Monday, February 26, 2007
Saturday, February 24, 2007
A new two-hour movie edited from footage shot by John Lennon and his widow Yoko Ono's first husband Tony Cox in 1970 is to premiere in Maine next month (March 07).
"3 Days in the Life" was filmed at various locations including the late Beatle's country estate in England and at rehearsals. Cut down from 10 hours of original footage, 3 Days In The Life will be screened at the Patricia Baldwin Whipple Arts Center at the Berwick Academy in South Berwick on 6 March 07).
From Contact Music
Friday, February 23, 2007
Yoko Ono has granted permission for an unfinished track by her late husband John Lennon to be finished by his Beatles bandmates.
The song, called "Now and Then", will be completed by Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr after Ono - who owns the rights to Lennon's solo material - gave the project a cautious green light.
She says, "It's up to them. But no, I'm not against it."
McCartney and Starr previously tried to revive the track more than a decade ago (95) for inclusion in The Beatles Anthology. However, George Harrison vetoed the idea.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
"John, I felt at the very beginning, was a real genius. I never met anybody that young, at twenty-three, who was a musician, a composer, a songwriter, an artist, an actor, and a poet all rolled into one."
Walter Shenson, pictured here with Paul McCartney and Richard Lester
"John was my favourite - he also kept one on one's toes. You did not want to say stupid things around John because he would catch you at it and think less of you. And in those days he was outspoken enough to tell you you were a fool if you were acting like one. "
(quotes by Walter Shenson, producer of "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!")
On June 15th 1968 John and Yoko planted two acorns in the grounds of Coventry Cathedral to symbolize peace - one facing East towards Japan and the other facing West to represent Britain. The acorns were buried at the centre of a circular bench, as part of the National Sculpture Exhibition.
They named the sculpture "Yoko by John, John by Yoko - This is what happens when two clouds meet". The idea was that people could sit on the wrought-iron seat and think about the acorns growing into trees.
Planting acorns, 1968
However, the organisers of the exhibition said that the seat couldn't be classed as a sculpture and should therefore not be placed with the other exhibits. The cathedral staff also objected to having the sculpture in the cathedral grounds because John and Yoko were both divorced.
John and Yoko's circular seat
John and Yoko had prepared a leaflet to explain what the acorn exhibition was about, but Canon Verney of Coventry Cathedral refused to distribute the leaflet to cathedral visitors. Here is the letter which John wrote in reply:
28th June 1968
Dear Canon Verney,
Thank you for your Christian attitude. I think the leaflet is explicit - Anthony Fawcett's notes are especially for 'puzzled people' - anyway do you have to explain an acorn? I don't understand why you can't issue our leaflet, unless you worry about gossip (cast the first stone, etc.) The Christian Church does allow divorce doesn't it? Christians are supposed to stand for truth. Christ stood for people - Yoko and I are people.
Of course the piece is about Yoko and me - it's also about you and me, and anyone else you care to mention - it's about everyone and everything. You talk about young people as if you knew something about them - you obviously don't or you wouldn't be worried about our influence on them. Jesus would have loved our piece for what it is.
Love John Lennon
P.S. Could we not substitute something which is not worth stealing, instead of Coventry Cathedral, and which says quite simply "Sit here, and think of a church growing into a bigger church". Then we needn't bother to have clergy and everybody can enjoy THE idea.
The acorns were thought to be stolen by souvenir hunters after a few days.
The event had not attracted as much attention from the media as John and Yoko had hoped, so in 1969 they tried again. This time they sent acorns to as many world leaders as they could think of and asked them to plant the acorn for peace. Many of them did not respond, but several are believed to have planted their acorn.
"We're going to send two acorns for peace to every world leader from John and Yoko. Perhaps if they plant them and watch them grow they may get the idea into their heads" - John Lennon
"It was just a beautiful idea of John's to plant an acorn" - Yoko Ono
"We suddenly realised that when we planted the two acorns together, there was no distance between them. The famous poem of 'East is east, and west is west, and never the twain shall meet' was true - but John and I brought east and west together out of our love." - Yoko Ono (quote from Guardian Unlimited)
"The acorn is a symbol of growth and if you plant it the tree will grow. But if you bomb it, it won't." - John Lennon (from the Eamonn Andrews Show)
To mark the 25th anniversary of John's death in 2005, Yoko returned to Coventry Cathedral to launch Coventry Peace Month. Here is an article about her visit:
Article from icCoventry, 2005
The line "fifty acorns tied in a sack" from "The Ballad of John and Yoko" refers to the acorn campaign.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
A TV movie boasting shocking revelations about the life of John Lennon has been axed after his widow Yoko Ono reportedly withdrew her support. "Working Class Hero" listed the artist as Executive Consultant on the credits, but British newspaper The Sun claims she gave up on the project over content concerns.
The documentary features previously unseen footage of the former Beatle, as well as controversial interviews with first wife Cynthia Lennon and the singer's psychiatrist.
A source tells the newspaper: "The film had been several months in the making but at the last minute Yoko withdrew her support."
However, EMI claims the programme was ditched because it wasn't completed in time to coincide with a planned record release. Lennon was shot dead by deranged fan Mark Chapman in 1980.
