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Old 01-24-2010, 01:03 PM
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John Lennon - Did he ever tour or do one-off shows as a solo artist?

I was five years old when John Lennon was murdered, so I don't have any first hand knowledge of him as an artist until way after the fact.

I don't know if I've ever seen footage of Lennon performing as a solo artist. I'm sure he played here or there, but can anyone tell me if he ever toured or put on shows on his own? Did any of you have the chance to see him?
Old 01-24-2010, 01:09 PM
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Well, him and Yoko did the famous Bed-in a two week long demonstration for Peace. They recorded Give Peace a Chance during that stunt.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bed-In

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lennon

Quote:
The couple were married in Gibraltar on 20 March 1969, and spent their honeymoon in Amsterdam campaigning for an international "Bed-In" for peace. They planned another "Bed-in" in the United States, but were denied entry. The couple then went to neighbouring Montréal, and during a "Bed-in" at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel recorded "Give Peace a Chance".[133] Lennon and Ono often combined advocacy with performance art, as in their "Bagism", which was first introduced during a Vienna press conference. Lennon detailed this period in The Beatles' song "The Ballad of John and Yoko".[134] In April 1969, on the roof of Apple Records, Lennon changed his middle name to Ono.

Last edited by aceplace57; 01-24-2010 at 01:14 PM.
Old 01-24-2010, 01:20 PM
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Bagism is a form of performance art created by John and Yoko.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bagism

Quote:
The intent of bagism was to satirize prejudice and stereotyping. Bagism involved literally wearing a bag over one's entire body. According to John and Yoko, by living in a bag, a person could not be judged by others on the basis of skin color, gender, hair length, attire, age, or any other such attributes.
Old 01-24-2010, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HelloNinja View Post
I was five years old when John Lennon was murdered, so I don't have any first hand knowledge of him as an artist until way after the fact.

I don't know if I've ever seen footage of Lennon performing as a solo artist. I'm sure he played here or there, but can anyone tell me if he ever toured or put on shows on his own? Did any of you have the chance to see him?
Lennon only rarely performed post-Beatles as a 'solo' act. He performed at a Montreal "Rock & Roll Revival" festival in the fall of '69 with Yoko and a loose-knit band called "the Plastic Ono Band." (But it was definitely JOHN LENNON & the Plastic Ono Band.) He also performed a number of benefit concerts at Madison Square Gardens in NYC in '72. He also performed numbers on several TV shows, including "the Dick Cavett Show" where he performed the very controversial song "Women is the Nigger of the World" (that's the actual title, folks) But he never extensively toured as a solo act. Not like he had to; I mean he was JOHN LENNON! Of course people were gonna buy his records, there was no need for him to go on the road and plug them if he didn't want to.

Live John Lennon 'solo' recordings:

Live Peace In Toronto
Live in New York

Last edited by Don Draper; 01-24-2010 at 01:34 PM.
Old 01-24-2010, 04:22 PM
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Lennon appeared on live on stage with Frank Zappa and the Mothers in 1971. There are various mixes of the concert. AFAIK, Lennon's appearance was not publicized before the show -- he and Yoko just showed up.
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Old 01-24-2010, 05:16 PM
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Lennon also spent half his post-Beatles life (5 years) not recording anything, which at the time was a very long period for a major star not to put out an album. He spent his time getting stoned, baking bread and watching television.

One of his best performances was going on WNEW-FM in New York one afternoon and spending 3 hours talking and playing records with DJ Dennis Elsias. It showed off the man's wit and word play.

Lennon also avoided things like George Harrison's "Concert for Bangladesh" because he was afraid with George and Ringo there, there would be many calls for Paul to show up and "Beatles reunion"-what John had spent several years trying to get past.
Old 01-24-2010, 06:29 PM
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I seem to have read that the Beatles themselves were not considered a "touring" band. Sure they played a lot of live shows, but it wasn't their focus. They spent a lot of time in the studio, so thankfully we have a large catalog of their works to enjoy.
Old 01-24-2010, 07:08 PM
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They were very much a touring band in their early years, because that was the only way they could survive. They would play 12 hour a day, seven days a week, for months while they were in Hamburg, and they did two stints in Hamburg. From 1960 to 1963 they were traveling and performing constantly and in very unpleasant conditions. They recorded their first 2 albums around their touring schedule, and after they became successful in America, they began their World Tours. 30 shows in 29 cities in 32 days was the norm. Basically from the years of '58-66, they were the definition of a touring band.

