Tittenhurst Park

This Tittenhurst Park blog is dedicated to John Lennon's home in Sunningdale, near Ascot, Berkshire between 1969 and 1971. The aim is to gather as much material relating to the estate as possible - obviously with the emphasis on the Lennon-era, but also concerning Tittenhurst Park as it was before and after John Lennon's ownership. In addition, there will be posts about and associated with the Beatles, plus any other rubbish I feel like. The blog is purely meant for the entertainment of anyone (assuming there is actually anyone) who, like me, has an unhealthy interest in one particular Georgian mansion. Those with anything interesting to contribute in the way of links, photos, scans, stories etc. please do contact me: tittenhurstlennon@gmail.com
(Legal: this blog is strictly non-commercial. All material is the property of the photographer/artist/copyright holder concerned. Any such who wishes a picture etc to be removed should contact me and I will do so. Alternatively, if someone is happy to see their photo on here, but would like a credit/link then let me know and I'll be happy to provide one).


Mind Games

Mind Games is John Lennon's fourth post-Beatles solo album, and was recorded and released in 1973. The release of the album marked the beginning of Lennon's eighteen-month separation from Yoko Ono and the end of his period of political activism, prompted in part by the re-election of Richard Nixon. A welcome departure from his previous politically topical and somewhat abrasive Sometime In New York City album, Mind Games was warmly received by the public and Lennon's critics, with the album reaching #13 in the UK and #9 in the US, where it went gold.

In mid-1973, as Yoko Ono was completing her third solo album, Feeling the Space, Lennon decided he also wanted to record a new album. He liked the musicians assembled for Ono's album by their assistant and production coordinator, May Pang, and he asked Pang to book them for his sessions. Lennon then quickly wrote the songs that would grace Mind Games.
Just as the sessions were to get underway in June at New York's Record Plant Studios, the Lennons split up. With Ono's approval, Pang would become Lennon's companion and lover in what would become an 18-month relationship known as Lennon's 'lost weekend'.
Under the incarnation of 'The Plastic U.F.Ono Band', Lennon engaged the services of session drummer Jim Keltner, young ace guitarist David Spinozza, Gordan Edwards on bass, Arthur Jenkins on percussion, and the vocal backing of a group called Something Different.
The tone of this album ranges from somber and melodic songs directed to Ono ("Aisumasen (I'm Sorry)", "One Day at a Time", "Out The Blue", and "You Are Here"), to more light-hearted and optimistic tracks ("Intuition", "Only People") and a few that indulge Lennon's affinity for pure rock 'n' roll ("Tight A$" and "Meat City"). In a surprising move, Lennon produced the entire album on his own, without Phil Spector's aid. The title track (with its "love is the answer" refrain and call to "make love not war") was begun during the Beatles' Let It Be sessions, and was Lennon's latest in a succession of songs for the good of humanity ("Give Peace a Chance" and "Imagine" being its predecessors). "Mind Games" subsequently became a Top 20 US hit and an enduring Lennon favourite. "Bring on the Lucie (Freda Peeple)", "Only People" and the six-second silent "Nutopian International Anthem" were the only political tracks on the album.
In a moment of cheekiness, Mind Games's closer, "Meat City", contains a favourite Lennon curse, ("Fuck a pig!"), sped up and backwards-masked, while the mix used as "Mind Games"'s single B-Side gives the same treatment to the phrase "Check the album!" Lennon was also pleased to have gotten the phrase "Tight Ass" past the censors.

The cover of Mind Games, designed by Lennon himself, was seen by many (including Lennon), to represent his symbolic walking away from Ono and her apparent mountainous influence on him.
Due to its inconsistency in style and pleasant and unprovocative nature, Mind Games is not considered as vital as some of Lennon's other solo releases (namely John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine) and has often been overlooked. However, it remains a firm fan favourite for Lennon devotees.
In 2002, Yoko Ono supervised a remixing of Mind Games for its remastered reissue with three previously unreleased demo recordings. It was reissued in 2005 by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab on audiophile grade Gold CD and 180 gram 1/2 speed mastered vinyl. On this remixed version the title track is extended by a few seconds before fading out, and the last few seconds of 'Meat City' (constituting most of Lennon's spoken tag) have been cut. No explanation for these alterations has been forthcoming.
In September 2008, the New York City-based advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather created a 60-second television spot for Cisco Systems titled "Town Square" using the "Mind Games" track "Only People" to promote Cisco's TelePresence conferencing systems.

Nutopia: The Country of Peace
On April Fool's Day 1973, John and Yoko introduced the conceptual country of Nutopia at a press conference in New York City. The Lennons were ambassadors of the country and sought (creatively, though unsuccessfully) diplomatic immunity to end Lennon's ongoing immigration troubles, as he and Ono tried to remain in the United States. (Ono already had a Resident Alien "green card" through her previous husband, Tony Cox. Lennon had been denied permanent residence status.) John talked about the imaginary country, which would live up to the ideals of his song Imagine, saying this in the "official" declaration:
We announce the birth of a conceptual country, NUTOPIA. Citizenship of the country can be obtained by declaration of your awareness of NUTOPIA. NUTOPIA has no land, no boundaries, no passports, only people. NUTOPIA has no laws other than cosmic. All people of NUTOPIA are ambassadors of the country. As two ambassadors of NUTOPIA, we ask for diplomatic immunity and recognition in the United Nations of our country and its people. The flag of Nutopia has only one colour: white. Some criticised this association with surrender, but Lennon and Ono defended that association, saying that only through surrender and compromise can peace be achieved. U2 later adopted the Nutopian flag as a part of their live performance of the political songs from their third album, War, an example of this can be seen on the video version of U2's live album Under a Blood Red Sky, during the famous performance of their song "Sunday Bloody Sunday", which, interestingly, shares the same title as a song from Lennon's album Some Time in New York City. The seal of Nutopia is a picture of the marine animal of the same name, a seal.

A plaque engraved with the words "NUTOPIAN EMBASSY" was duly installed at their home at the Dakota. Yoko remarked that guests in her home prefer walking through that door instead of the front entrance, saying the kitchen door is the new front door.
In 2006, a Nutopia website was created by Lions Gate Entertainment, the producers of the documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon.

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