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Three days before he was murdered, John Lennon said he did not want to be a “dead hero”...The remark was made in an interview with journalist Jonathan Cott, who recently found ‘lost’ tapes as he cleared a cupboard and made them public on the legend’s 30th death anniversary. When Cott played them he heard the Beatles legend complaining bitterly about pop critics. Lennon said, “They only like people when they’re on their way up. I cannot be on the way up again. What they want is dead heroes like Sid Vicious and James Dean. I’m not interesting in being a dead f***ing hero. So forget ‘em, forget ‘em.” Poignantly, he also said he had ‘plenty of time’ to accomplish other goals in his life. Cott, of Rolling Stone magazine, recorded the interview on December 5 1980. On December 8 Lennon, 40, was shot dead by crazed fan Mark Chapman outside his New York apartment. Only snippets of the interview were published in the aftermath of the murder - and Cott locked the tapes away.
In the interview, called ‘uplifting’ by Cott, Lennon also talked about his continued commitment to love and peace, and spoke of his bond with wife Yoko Ono.
“I’ve selected to work with only two people, Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono. That ain’t bad picking,” he said.
Millions of Beatles fans around the world have begun marking the 30th anniversary of John Lennon's death.
The musician, who would have also celebrated his 70th birthday this year, was shot dead outside his New York home on December 8th, 30 years ago today.
His widow, Yoko Ono, led the tributes, asking people to remember her husband “with deep love and respect”.
She added: “The world was lucky to have known him. We still learn so much from him today. John, I love you."
Ono is due to perform at a concert in Japan called Dream Power John Lennon Super Live
In Lennon's home city of Liverpool, hundreds of fans are expect to attended a vigil to the late star at the recently unveiled Peace and Harmony memorial
by Yoko Ono Lennon
John and I are in our Dakota kitchen in the middle of the night. Three cats: Sasha, Micha and Charo are looking up at John, who is making tea for us two.
Sasha is all white, Micha is all black. They are both gorgeous, classy Persian cats. Charo, on the other hand, is a mutt. John used to have a special love for Charo. “You’ve got a funny face, Charo!” he would say and pat her.
“Yoko, Yoko, you’re supposed to first put the tea bags in, and then the hot water.” John took the role of the teamaker, for being English. So I gave up doing it. It was nice to be up in the middle of the night, when there’s no sound in the house, and sip the tea John would make.
One night, however, John came up with “I was talking to Aunt Mimi this afternoon and she says you are supposed to put the hot water in first. Then the tea bag. I could swear she taught me to put the tea bag in first, but…”
“So all this time, we were doing it wrong?”
We both cracked up. That was in 1980. Neither of us knew that it was to be the last year of our life together.
This year would have been the 70th birthday year for John if only he was here. But people are not questioning if he is here or not. They just love him and are keeping him alive with their love. I’ve received notes from all corners of the world to let me know that they were celebrating this year to thank John for having given us so much in his forty short years on earth.
The most important gift we received from him was not words, but deeds. He believed in Truth, and had dared to speak up. We all knew that he upset certain powerful people with it. But that was John. He couldn’t have been in any other way. If he were here now, I think he would have shouted so we can all hear it. That truth was important. Because without knowing all the truth of what we did, we could not achieve world peace.
On this day, the day he was assassinated for being a truth seeker and a communicator, what I remember is the night we both cracked up drinking tea.
They say teenagers laugh with a drop of a hat. But nowadays I see many teenagers angry and sad at each other. John and I were hardly teenagers. But my memory of us is that we were a couple who laughed.
Yoko Ono Lennon
December 8th, 2010
The handwritten lyrics to "(Just Like) Starting Over," the first single from 1980's Double Fantasy, Lennon's final album. "I've always loved that song," says Ono. "But it's really sad to hear now. He's talking about starting his life over, but he died so soon after."
More of Lennon's handwritten lyrics.
Lennon's handwritten lyrics to "Whatever Gets You Through the Night."
“New York became a part of who John and I were,” said Ms. Ono. “We couldn’t have existed the same way anywhere else. We had a very special relationship with the city, which is why I continue to make this my home, and I think this film captures what that time was like for us very movingly.”
“The period that Lennon lived with his family in New York is perhaps the most tender and affecting phase of his life as a public figure,” said Susan Lacy, series creator and executive producer of American Masters as well as a producer of the Lennon film. “Just as the generation that had grown up with the Beatles was getting a little older and approaching a transitional time in their lives as they started families, they saw this reflected in Lennon as he grew from being a rock star icon into a real flesh and blood person.”
