New York ally in political activists Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. He embraced the counterculture movement in New York, aligning himself with the politics of the New Left and their various causes and campaigns.

Richard Nixon saw John Lennon as a threat to his administration: an official memo stated that "radical New Left leaders plan to use Mr Lennon as a drawing card to promote the success of rock festivals, to obtain funds for a 'dump Nixon' campaign." The FBI tapped his telephone, monitored his public appearances, and attempted to assemble a case for deportation.

"The infamous San Diego meeting that got us all into all the immigration problems was really a nonexistent situation. There was this so-called meeting with Jerry, Abbie, Allen Ginsberg, John Sinclair, John and Yoko, where they were trying to get us to go to the San Diego Republican Convention. When they described their plans, we just kept looking at each other. It was the poets and the straight politicals divided. Ginsberg was with us. He kept saying, 'What are we trying to do, create another Chicago?' That's what they wanted. We said, 'We ain't buying this. We're not going to draw children into a situation to create violence – so you can overthrow what? – and replace it with what?
But then the story went out that we were going to San Diego. That was enough to get Immigration on us. They started attacking us through the Immigration Department, trying to throw us out of the country. But it was all based on this illusion, that you can create violence and overthrow what is and get communism or get some right-wing lunatic or a left-wing lunatic. They're all lunatics."
John Lennon, 1980
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

Lennon's visa expired on 29 February 1972. Although the authorities cited his 1968 conviction for cannabis possession, an extension to his visa was granted while he appealed the deportation order. His green card, granting permanent residence, was eventually issued on 27 July 1976.

It was against this backdrop that Lennon began writing his most political set of songs. He and Yoko Ono appeared at a range of benefit events or rallies, including the John Sinclair Freedom Rally in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the Attica State Benefit at the Harlem Theater in Harlem.

Lennon became infatuated by the freedom and vibrancy of New York City culture, including the music of David Peel and the Lower East Side. He also recruited a local rock band, Elephant's Memory, as his backing band for numerous live appearances and the recording sessions for Some Time In New York City.

Lennon had previously been working on a set of acoustic songs, but changed styles after meeting the group, now renamed the Plastic Ono Elephant's Memory Band. Following a week-long residency on The Mike Douglas Show, the group entered the Record Plant East studio to begin work on the album, with Phil Spector producing.

Lennon had been documenting his life in song as far back as I'm A Loser, Help! and Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown). He generally disliked extensive studio production, preferring instead to record quickly and simply, and by 1969's The Ballad Of John And Yoko and Cold Turkey he had adopted an instantaneous style of form and content which owed as much to newspaper journalism as it did to rock 'n' roll.

The process was refined further on John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, his first solo album from 1970, in which production was pared back to its most basic level to bring the lyrics to the fore. Indeed, he once revealed that the secret of songwriting was simply to "say what you want to say, and put a backbeat to it".

Of the studio recordings on Some Time In New York City, only two songs – John Sinclair and New York City – were solo compositions by Lennon. Three were written by Ono – Sisters, O Sisters, Born In A Prison and We're All Water – and the rest were co-written by the pair.

Ono's influence on Lennon's writing was perhaps most acute on Woman Is The Nigger Of The World. The title was a phrase coined by Ono in an interview with Nova magazine which was published in March 1969, in reference to the chauvinism of the London music scene: "When I went to London and got together with John that was the biggest macho scene imaginable. That's when I made the statement 'woman is the nigger of the world'."

Two songs were written in support of the republican movement in Northern Ireland. Sunday Bloody Sunday was a response to the British Army massacre of 30 January 1972. The Luck Of The Irish was written before the event, and was inspired by a protest march in London that Lennon attended in August 1971.

Lennon's interest in United States civil rights issues manifested itself in two other songs. Angela was written about Angela Davis, a Black Panther supporter who was tried and eventually acquitted for suspected involvement in the murder of a Superior Court judge Harold Haley in California in 1970. Attica State, meanwhile, was written about the prison riot of September 1971 at the Attica Correctional Facility in New York state, in which at least 39 people lost their lives.

Lennon's intention to document his life in 1972 was distilled on the song New York City, a heartfelt celebration of the city he now called home. The song followed the diary style he had first adopted on The Ballad Of John And Yoko, and detailed the recruitment of Elephant's Memory into the Plastic Ono Band, his film-making with Yoko Ono, and the couple's joy at being free to wander the streets of the city.

