Sunday, December 28, 2008

John Lennon in charity TV ad

This is a new TV ad for the charity One Laptop Per Child. The charity was given permission to use John's image in the commercial which is being shown on US TV and on the official OLPC Youtube channel.

Monday, December 08, 2008

In Memory of John Lennon

I miss you, John.

Monday, December 01, 2008

John Lennon: The Solo Albums - #2 Imagine


Recorded: 23 June - 5 July 1971
Released: 9 September 1971 (US), 8 October 1971 (UK)
Produced by: John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Phil Spector

Album Rating: 10/10 Imagine and Plastic Ono Band are my two favourite John Lennon solo albums. I consider them both to be equally good, though very different. While Plastic Ono Band was honest, confessional and emotional, often with a stark, bleak sound, Imagine is much more commercial...which is not necessarily a bad thing!

The title track deserves its reputation as one of the greatest songs ever written, even though I personally prefer some of John's other songs. In Imagine, John describes his vision of a perfect world - a world without religion, countries, or any other reasons for war. Critics are always quick to point out the irony of a millionaire singing 'imagine no possessions' - well, in my opinion the whole point of the song is that he is talking about an imaginary world...he's not trying to tell us what we should and should not do, he's simply asking us to imagine what it would be like.

Crippled Inside is a wonderfully catchy country-style song dealing with the subject of hypocrisy - "You can live a lie until you die, but one thing you can't hide is when you're crippled inside." I love the lyrics of this song!

The next song is the heartbreakingly beautiful Jealous Guy, which is probably my all-time favourite John Lennon song. It's another of his deeply personal and confessional songs, in which he apologises for his possessiveness and insecurity. "I didn't mean to hurt you, I'm sorry that I made you cry; Oh no, I didn't want to hurt you, I'm just a jealous guy." Musically, the song is based on Child Of Nature, a song John had written in India in 1968 and had intended for inclusion on the Beatles' White Album. However, Child Of Nature never made it onto the album but was later rewritten with new lyrics as Jealous Guy. Whenever I hear this song I can literally close my eyes and just lose myself in it.

It's So Hard is an upbeat bluesy song, and is fun to listen to, but not one of the better tracks on the album. However, it brings us down to earth again after the dreaminess of Jealous Guy. My least favourite track, however, is I Don't Want to Be a Soldier. It's very long, at over 6 minutes, and the lyrics quickly become very repetitive. I used to find it boring, but now I don't mind it; it's not a bad song - just not as good as the other tracks.

Another brilliant song is Gimme Some Truth, with the most overtly political lyrics on the album. It also features great vocals and some great guitar playing from George Harrison. The following track, Oh My Love, is an absolutely beautiful ballad with a delicate and haunting melody. I can't describe how gorgeous this song is. Along with Love on Plastic Ono Band, it's one of the greatest love songs I've ever heard.

How Do You Sleep? was John's famous attack on Paul McCartney, written in reply to songs on Paul's Ram album which John felt were aimed at him. Lines like 'the only thing you done was Yesterday and since you're gone you're just Another Day' may be harsh, but whether you approve of the lyrics or not, it's another great song.

How? is another personal favourite of mine. It's a gentle ballad which poses philosophical questions such as 'How can I have feelings when my feelings have always been denied?' and 'How can I give love when love is something I ain't never had?'

The final track on the album, Oh Yoko!, has a lovely uplifting melody and is a simple love song about John's feelings for Yoko. The harmonica is great too. This is a song that I never used to rate very highly, but I recently 'rediscovered' it and now I can't stop listening to it!

This album is a true classic. If you're a new John Lennon fan wondering which album to buy first, this would be a good one to start with.