“I have long been moved by the honesty and directness of John’s music,” said Michael Epstein, LENNONYC director, producer and writer. “And, by using never-before heard studio talkback of John from this period, I think I was able to give the viewer a window into John Lennon that had not been put to film before.”
Following the breakup of the Beatles, Lennon and Ono moved to New York City in 1971, where Lennon sought to escape the mayhem of the Beatles era and focus on his family and private life. At the same time, he created some of the most acclaimed songs and albums of his career, most of them written at his apartment at The Dakota on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, including Mind Games, Whatever Gets You Thru the Night, I’m Losing You, and Woman. He also remained highly active in the anti-war movement as well as numerous other progressive political causes.
As much as New York made an impact on Lennon and Ono by offering them an oasis of personal and creative freedom, so too did they shape the city. At a time when New York faced record high crime, economic fallout and seemed to be on the verge of collapse, Lennon and Ono became a beloved fixture in neighborhood restaurants, at Central Park, at sports events and at political demonstrations.
Lennon and Ono also bonded with millions of their fellow New Yorkers in their experience as immigrants. The film traces their struggle to remain in the U.S. when the Nixon administration sought to deport them, supposedly based on a narcotics violation, but which Lennon insisted was in response to his anti-war activities.
LENNONYC features never-before heard studio recordings from the Double Fantasy sessions and never-before-seen outtakes from Lennon in concert and home movies that have only recently been transferred to video. It also features exclusive interviews with Ms. Ono, who cooperated extensively with the production and offers an unprecedented level of access, as well as with artists who worked closely with Lennon during this period, including Elton John and photographer Bob Gruen (who took the iconic photograph of Lennon in front of the skyline wearing a “New York City” t-shirt).
30 years after John Lennon’s untimely death in 1980, Proud Galleries, Chelsea, London presents Imagine, an intimate photographic portrait of Lennon by celebrated music photographer, Tom Hanley.
One of the most recognisable faces in the world, even now, John Lennon is one of the most celebrated musical icons of the last century, his songs still endlessly popular. Hanley’s relationship with Lennon began in the early 1960s as he started to work with the Beatles. Given unrestricted access to the superstar group, Hanley was able to capture the more intimate moments behind closed doors while ‘Beatlemania’ gripped the world and for some time after, as he built relationships with the band members.
His portraits of Lennon are particularly striking and they reveal a softer side to the musical genius. The collection includes portraits of Lennon at his piano working on ‘Imagine’, widely considered to be one of the greatest songs of all time; and relaxing at home with his wife, Yoko Ono. A collection that includes never before seen images and comprises vintage prints, this exhibition is a poignant and touching memorial to John Lennon 30 years after his death. A link to the gallery site is here
24th November to 16th January 2011
John Lennon's original handwritten lyrics for I'm Only Sleeping are expected to sell for £350,000 at auction. John wrote them on the back of a letter demanding £12 for a car phone and threatening legal action. He penned the words in April 1966, just days before the Fab Four recorded the song for album Revolver. His first version shows various scribbles and seems to be about his love of lying in bed rather than anything drug-induced. The lyrics will go under the hammer at Bonhams, London, on December 15. Consultant Stephen Maycock said: "You can see the creative process at work and the ideas that are coming to him as he writes it."
Lennon's lyrics for A Day In The Life sold for £810,000 earlier this year.
John Lennon signs the copy of Double Fantasy that is coming up for auction..
One of the grisliest artefacts in musical history is up for sale, with a murderer's fingerprints on its sleeve. An American dealer is selling a copy of John Lennon's Double Fantasy, an LP Lennon signed for Mark David Chapman – his killer.
On 8 December 1980, just five hours before Lennon's death, Chapman was photographed approaching the Beatle to get him to sign a record. After Chapman shot Lennon outside his home, this LP was allegedly found by a maintenance man in a planter outside the gate. It was handed over to police, according to the dealer, who uncovered Chapman's fingerprints around the autograph. Officials later returned it to the owner, "with a letter of extreme gratitude from the district attorney".