"The Jerry was Jerry Rubin. The bloke with a guitar was David Peel. You see how the album's represented as a newspaper. Well, the song's a bit of a journalese, like Ballad Of John And Yoko. It tells the story."
John Lennon, 1980
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

A second disc, titled Live Jam, was also included with the album. Side one contained Cold Turkey and Don't Worry Kyoko, recorded at London's Lyceum Ballroom on 15 December 1969 with a backing band which included George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Billy Preston

The second side contained recordings from a different concert. Lennon and Ono had appeared onstage during the encore of The Mothers Of Invention's show at the Fillmore East in Manhattan in June 1971. They recorded four songs: a cover of The Olympics' Well (Baby Please Don't Go), followed by the largely-improvised Jamrag, Scumbag and Aü.

Some Time In New York City was issued in a gatefold sleeve with printed inner sleeves, a postcard of the Statue of Liberty, and – in the US only – a petition against John Lennon's expulsion from the country. Early pressings had a message etched into the inner groove area of the vinyl: "John and Yoko forever, peace on earth and good will to men 72".

The cover concept continued Lennon's desire to present his music as a newspaper or diary. Inspired by the New York Times, the artwork printed the lyrics to the studio songs, along with photographs, montages and drawings, and the parody motto: "Ono news that's fit to print".

One of the images, to illustrate Yoko Ono's song We're All Water, featured Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong dancing naked together. The montage made many US retailers nervous, particularly in the wake of Lennon and Ono's 1968 album Unfinished Music No 1: Two Virgins.

"You see how they banned the picture here. Yoko made this beautiful poster: Chairman Mao and Richard Nixon dancing naked together, you see? And the stupid retailers stuck a gold sticker over it that you can't even steam off. At least you could steam off that Beatles cover [Yesterday... And Today]. So you see the kind of pressure Yoko and I were getting, not only on a personal level, and the public level, and the court case, and the fucking government, and this, that, and the other, but every time we tried to express ourselves, they would ban it, would cover it up, would censor it."
John Lennon, 1980
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

Some Time In New York City was critically panned upon its release. Reviewers were disappointed by Lennon's abandonment of the pop music he had embraced on Imagine, and the mainstream press had little sympathy for Lennon's broad-brush sloganeering and simplistic treatment of political issues. The reaction of Rolling Stone magazine was typical:

"Throughout their artistic careers, separately and together, the Lennons have been committed avant-gardists. Such commitment takes guts. It takes even more guts when you've made it so big that you don't need to take chances to stay on top: the Lennons should be commended for their daring. What is deplorable, however, is the egotistical laziness (and the sycophantic milieu in which it thrives) that allows artists of such proven stature, who claim to identify with the 'working class hero', to think they can patronise all whom they would call sisters and brothers."
Stephen Holden
Rolling Stone

The reception was a blow to Lennon, who subsequently suffered self-doubt about the quality of his songwriting. None of his later works had the vitality of his first two solo albums, and he increasingly followed musical fashions rather than creating his own standards.

"Most other people express themselves by playing football at weekends or shouting. But here am I in New York and I hear about thirteen people shot dead in Ireland and I react immediately. And being what I am I react in four-to-the-bar with a guitar break in the middle. I don't say, 'My God, what's happening, we should do something.' I go: 'It was Sunday Bloody Sunday/And they shot the people down...' It's not like the Bible. It's all over now. It's gone. It's finished."
John Lennon, 1972
New Musical Express

Lennon later admitted the public reaction to Some Time In New York City had an adverse effect on his work.

It almost ruined it. It became journalism and not poetry. And I basically feel that I'm a poet. Then I began to take it seriously on another level, saying, 'Well, I am reflecting what is going on, right?'
John Lennon, 1975

Chastened by the reviews, Lennon began to adopt a lower profile. In the United Kingdom the single Happy Xmas (War Is Over) was finally released in November 1972, almost a year after it had been issued in America. Lennon and Ono moved into the Dakota building early in 1973, and he spent more than a year away from the recording studio before returning in 1973 with Mind Games.

The release
Some Time In New York City was issued in the United States in June 1972, and peaked at number 48. Three months later, following a copyright dispute over Yoko Ono's co-writing credits, it was released in the United Kingdom. Despite numerous imported copies having been sold, it reached number 11 in the UK charts.

Sales of the album were additionally affected by its high price. Although the Live Jam disc was intended as a free bonus album, it was given a separate catalogue number which pushed up the price of the package.

Critics savaged Some Time in New York City, and fans apparently agreed. The project barely cracked Billboard's Top 50, marking the worst post-Beatles showing for one of Lennon's original albums. Chastised, he quickly turned back toward the kind of conventional songwriting that made 1971's Imagine a double-platinum smash. Lennon would score three more Top 20 hits over the next couple of years, including the chart-topping "Whatever Gets You Through the Night," before retiring to focus on family.