My highlights: Imagine, Jealous Guy, Gimme Some Truth, Oh My Love, How?, Oh Yoko

Sunday, November 30, 2008

John Lennon: The Solo Albums - #1 Plastic Ono Band

John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band

Recorded: 26 September - 9 October 1970
Released: 11 December 1970
Produced by: John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Phil Spector

Album Rating: 10/10 John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band was John Lennon's first solo album (following three previous albums of experimental avant garde music recorded with Yoko Ono). If you're listening to the album for the first time, don't expect it to sound like the Beatles, as this is about as far away from the Beatles as you can get. Recorded after both John and Yoko had gone through a course of primal therapy with Dr Arthur Janov, John used his music as a way of finally releasing all the pain and anger of his childhood. It's rare to find such honesty on an album - he really lets us see into his soul. All the tracks on the album have sparse arrangements with the production taking second place to the power and emotion of the lyrics and vocals. John himself played piano and guitar on most of the tracks with Klaus Voorman on bass and Ringo Starr on drums (plus additional piano from Billy Preston on "God" and Phil Spector on "Love".)

Mother is the perfect way to open the album - as soon as you hear the funeral bell tolling at the beginning, followed by the emotional lyrics and finally the primal screaming at the end, you know this is going to be a powerful album. The song is an outpouring of John's grief at growing up without his parents - "Mother you had me but I never had you"; "Father you left me but I never left you" - finishing with his heartrending cries of 'Mama don't go, Daddy come home!'

Hold On is a delicately pretty little song which is a bit more optimistic than the rest of the album - "hold on John, John hold on, it's gonna be all right, you're gonna win the fight". Coming straight after Mother, it has a soothing, relaxing effect. In the middle of the song he shouts 'cookie' which is apparently a reference to the Cookie Monster in Sesame Street, though I don't know what that has to do with the rest of the song!

I Found Out, a heavy, bitter-sounding rocker showing how John had become disillusioned with religion, gurus, Jesus, drugs etc, is probably my least favourite track on the album - the lyrics have never moved me the way the lyrics of the other tracks do, though it's still a good song.

The brilliant Working Class Hero contains some of John's greatest lyrics, as he attacks the class system and the way the working classes are controlled by the people in power: "Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV, And you think you're so clever and classless and free". His vocals are also great, as they are throughout the entire album.

Isolation is a depressing but beautiful song with some of my favourite lyrics ever ("I don't expect you to understand, After you've caused so much pain, But then again, you're not to blame, You're just a human, a victim of the insane".)

Although it's maybe not considered to be one of his greatest songs, the nostalgic Remember has always been a personal favourite of mine. The memories John mentions are unpleasant ones, such as 'Remember how the man used to leave you empty handed; Always, always let you down' and 'remember your ma and pa, just wishing for movie stardom; Always, always playing a part', but then he tells us "don't feel sorry 'bout the way it's gone; And don't you worry 'bout what you've done".

Love is yet another highlight - and is one of the most beautiful love songs ever written. The magic of the song lies in its simplicity: simple lyrics and melody, which combine to form a stunningly gorgeous ballad. "Love is real, real is love, Love is feeling, feeling love, Love is wanting to be loved" - what more do you really need to say in a love song? Every time I hear this song I have to stop whatever else I'm doing and give it my full attention - it's just so incredibly beautiful and moving.

I never used to care much for Well Well Well, particularly the lyrics - "I took my loved one out to dinner so we could get a bite to eat; And though we both had been much thinner she looked so beautiful I could eat her" - but I've recently come to love it as much as the rest of the album. There's more primal screaming in this song too.

Look At Me is another gentle ballad, beautiful yet bleak and poignant at the same time. It's similar in style to "Julia" from the Beatles' White Album and in fact was originally written around the time of the White Album.

In God John makes the statement that God "is a concept by which we measure our pain" and then goes on to list all the things he no longer believes in - such as magic, tarot, kings, Elvis, Zimmerman (Bob Dylan) and finally, Beatles. After disregarding everything else in life, he finds that all he is left with is "Yoko and me, and that's reality". This is another brilliant song and one of my favourites.

The album closes with My Mummy's Dead, a short but very sad and moving song about John's mother, Julia, who died when he was seventeen.

Plastic Ono Band is not always easy to listen to as it's so emotional – you really have to be in the right mood for it – but along with Imagine it's my favourite John Lennon album.