"The album is the most extraordinary artefact in rock'n'roll history," said Bob Zafian, a spokesman for the seller. "I have never come across a piece with such provenance. Police reports, fingerprint documentation, letters from the [district attorney], it goes on and on." The original owner, a lifelong Beatles fan, sold the item for an alleged $150,000 (£94,000) in 1999. It is now up for sale via Moments in Time. According to the New York Post, the auction site is seeking $850,000 (£535,000).
As for who is selling the item, Moments in Time is keeping his identity secret. "[He] doesn't want to be named because he received death threats," Zafian said. Chapman himself sought to reclaim – and sell – the LP. In a 1986 letter, Lennon's murderer said it would be "the least [he] could do" to auction the album and donate the proceeds to a children's charity. "Is there any way to assess the value of an item such as this?"
Presently serving a sentence of 20 years to life, Chapman was denied parole in September for the sixth time.
If John Lennon had only been one of the four members of the Beatles, his artistic immortality would already have been assured. The so-called “smart Beatle,” he brought a penetrating intelligence and a stinging wit both to the band’s music and its self-presentation. But in such songs as “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown),” “Rain” and “In My Life,” he also marshaled gorgeous melodies to evoke a sophisticated, dreamlike world-weariness well beyond his years. Such work suggested not merely a profound musical and literary sensibility - a genius, in short -- but a vision of life that was simultaneously reflective, utopian and poignantly realistic.
While in the Beatles, Lennon displayed an outspokenness that immersed the band in controversy and helped redefine the rules of acceptable behavior for rock stars. He famously remarked in 1965 that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus” - a statement that was more an observation than a boast, but that resulted in the band’s records being burned and removed from radio station playlists in the U.S. He criticized America’s involvement in Vietnam, and, as the Sixties progressed, he became an increasingly important symbol of the burgeoning counterculture.
But it was only after the breakup of the Beatles in 1970 that the figure the world now recognizes as “John Lennon” truly came into being. Whether he was engaging in social activism; giving long, passionate interviews that, once again, broadened the nature of public discourse for artists; defining a new life as a self-described “househusband;” or writing and recording songs, Lennon came to view his life as a work of art in which every act shimmered with potential meaning for the world at large. It was a Messianic attitude, to be sure, but one that was tempered by an innate inclusiveness and generosity. If he saw himself as larger than life, he also yearned for a world in which his ego managed at once to absorb everyone else and dissolve all differences among people, leaving a Zen-like tranquility and calm. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one,” he sang in “Imagine,” which has become his best-known song and an international anthem of peace. “I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will live as one.”
Such imagery, coupled with the tragedy of his murder in 1980, has often led to Lennon’s being sentimentalized as a gentle prince of peace gazing off into the distance at an Eden only he could see. In fact, he was a far more complex and difficult person, which, in part, accounts for the world’s endless fascination with him. Plastic Ono Band (1970), the first solo album he made after leaving the Beatles, alternates songs that are so emotionally raw that to this day they are difficult to listen to with songs of extraordinary beauty and simplicity. Gripped by his immersion in primal-scream therapy, which encouraged its practitioners to re-experience their most profound psychic injuries, Lennon sought in such songs as “Mother” and “God” to confront and strip away the traumas that had afflicted his life since childhood.
And those traumas were considerable. Lennon’s mother, Julia, drifted in and out of his life during his childhood in Liverpool - he was raised by Julia’s sister Mimi and Mimi’s husband, George - and then died in a car accident when Lennon was seventeen. His father was similarly absent, essentially walking out on the family when John was an infant. He disappeared for good when Lennon was five, only to return after his son had become famous as a member of the Beatles. Consequently, Lennon struggled with fears of abandonment his entire life. When he repeatedly cries, “Mama, don’t go/Daddy come home,” in “Mother,” it’s less a performance than a scarifying brand of therapeutic performance art. And in that regard, as well as many others, it revealed the influence of Yoko Ono, whom Lennon had married in 1969, leaving his first wife, Cynthia, and their son Julian in order to do so.
The minimalist sound of Plastic Ono Band was significant too. Lennon had come to associate the elaborate musical arrangements of much of the Beatles’ later work with Paul McCartney and George Martin, and he consciously set out to purge those elements from his own work. Co-producing with Ono and the legendary Phil Spector, he built a sonic environment that could not have been more basic - guitar, bass, drums, the occasional piano -- whatever was essential and absolutely nothing more. Lyrically, he turned away from the psychedelic flights and Joycean wordplay of such songs as “I Am the Walrus” and “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” - as well as his books, In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works -- and toward a style in which unadorned, elemental speech gathered poetic force through its very directness.