They stopped in '66 for several reasons and spent the next 3 years exclusively in the studio. Paul, for one, loved doing live shows and by the time the Beatles broke up, he was very eager to start touring again. John did not love live shows, and honestly, I don't blame him. Their schedule was grueling and I can't imagine he looked back on those days with a hint of nostalgia. I never read or saw any indication that he was eager to tour again, and so I'm not really surprised that after '66, he never really got back to it.

Last edited by pepperlandgirl; 01-24-2010 at 07:09 PM.
Old 01-24-2010, 07:10 PM
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They were a touring band in the beginning. But toward the end, the tours were very scary -- they were nearly attacked by an angry mob in the Philippines and there was a lot of tension when they played the southern US after the "Bigger than God" remark (when a firecracker went off during a show, they honestly feared it was a gunshot). It also didn't help that fans threw jelly beans at them; George in particular hated that.

But after that final tour, they gave up on being on the road as a combination of hating the experience and also because their music was difficult to take on the road, since in the studio it required overdubs and added musicians.
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Old 01-24-2010, 08:42 PM
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The other major problem that made it a drag is that they could never hear themselves -- they had no foldback speakers. The thing is, no matter how bad the show was, the girls would scream anyway, and it didn't seem as if they were into the music, just the fact that they were seeing the Beatles. This caused disenchantment within the group because they felt they weren't being taken seriously.

As bad as they were, though, the Beatles were often much better in concert than the Stones were -- listen to "Got Live If You Want It", and then compare that to "The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl" or any of the bootlegged concerts, eg. Vancouver, Seattle, Liverpool, Tokyo... and you'll see what I mean.
Old 01-24-2010, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by In Winnipeg View Post
The other major problem that made it a drag is that they could never hear themselves -- they had no foldback speakers.
They pretty much didn't exist when the Beatles were touring. I ran across a article in Mix magazine that described the system they used at their last concert at Candlestick Park:
When The Beatles played their last concert, at San Francisco's Candlestick Park in 1966, the equipment list for the show could have been written on the back of an envelope. The mics were Shure SM56s, the speakers were modified Altec A-7s powered by Altec 1569 80-watt tube amplifiers, and McCune Sound's Mort Feld mixed the show on one or two Altec 1567 five-input rotary pot tube mixers.

This is much smaller than most bands would use for a modestly sized night club. I mean, not even an Altec A2?
Old 01-24-2010, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by In Winnipeg View Post
The other major problem that made it a drag is that they could never hear themselves -- they had no foldback speakers. The thing is, no matter how bad the show was, the girls would scream anyway, and it didn't seem as if they were into the music, just the fact that they were seeing the Beatles. This caused disenchantment within the group because they felt they weren't being taken seriously.

As bad as they were, though, the Beatles were often much better in concert than the Stones were -- listen to "Got Live If You Want It", and then compare that to "The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl" or any of the bootlegged concerts, eg. Vancouver, Seattle, Liverpool, Tokyo... and you'll see what I mean.
I hope that your opinion is based on having actually been at both Beatle and Stones concerts and not just watching bootleg videos. I saw the Beatles at their '65 Hollywood Bowl show and have seen the Stones several times. The Beatles put on a great show, but I wouldn't say it was a much better show than any of the Stones concerts I attended.
Old 01-24-2010, 09:42 PM
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Lennon actually suffered from stage fright.

His last major appearance on stage was with Elton John on Thanksgiving night in '74 and that was due to losing a bet with Elton.
Old 01-24-2010, 09:44 PM
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I've always found the differences between Paul and John fascinating.

John pretty much wasted his enormous talent after the Beatles.

Paul went back to his roots. He formed a modest band of semi-pro musicians and called it Wings. The first couple years he had a ball touring England. I saw a documentary on the BBC. They'd pull into a college and ask the student affairs director if they could play. Naturally no one turned him down. Critics panned Wings because it wasn't slick and commercial. But, that was the whole point. Paul wanted to get back to making music for fun and being with his mates. Heck he even put his wife in the band. Eventually Wings did become a huge success.

I kind of felt sorry for the Beatles. No musician wants that kind of insane success. They couldn't go anywhere without being mobbed and causing a riot. Elvis had the same problem. Sure, musicians want some success. But, they also want a private life too.

Last edited by aceplace57; 01-24-2010 at 09:47 PM.
Old 01-24-2010, 09:54 PM
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Plastic Ono Band

And to side-track thread just a bit, why did he appear to be chewing gum inbetween singing?