My highlights: Mother, Love, God, Isolation, Remember

Saturday, November 29, 2008

We miss you, George

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Still here

A message to everyone visiting this blog -

Due to work and other commitments, I haven't posted any updates for a long time, but I want you all to know I haven't forgotten about my blog. I still love John Lennon as much as ever and I hope to find time to start posting here again soon.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Preview of Magical Mystery Tour

December 17 1967


John 1967

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Magical Mystery Tour

A picture taken during the filming of Magical Mystery Tour.

John and Nigel

Remember this photo I posted of John Lennon and Nigel Whalley?

Here's another picture of John and Nigel outside the Ye Cracke pub in Liverpool.

Photo posted with permission from Peter Hodgson.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Liverpool Beatles Day - 10 July 2008

I received an email asking me to post this information for you. It sounds like fun.


July 10th 2008: BEATLES DAY for The Alder Hey Imagine Appeal & Liverpool Unites

Imagine a time when people in every nation come together each year on 10th July to celebrate the amazing legacy of The Beatles and help local children everywhere!”

10th July 1964

The Beatles are greeted by thousands of screaming fans as they land back atSpeke Airport after conquering the USA for the first time. Later thatevening, over 100,000 fans line the streets of Liverpool as John, Paul,George and Ringo attend a civic reception for the premiere of ‘A Hard Day's Night’.

10th July 2008

The inaugural BEATLES DAY is celebrated in the city of Liverpool, birthplace of the world’s greatest ever pop band.

-Were you one of those who lined the streets of Liverpool on July 10th 1964?
-Were you working at The Hard Day’s Night premiere that evening?
-Were you at Liverpool Art College with Lennon?
-Did you meet your wife at The Cavern in ’62?
-Was your Mum a nurse with Mary McCartney?
-Were you christened John, Paul, George or Ringo?


Today it has been announced that 10th July 2008 will be officially rechristened as the first ever BEATLES DAY, 24 hours when the people of Liverpool will show their love for the Fab Four and raise money for the ALDER HEY IMAGINE APPEAL AND LIVERPOOL UNITES.

Over 20,000 specially-made Beatles-style mop-top wigs will be sold around Merseyside in the days leading up to 10th July, and following a day ofcelebrations all over the region. The spectacular climax will come in the shape of IMAGINE – THE CONCERT at the Summer Pops, hosted by RICKY TOMLINSON. He will be joined by a host of artists young and old from around the country all performing their Beatles favourites at a packed Liverpool Arena!

Chas Cole, Summer Pops promoter and one of the people behind the BEATLES DAY idea. He says: “Everyone’s got a Beatles story in this city, haven’t they? The concert at the Echo Arena will be a great way to finish, but BEATLES DAY is really a chance for the ordinary people of Liverpool to share their memories and have some fun while raising money.

“This is a day where culture will truly belong to the people of Liverpool, when they can show what makes this city the European Capital of Culture; its heritage, humour, boundless enthusiasm under pressure and above all, its ability to not take itself too seriously. B-Day here we come!”

The plan for BEATLES DAY is quite simply for Liverpudlians to go about their daily business as normal on July 10th, the only difference being that they wear Mop Top wigs and share their Beatles stories with the rest of the city!

●THE LIVERPOOL ECHO will print the best of your stories!
● RADIO STATIONS will play Beatles songs and hold phone-ins
● SHOPS and BUSINESSES all over the City will wear wigs, decorate their shop-fronts with Beatles memorabilia and play their songs all day
●SCHOOL CHILDREN will wear wigs and learn about the band’s heritage
●BEATLES TRIBUTE BANDS will play from rooftops
●TV presenters will read the news wearing their wigs!
●SHOP ASSISTANTS, bar staff, market stall sellers, doctors’s surgeries –everyone can take part!!

Phil Redmond at the Culture Company, said: “Liverpool and The Beatles are inseparable. Liverpool made the Beatles what they were and their immortal heritage has come to play a huge role in the way the city is viewed around the world today.

“I would love people to come to view BEATLES DAY as a landmark on the calendar in years to come.”