Still, like even the least of the Beatles' solo projects, Some Time in New York City wasn't without its small-scale charms. "New York City" served as a Chuck Berry-esque mash note to Lennon's new hometown, an effortless romp in an album sorely lacking such moments. A steel-stringed Dobro imbued "John Sinclair" with a delightful rootsiness. Driven along by a nasty slide, "Attica State" was one of Lennon's more purposeful rockers – never an easy thing to accomplish among producer Phil Spector's legendary clutter. "Woman is the N----- of the World," the latest in a string of sloganeering attempts that went back to "Give Peace a Chance," built to a dark and thunderous conclusion.

John Lennon - 1972 - Sometime In New York City Sessions

(2014 Misterclaudel : MCCD 403/403/404)
Unreleased Session and Demo Tracks
Record Plant, New York, February-March 1972

Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
101. Demo (1971) 3:16
102. Basic Track - Rough Mix #1 3:20
103. Basic Track - Rough Mix #2 3:33
Woman Is The Nigger Of The World
104. Demo (1971) 2:14
105. Demo (1971) 5:35
Attica State
106. Demo Take 1 (1971) 2:40
107. Demo Take 2 (1971) 0:34
108. Demo Take 3 (1971) 2:58
109. Studio Rehearsal 3:01
New York City
110. Demo (1971) 1:16
111. Rehearsal #1 6:31
112. Rehearsal #2 0:43
113. Take 1 (Breakdown) 1:08
114. Take 2 (Breakdown) 0:17
115. Take 3 4:17
116. Take 4 (Breakdown) 0:55
117. Takes 5 & 6 2:36
118. Take 7 (Breakdown) 0:57
119. Take 8 4:31
120. Take 9 4:35
121. Take 10 (Breakdown) 1:47
122. Take 11 5:09
123. Take 12 (Breakdown) 0:15
124. Take 13 3:49
125. Take 14 4:05
126. Takes 15 & 16 2:36
127. Take 17 3:29
128. Takes 18 & 19 (Breakdown) 0:47

New York City
201. Take 20 3:05
202. Let’s Ride 0:53
203. Take 21 5:29
204. Takes 22, 23 & 24 5:10
The Luck Of The Irish
205. Demo Take 1 0:46
206. Demo Take 2 1:34
207. Rehearsal #1 1:13
208. New York City/Rehearsal #2 1:04
209. Rehearsal #3 1:40
210. Rehearsal #4 1:00
211. Rehearsal #5 0:33
212. Rehearsal #6 0:41
213. Rehearsal Take 1 3:48
214. Rehearsal #7 2:29
215. Rehearsal #8 2:21
216. Rehearsal #9 4:07
217. Take 1 (Breakdown) 0:15
218. Take 2 2:41
219. Rehearsal #10 1:38
220. Rehearsal #11 2:19
John Sinclair
221. Demo 2:32
222. JJ (Take 1) 1:15
223. JJ (Take 2) 1:09
224. People 1:54
1971 Demos
225. Send Me Some Lovin’ 3:13
226. He Got The Blues 2:37
227. I Ain’t Got Time 3:09
228. She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain 1:02

‘Sometime In New York City’ - Studio Jam Session
301. Roll Over Beethoven 2:28
302. Honey Don’t 2:59
303. Ain’t That A Shame 2:28
304. My Baby-Not Fade Away 2:26
305. Send Me Some Lovin’ 2:44
306. Whole Lotta Shakin’/It’ll Be Me 5:28
307. Honey Hush 2:10
308. Don’t Be Cruel/Hound Dog 4:25
309. Caribbean 3:07
Attica State Benefit Concert; December 17, 1971
310. Intro 0:56
311. Attica State 3:22
312. Sisters, O Sisters 3:46
313. Imagine 3:03
POP 2; January 8, 1972
314. Bring On The Lucie (Freda People)/Attica State 1:27
315. George Jackson (Improvisation) 0:40
316. Bring On The Lucie (Freda Peopl) #2 0:28
Eyewitness News Rehearsals; August 1972
317. Woman Is The Nigger Of The World 2:48
318. Fools Like Me 1:37
319. Caribbean 1:41
320. Peggy Sue/Bring It On Home 0:57
321. Rock Island Line 1:47
322. Maybe Maybe 1:45
323. Peggy Sue 0:20