Thanks

Quas' (The eternal Beatls' fan)
Old 01-24-2010, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Quasimodem View Post
And to side-track thread just a bit, why did he appear to be chewing gum inbetween singing?
It keeps the saliva flowing. Pavorotti chews gum too.
Old 01-24-2010, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
Lennon appeared on live on stage with Frank Zappa and the Mothers in 1971. There are various mixes of the concert. AFAIK, Lennon's appearance was not publicized before the show -- he and Yoko just showed up.
And, as Zappa pointed out in an interview, some douchebag stole the original 2" master videotapes, replacing them with some tape that was most definitively not Zappa and Lennon.
Old 01-24-2010, 11:34 PM
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John pretty much wasted his enormous talent after the Beatles.

Really? All the Beatles fans I know, including myself, have most, if not all, of Lennon's solo stuff both recorded and live and can get into heated conversations about his work. Paul's stuff, not so much. Harrison's and Ringo's? Even less. Lennon's post-beatles work is still something I study as an amateur musician and as a 60-70s culture armchair anthropologist. Songs like God, Mother, and Working Class Hero are really incredible considering their themes and date of release. After that first album he then released 4 or 5 more in less than 10 years.

I dont begrudge Lennon some time off. I absolutely hate our current "entertain us, Celebrity" culture in which we dont even consider these people to be real people anymore who need things like vacations or who just want to raise a kid or two.
Old 01-24-2010, 11:56 PM
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I was referring to John's lack of touring as a waste of talent. He spent a lot of years in his NY apartment. I'm not familiar with a lot of John's solo work because it didn't get much airplay. Imagine got massive airplay because of his murder.

I'm not knocking his music. I grew up in the 70's and just don't recall hearing much about him except the bed-ins and other stunts he pulled with Yoko. His studio recordings may have been really good. <shrug>

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Originally Posted by HorseloverFat View Post
John pretty much wasted his enormous talent after the Beatles.

Really? All the Beatles fans I know, including myself, have most, if not all, of Lennon's solo stuff both recorded and live and can get into heated conversations about his work. Paul's stuff, not so much. Harrison's and Ringo's? Even less. Lennon's post-beatles work is still something I study as an amateur musician and as a 60-70s culture armchair anthropologist. Songs like God, Mother, and Working Class Hero are really incredible considering their themes and date of release. After that first album he then released 4 or 5 more in less than 10 years.

I dont begrudge Lennon some time off. I absolutely hate our current "entertain us, Celebrity" culture in which we dont even consider these people to be real people anymore who need things like vacations or who just want to raise a kid or two.

Last edited by aceplace57; 01-24-2010 at 11:57 PM.
Old 01-25-2010, 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Fred Garvin View Post
Lennon actually suffered from stage fright.

His last major appearance on stage was with Elton John on Thanksgiving night in '74 and that was due to losing a bet with Elton.
Not quite a losing bet. Elton and his band appeared on Lennon's "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night," and Elton got Lennon to promise to perform on stage with him if it went to Number 1. It did.
Old 01-25-2010, 02:14 AM
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
I was referring to John's lack of touring as a waste of talent. He spent a lot of years in his NY apartment. I'm not familiar with a lot of John's solo work because it didn't get much airplay. Imagine got massive airplay because of his murder.

I'm not knocking his music. I grew up in the 70's and just don't recall hearing much about him except the bed-ins and other stunts he pulled with Yoko. His studio recordings may have been really good. <shrug>
I'm inclined to agree with what I think you're thrusting at, which is: John was the better (or cooler sounding/looking/acting or whatever) Beatle than Paul, but that Paul had a better knack for writing hit songs than John did in the aftermath of the Beatles breakup.

Or something...
Old 01-25-2010, 07:58 AM
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He also dabbled in music production- he produced Harry Nilsson's 'Pussy Cats' in 1974. Unfortunately, it marks the lowpoint of Harry Nilsson's voice (a ruptured vocal cord) and did some work with other people. In addition to 'Whatever Gets You Through the Night' and 'Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds' with Elton John, he also appeared on David Bowie's 'Young Americans' on two tracks ('Fame' and 'Across the Universe') in 74-75.

But there was an immigration battle in there, the 'Lost Weekend', heavy drug use and 'House Husbanding' in the middle there...so he just didn't seem to get out there too much the last six years or so.
Old 01-25-2010, 11:28 AM
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I believe everything has been mentioned except the Rock and Roll Circus. This was a series of two concerts, performed before an invited audience, in Dec. 1968. It was organized by the Rolling Stones and was going to be made into a BBC special, but was deep-sixed by the Stones, reportedly because they were dissatisfied with their performance relative to some of the other acts. (It was finally released in 1996, and I must say I don't know what the Stones' problem was. I think they were fantastic.)

