John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Plastic Ono Band and Elephant’s Memory – Some Time in New York City (1972)

Plastic Ono Band is a band formed by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1969 as a vehicle for their collaborative and solo projects.

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Lennon and Ono had begun a personal and artistic relationship in 1968, collaborating on several experimental releases. Following their marriage in 1969, they decided that all of their future endeavours would be credited to a conceptual and collaborative vehicle, Plastic Ono Band. The band would go on to feature a rotating lineup of many musicians, including Eric Clapton, Klaus Voormann, Alan White, Billy Preston, Jim Keltner, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, and Lennon’s former Beatles bandmates George Harrison and Ringo Starr. After the Lennons’ move to New York, they began collaborating with Elephant’s Memory, under the moniker of the “Plastic Ono Elephant’s Memory Band”. Lennon’s collaborations continued under similar names, until the winding down of the concept in 1974.

Some Time in New York City is a studio album by John Lennon & Yoko Ono and Elephant’s Memory, and paired with the live album Live Jam as a double album.

Released in 1972, it is Lennon’s third post-Beatles solo album, fifth with Ono, and third with producer Phil Spector. Some Time in New York City fared poorly critically and commercially compared to Lennon’s previous two albums, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine.

While Lennon claimed to have always been politically minded, given his working-class upbringing in class-conscious England (“I’ve been satirizing the system since my childhood,” he once mused), rock-pop sensibilities, clever wordplay, or matters of the heart usually took precedence in his musical output. But here Lennon and Yoko, accompanied by New York’s Elephant’s Memory, sing and scream freely against sexism in “Woman Is the Nigger Of The World” and “Sisters, O Sisters.” They protest incarceration in “John Sinclair,” “Attica State,” and “Born In A Prison,” colonialism in “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “The Luck Of The Irish,” and racism in “Angela.”

The original double album contained the live album Live Jam containing the Plastic Ono Supergroup‘s 15 December 1969 live performance of “Cold Turkey” and “Don’t Worry Kyoko (Mummy’s Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow)” at the Lyceum Ballroom in London, from a UNICEF charity show, billed as the “Peace for Christmas Concert”. In addition to Lennon and Ono, as part of the super group among others was former-Beatle George Harrison, The Who‘s drummer Keith Moon, Delaney & Bonnie, Billy Preston and Legs Larry Smith. Harrison, who before the performance had been touring with Delaney & Bonnie, was excited by Lennon’s proposal over a phone call when asked if he wanted to play with him. The ballroom had its interior cover by posters declaring “WAR IS OVER, if you want it, love John and Yoko. For “Cold Turkey”, Ono had sat inside a white bag which was located near Lennon’s feet, while for “Don’t Worry Kyoko (Mummy’s Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow)”, Ono jumped out of the bag, facing the crowd, and proceeded to scream at them. As the latter song got towards the end of its performance, Ono broke down crying. An early mix of the two tracks was arranged by the Abbey Road Studios engineers on 26 November 1970, and was sent to Lennon and Ono. The album also featured a recording of Lennon and Ono performing with Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention at the Fillmore East on 6 June 1971, which they performed with after the persistence of Andy Warhol.The performance was documented after Ono had arranged for someone to film it. Klaus Voormann overdubbed his bass at a later date.

Side One

Side two
  1. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” – 5:00
  2. “The Luck of the Irish” – 2:56
  3. “John Sinclair” (Lennon) – 3:28
  4. “Angela” – 4:06
  5. “We’re All Water” (Ono) – 7:11
Side three
Performed live at the Lyceum Ballroom in London, England on 15 December 1969, for a UNICEF charity concert
  1. Cold Turkey” (Lennon) – 8:35
  2. Don’t Worry Kyoko” (Ono) – 16:01
Side four
Recorded live at the Fillmore East in New York City with Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention on 6 June 1971
  1. “Well (Baby Please Don’t Go)” (Walter Ward) – 4:41
  2. “Jamrag” – 5:36
  3. “Scumbag” (Lennon/Ono/Frank Zappa) – 4:27
  4. “Au” – 8:04

All songs written by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, except where noted.

Personnel

Studio Album

Live Jam

All credits taken from Lennon’s handwritten credits on the Live Jam inner sleeve.

15 December 1969
  • John Lennon – guitar, vocal
  • Yoko Ono – bag, vocal

For everyone except himself and Ono, Lennon made up pseudonyms:

Uncredited:

6 June 1971

Notes

Released: 12 June 1972 (US), 15 September 1972 (UK)
Recorded:  Studio: December 1971 – 20 March 1972, Live: 15 December 1969, at Lyceum Ballroom, London, 6 June 1971, at Fillmore East, New York City
Genre: Rock
Length:  90:52
Producer(s):  John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Phil Spector

Label – Apple Records

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