John Lennon's move to New York City coincided with a political shift leftward and, perhaps not coincidentally, lingering issues with immigration. The result was one of his most determinedly topical, most critically reviled and most often ignored solo projects.
Some Time in New York City, a double album released on June 12, 1972, followed Lennon's mantra that the best songs were those where you simply "say what you want to say and put a backbeat to it." He had long been obsessed with getting songs out as quickly as possible, memorably having written 1970's "Instant Karma" in the morning and recorded it later that same day. This album was the natural outgrowth of this impulse, a recording focused on the issues of that very moment in time — ripped, as they say, right from the headlines. Unfortunately, those old dailies have become yellowed and frayed.
Lennon's biggest successes at quick-turnaround songwriting so far had been distinctly personal: the Beatles' "Ballad of John and Yoko" and the early solo song "Cold Turkey." Adapting that kind of top-of-his-head commentary to issues of the day might have resonated back then, but few people remember John Sinclair (the writer and MC5 band manager jailed for passing two joints to an undercover cop) and the Attica prison riots (sparked by demands for better living conditions) now. Both were big news in 1971, and the subjects of songs on Some Time in New York City – which, fittingly, used an instantly dated newspaper mock-up for its cover image – but are nothing more than Google fodder for the most committed fan today.
Without universal themes that could resonate across generations, Some Time in New York City tends to come off as empty proselytizing. The sentiments were too brittle, and often all edge — the result, no doubt, of their rushed creation. Even Lennon eventually came to see the folly of this kind of freeze-dried creativity. "I like to do inspirational work," he told David Sheff in 1980. "I'd never write a song like ['John Sinclair'] now."
Worse, many of the sentiments sound just like what they were: songs written for instant consumption. Sample lyric from "Angela," about a jailed Black Panther supporter: "They gave you coffee; they gave you tea / They gave you everything but equality." Meanwhile, "The Luck of the Irish" – one of two songs that supported Northern Ireland's Republican movement – included lazy (reportedly Yoko Ono-composed) cliches like shamrocks, leprechauns and the hope that the world would one day become "one big Blarney stone."
The muscular, often messy backing of Elephant's Memory, a local group Lennon had fallen in with, only underscores the drive-by nature of the content.
To some degree, Lennon seemed to be focusing outward in order to avoid the looming problems in his life. As he'd become a fixture in New York City's counterculture, issues with the U.S. government began to intensify. Lennon finally received a letter from the INS earlier in 1972 demanding that he leave the country in three weeks or face deportation. Grasping at straws, they cited a 1968 misdemeanor conviction for marijuana possession. Lennon lawyered up, but the fight continued unabated until President Nixon's entanglement in the Watergate scandal. Lennon finally received his green card in 1976.
"It was hassling me, because that was when I was hanging out with Elephant's Memory, and I wanted to rock – to go out on the road. But I couldn't do that because I always had to be in New York for something, and I was hassled," Lennon told Hit Parader in 1975. "I guess it showed in me work. But whatever happens to you happens in your work."

In truth, time had already rendered some of the songs irrelevant before the album even arrived. The paper-thin lyrics to "John Sinclair" ("Free John now," Lennon sang, "if we can") were dashed off for use during a political rally on Dec. 10, 1971, in Ann Arbor – and Sinclair was promptly released three days later. (Incidentally, the FBI's lengthy surveillance of Lennon began at this rally.) Angela Davis, subject of the similarly outdated "Angela," had also been acquitted by the summer of 1972.
Worse, sometimes Lennon's sentiments simply made no sense. "Sunday Bloody Sunday," which took the side of the IRA against the British Army in the ongoing violent struggles in Ireland, served to muddy Lennon's longstanding stand on pacifism. "Attica State," written before a drunken birthday jam session in 1971, took his suddenly disorganized passions another step further: "Free all prisoners everywhere," Lennon sang. "All they want is truth and justice."
Critics savaged Some Time in New York City, and fans apparently agreed. The project barely cracked Billboard's Top 50, marking the worst post-Beatles showing for one of Lennon's original albums. Chastised, he quickly turned back toward the kind of conventional songwriting that made 1971's Imagine a double-platinum smash. Lennon would score three more Top 20 hits over the next couple of years, including the chart-topping "Whatever Gets You Through the Night," before retiring to focus on family.
"I'm pretty movable, as an artist, you know. ... It became journalism and not poetry – and I basically feel that I'm a poet," he told Rolling Stone in 1975. "Then I began to take it seriously on another level, saying, 'Well, I am reflecting what is going on, right?' And then I was making an effort to reflect what was going on. Well, it doesn't work like that. It doesn't work as pop music or what I want to do. It just doesn't make sense."
Still, like even the least of the Beatles' solo projects, Some Time in New York City wasn't without its small-scale charms. "New York City" served as a Chuck Berry-esque mash note to Lennon's new hometown, an effortless romp in an album sorely lacking such moments. A steel-stringed Dobro imbued "John Sinclair" with a delightful rootsiness. Driven along by a nasty slide, "Attica State" was one of Lennon's more purposeful rockers – never an easy thing to accomplish among producer Phil Spector's legendary clutter. "Woman is the Nigger of the World," the latest in a string of sloganeering attempts that went back to "Give Peace a Chance," built to a dark and thunderous conclusion.
A second disc of live performances was hit and miss. The first side marked an important passage with songs from a 1969 performance featuring George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Billy Preston, while the second – from a 1971 encore with Frank Zappa – was occasionally brilliantly unhinged.