Guest artists included the Who, Jethro Tull, Marianne Faithfull (at the time, the absolute acme of feminine pulchritude), Taj Mahal, and the Dirty Mac, a one-off supergroup consisting of John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, and Mitch Mitchell. The Dirty Mac performed "Yer Blues" and a piece that has received the fitting title of "Whole Lotta Yoko".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rol...nd_Roll_Circus
Old 01-25-2010, 11:32 AM
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There was also an ill-advised John/Yoko album where Yoko screeched and Yelled throughout. Her idea of performance art. I "think" that was the one where they were on the cover naked. They did several albums and may have been a different one.

Last edited by aceplace57; 01-25-2010 at 11:35 AM.
Old 01-25-2010, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
There was also an ill-advised John/Yoko album where Yoko screeched and Yelled throughout. Her idea of performance art. I "think" that was the one where they were on the cover naked. They did several albums and may have been a different one.
You mean Unfinished Music:Two Virgins? (NSFW)

Last edited by installLSC; 01-25-2010 at 11:48 AM.
Old 01-25-2010, 12:00 PM
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I believe everything has been mentioned except the Rock and Roll Circus. (It was finally released in 1996, and I must say I don't know what the Stones' problem was. I think they were fantastic.)
Even though Brian Jones was there in body only, and everyone was completely worn out, the Stones' set was pretty damn good.

One theory on why they didn't release the film is that The Who's performance of "A Quick One" was even better, and that Mick and Co. didn't like the idea of being upstaged in their own film.

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Old 01-25-2010, 12:03 PM
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That's the one. Been awhile since I saw that much hair down there.

Wiki doesn't mention the screaming, but Life with Lions sounds like the infamous Yoko track.
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unfinis...with_the_Lions
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The album opens with an extended and improvised recording entitled "Cambridge 1969", recorded on 2 March at Cambridge University, before a live audience. The piece consists of Yoko Ono's vocalisations accompanied by electric guitar feedback from John Lennon.

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Old 01-25-2010, 01:25 PM
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Two Virgins came out in 1968, while the Beatles were still together. I remember hearing a lot about its cover and how it was covered in paper. Then this album came in that was all white and had "The Beatles" stenciled on it . . . .

Also, I wouldn't call McCartney's Wings "a modest band of semi-pro musicians." It contained Denny Laine, who was the original leader of The Moody Blues (and who sung their first hit) and Denny Seiwell, who had already been a drummer for John Denver, Billy Joel, and other groups. When they started touring, they added Henry McCollough, who had played with Joe Cocker.
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:33 PM
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Wings became a very good band. I still listen to their albums.

This was the early bit I referred to earlier. It's pretty cool that Paul was able to return to his roots and tour informally for awhile.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wings_%28band%29
Quote:
In late 1971, McCartney added ex-Spooky Tooth guitarist Henry McCullough, a native of Northern Ireland, to the line-up of Wings and returned to touring, mounting an impromptu tour of U.K. universities and later a tour of small European venues (with the group driving around in a van), playing no Beatles numbers.
Old 01-25-2010, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
That's the one. Been awhile since I saw that much hair down there.

Wiki doesn't mention the screaming, but Life with Lions sounds like the infamous Yoko track.
This link is safe for work.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unfinis...with_the_Lions
The beginning of "Cambridge 1969".

Time to listen to Metal Machine Music to get that screeching out of my head.
Old 01-25-2010, 02:04 PM
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I saw him on TV once in the 1970s where he performed with his band. It was a special called "Salute to Sir Lew [Grade]." The only thing I remember about it was that he and the rest of his band seemed to be wearing maskes on the back of their head and neck. Now what was that all about?
Old 01-25-2010, 02:15 PM
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Even though Brian Jones was there in body only, and everyone was completely worn out, the Stones' set was pretty damn good.
Although Brian was near the end of his rope at that point, he did manage to turn in a very nice slide guitar performance on "No Expectations", as I recall.
Old 01-25-2010, 11:06 PM
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Paul went back to his roots. He formed a modest band of semi-pro musicians and called it Wings. The first couple years he had a ball touring England. I saw a documentary on the BBC. They'd pull into a college and ask the student affairs director if they could play. Naturally no one turned him down.
Actually I remember Paul being on a call in program and being asked about "Power Cut", a track off Red Rose Speedway. He said it was about the first Wings tour. It got that name because a coal strike at the time meant the power would often be shut off. A number of colleges would refuse to host Wings concerts: some didn't believe it was Paul, some didn't have power, and one didn't want to interrupt finals week(!)
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