(I remember reading about this documentary a couple of years ago - I think it was supposed to have been shown at the same time as the "Working Class Hero" album was released in 2005.)
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Saturday, February 17, 2007
I was looking at a website about the Chinese Zodiac and thought I'd find out which sign each of the Beatles was born under. The descriptions were so accurate I was amazed!
George - 1943, Year of the Goat
Paul - 1942, Year of the Horse
John and Ringo - 1940, Year of the Dragon (I think this one applies more to John than to Ringo)
What do you think?
John and Yoko were obviously aware of the significance of the dragon - the John Lennon Museum website has a picture of a black Yamaha acoustic guitar with a dragon motif that Yoko gave John in 1977.
It's Yoko Ono's birthday tomorrow, February 18th, and she'll be 74. Whether you love her or hate her it can't be denied that she was a very important part of John Lennon's life. Personally I'm not a big fan of Yoko's but I think if John loved her that's all that matters to me. Here are some pictures of Yoko both alone and with John.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Yoko Ono says she sometimes regretted falling in love with John Lennon, because the couple had to "sacrifice" so much for it.
The late Beatle was mocked for his feelings for her and she was discredited as an artist, the 73-year-old says.
Yet their romance was still the best thing that ever happened to her, Ono adds.
She and Lennon went public with their relationship in 1968, instantly captivating the media with their alternative lifestyle and devotion to each other.
But when the Beatles split in 1970, fans blamed Ono, accusing her of pushing her husband into going solo.
"It was the greatest thing that ever happened to me," the artist told Time Out New York of her romance with Lennon.
"But you know, I sometimes regretted that I fell in love, because we sacrificed a lot for it."
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Friday, February 09, 2007
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Everything you need to know about "Images Of A Woman", a painting produced by all four Beatles during their 1966 Japan tour.
"Images Of A Woman"
The Beatles arrived in Tokyo on June 29th, 1966. They had received death threats before the trip to Japan and were advised not to leave their hotel, the Tokyo Hilton. Paul and Mal Evans took a walk around the Imperial Palace and John visited the Oriental Market and Asahi Gallery, but other than that they stayed in the hotel room all day until it was time for their concert at the Budokan Hall.
The Budokan was used for sumo wrestling, which was very popular in Japan and there were protests outside the stadium by people who felt the Beatles should not be allowed into the home of sumo wrestling.
"We met these sumo wrestlers and there was a little bit of friction about playing there. We had a police and soldier escort for 2 miles, all the way to the stadium, but once we got into the show it was great and the Japanese were very kind." - Alf Bicknell (the Beatles' chauffeur)
To keep busy during the long days stuck in the hotel room, the Beatles were given some paper and paints by their Japanese promoter. The paper was 30 inches by 40 inches and was placed on a table with a lamp at the centre. Working by the light of the lamp, each of the Beatles decorated their own corner of the paper with oil paints and watercolours. Paul's corner had a symmetrical, psychedelic feel, while John's had a dark centre surrounded by thick oils. George's part of the picture was large and colourful, and Ringo's was cartoon-like. When the lamp was removed from the table, it left a white circle in the middle of the painting, which was signed by all four of the Beatles.
The Beatles working on their painting
"I never saw them calmer, more contented than at this time. They were working on something that let their personalities come out. I think it's the only work they ever did all together that had nothing to do with music. They were very harmonious and happy, calling their wives and girlfriends, all the time doing this painting. They'd stop, go and do a concert and then it was "Let's go back to the picture!" - Robert Whitaker (photographer)
[Above quotes and information from MOJO, 1000 Days That Shook The World]
With the completed painting
This article appeared in the Liverpool Echo on May 8 2002:
BEATLES ART GOES UNDER THE HAMMER
The Beatles visited Japan only once in 1966 for exactly 100 hours.
But they were so bored holed up in their VIP suite in Tokyo's Hilton Hotel they decided to paint a picture.
Today, that painting is expected to sell for over £350,000 when it goes on sale on the Internet.
John, Paul, George and Ringo painted the picture called Images Of A Woman while on tour in Japan in 1966.
Brian Epstein, the late manager of the band, handed them a large canvas and asked them to create some artwork.
The finished painting was eventually presented to Mr Tetsusaburo Shimoyama, who was chairman of the band's fan club in Japan.
A spokesperson for eBay said: "We certainly believe this picture is as great as Picasso's and Van Gogh's, although the quality is completely different.
"It is true that John Lennon's illustration is highly esteemed as an artistic lithograph.
"And it is not too much to regard Images of a Woman as the one and only Beatles' painted picture in the world because no similar pictures by those four members has been discovered in the world."
A spokesperson for Liverpool's Mathew Street Gallery said: "It is a very famous painting.
" The guy who owned it recently died and that is why it has come up for auction.
"This is the second time it has been up for auction because last time it did not meet its reserve price.
"I believe it already has this time. It's a wonderful painting."
John and Paul painting
Ringo's corner of the painting
Paul's corner of the painting
George's corner of the painting
John's corner of the painting
This is another painting that John Lennon and Paul McCartney produced during their stay at the Tokyo Hilton.