We hope to create ‘Beatlemania’ again on ‘Beatles Day’ by getting the public involved in all the day’s madness and fun events.

These will include:

* ‘Imagine’ the Concert – an extravaganza at the Arena in which top UK stars perform best loved Beatles songs chosen by the public from voting lines on radio/TV.

* Beatle Wigs/Glasses/Inflatable Guitars - to be sold to local businesses and organizations as well as general public. Profits to go to the charities.

* Beatles Parade – Beatle band will play on back of a truck and parade around the city, visiting Beatles tourist hotspots such as Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, Beatles Story, Mathew Street and to finish outside Arena.

* Beatles Vote – vote to be run by National media so that the public can choose their 10 favourite Beatle songs which would then be played by the artists at the ‘Beatles Day’ concert.

* Beatles Mufti Day – we want schools/businesses to take part by letting their students/staff turn up for work on the day in casual clothes or preferably dressed as Beatles. They can make a donation to the charity for doing this.

* Beatles on the Roof – Beatles band to appear on city centre rooftop to recreate the famous publicity stunt.

* Beatles Fun Run – sponsored run from the Beatles Story Museum at the Albert Dock to the Cavern Club on Mathew Street.

* Beatles Quiz – to be run by the Liverpool Echo and to be included in all the merchandise packs to promote sales. Prize to be VIP tickets to the concert.

* Beatles Day Schools/Children’s Events – various events to engage kids i.e. mufti day as above, fun run around grounds, quiz, painting Beatles portrait etc. Winning portrait would be used in the publicity for next year’s event. We have contacted the LEA and the Children’s Section of the ECoC who are helping to promote this to schools in the region.

“We are using Beatles wigs, glasses and inflatable guitars as a prop for this day, much as a red nose is used for Comic Relief (it's a bit about Liverpool not taking itself too seriously as well). The plan is to have the wigs, glasses etc. on sale in various outlets and to be bought by local businesses for their employees” said Chas Cole.

The public will be encouraged to do such things as:

* Dress up as a Beatle.
* Shave your head for charity and cover it up until it grows back with the Beatles wig.
* Play ‘HIDE YOUR LOVE AWAY’ – you could hide him/her in the cupboard.
* Cook a ‘Beatle meal’:
Starter – Onion Ringos
Mains – Sgt. Peppered Steak
Dessert – Strawberry Fool
* Keep Fit – you and 3 mates have a ‘Band On the Run’ from the Beatles Story at Albert Dock to the Cavern on Mathew Street.
* ‘ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE’ - propose to your girlfriend/boyfriend dressed as the Beatle of your choice.
* Form a band with some mates and become incredibly rich.
* Call Simon Cowell and tell him you’ve got the ‘B’ factor.
* Use the wig to take really embarrassing photos of your mates you can upload on Facebook.
* Spring Clean your house using your wig as a duster.
* When you’ve finished with your wig – recycle it! Use it as a hairy handbag or something to keep your eggs warm….you are the egg man!

We want ‘Beatles Day’ to become an annual event to raise money for Alder Hey, in much the same way that Red Nose Day is an annual event. The Beatles are as synonymous with Liverpool around the world as Liverpool is with the Beatles. ‘Beatles Day’ will be a celebration of that symbiotic relationship.

All proceeds from the event will go to John Lennon's 'Imagine' Children’s charity for Alder Hey hospital and our other chosen charity for this year, which is the Liverpool Unite charity (Rhys Jones Memorial Fund). Each year we will choose a local charity to share the proceeds with the Imagine appeal. IMAGINE how enough publicity would make ‘Beatles Day’ a huge success and make enough money to help worthy children’s causes.....Now IMAGINE how good that feels.....

Donations can be made online at

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sword Swallower

Down With Pants

Sunday, February 10, 2008

'My lost weekend with Lennon': May Pang breaks her silence over their relationship

This is an interesting article from today's Daily Mail.

May Pang talks about her relationship with John, and you can preview some of the photos from her upcoming book "Instamatic Karma" including a picture of John and Paul together.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Nowhere Man

A few of my favourite pictures of John that I haven't posted yet.