Het is vandaag al een halve eeuw geleden dat “Some time in New York City” werd uitgebracht, a part-studio, part-live double album by John Lennon and Yoko Ono as Plastic Ono Band that included backing by Elephant’s Memory, a local band known for their hard partying and anti-establishment musical style. It is the third album to bear Lennon’s name since he left the Beatles. Like Lennon’s previous solo albums, it was co-produced by Lennon and Phil Spector. The album’s agitprop lyrics are very politically charged compared to its predecessors, discussing political and social issues and topics such as sexismincarcerationcolonialism, and racism.

The live portion, released as Live Jam, was recorded on 15 December 1969 at the Lyceum Ballroom in London for a UNICEF charity concert and on 6 June 1971 at Fillmore East in New York City. Musicians who contributed to the 1969 performance included Eric ClaptonGeorge HarrisonNicky HopkinsKeith Moon and Klaus Voormann, while the 1971 performance featured Frank Zappa and his band the Mothers of Invention (*). Ondanks al die grote namen heb ik die elpee slechts één keer gedraaid (namelijk bij de aankoop), terwijl ik de andere nummers ondanks de nadrukkelijke Grote Boodschap ook nu nog af en toe draai (niet die van Yoko Ono natuurlijk). Blijkbaar was ik niet de enige om er zo over te denken, want when Some Time in New York City was reissued on compact disc in 2005 as a single album, several of the Live Jam songs were removed while other non-album singles were added (o.a. “Happy Xmas War Is Over”).

Although the UK release managed a number 11 chart peak, it only went to number 48 in the US. Lennon was reportedly stunned by the album’s failure and consequently did not record new music for almost a year. (Wikipedia)

Ronny De Schepper

(*)  Zappa was critical of Lennon and Ono’s handling of the recordings of the Mothers performance, as the vocals of Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan had been removed, eventually releasing his own version of the performance on Playground Psychotics (1992). 

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