On his next album, Imagine (1971), Lennon felt confident enough to reintroduce some melodic elements reminiscent of the Beatles into his songs. Working again with Ono and Spector, he retains the eloquent plainspokenness of Plastic Ono Band, but allows textural elements such as strings, to create more of a sense of beauty. The album’s title track alone ensured its historical importance; it is a call to idealism that has provided solace and inspiration at every moment of social and humanitarian crisis since it was written.
From there Lennon turned to a style that was a sort of journalistic agit-prop. Sometime In New York City (1972) is as outward-looking and blunt as Imagine was, for the most part, soft-focused and otherworldly. As its title suggests, the album reflects Lennon’s immersion in the drama and noise of the city to which he had moved with Yoko Ono. And as its cover art suggests, the album is something like a newspaper - a report from the radical frontlines on the political upheavals of the day. His activism would create enormous problems for Lennon, however. The Nixon administration, paranoid about the possibility that a former Beatle might become a potent leader and recruiting tool of the anti-war movement, attempted to have Lennon deported. Years of legal battles ensued before Lennon finally was awarded his green card in 1976.
Lennon’s political struggles unfortunately found their match in his personal life. He and Ono split up in the fall of 1973, shortly before the release of his album, Mind Games. He moved to Los Angeles and later described the eighteen months he spent separated from Ono as his “lost weekend,” a period of wild indulgence and artistic drift. Like Mind Games, the albums he made during this period, Walls and Bridges (1974) and Rock N Roll (1975), are the expressions of a major artist seeking, with mixed results, to recover his voice. None of them lack charm, and their high points include the lovely title track of Mind Games; Walls and Bridges’ “Whatever Gets You Through the Night,” a rollicking duet with Elton John that gave Lennon his first number-one single as a solo artist; and the sweet nostalgia of Rock N Roll, a covers album that was Lennon’s tribute to the musical pioneers of his youth. But none of those albums rank among his greatest work.
In 1975, Lennon reunited with Ono, and their son Sean was born later that year. For the next five years, Lennon withdrew from public life, and his family became his focus. Then, in 1980, he and Ono returned to the studio to work on Double Fantasy, a hymn to their life together with Sean. The couple was plotting a full-fledged comeback - doing major interviews to support the album’s release, recording new songs for a follow-up, planning a tour. Then, shockingly, Lennon was shot to death outside the apartment building where he and Ono lived on the night of December 8, 1980.
Lennon’s death broke hearts around the world. In the U.S., it recalled nothing so much as the assassination of John Kennedy in 1963, an event for which, ironically, the arrival of the Beatles a few months later had provided a welcome tonic. In the twenty-five years since, Lennon’s influence and symbolic importance have only grown. His music, of course, will live forever. But he has survived primarily as a restless voice of change and independent thought. He is an enemy of the status quo, a bundle of contradictions who insisted on a world in which all the various elements of his personality could find free, untrammeled expression. Innumerable times since his death Lennon has been sorely missed. And just as many times and more he has been present - evoked by all of us who find ourselves and each other in the music he made and the vision that he articulated and tried to make real.
It's John's 70th Birthday tomorrow... incidentally, that set of John's fingerprints has been seized from a shop by FBI agents.
See my post here
The signed document dates back to 1976 when the star applied for US citizenship.
FBI chiefs say the item is government property and are now investigating why it was in private hands. The card - which bears the name John Winston Ono Lennon - was set to be auctioned for at least £60,000. Peter Siegel, of the memorabilia shop in New York, said a concert promoter bought the fingerprints at a Beatles convention 20 years ago.
8 of John's solo albums digitally remastered and to be re-released on 9th October to celebrate his 70th birthday!
Eight of John Lennon’s solo albums and other recordings have been digitally remastered and will be re-released on 9th October to celebrate his 70th birthday Capitol Records/EMI announced.
The reissue project, overseen by Yoko, is called “Gimme Some Truth” and was launched on Oct. 4th in most of the world and Oct. 5th in North America with the release of eight remastered studio albums and several new titles.
The highlight will be the re-release of "Double Fantasy" in a newly remixed 2-CD set with a new "stripped-down" version remixed and produced by Yoko Ono and Jack Douglas, who co-produced the original mix with John Lennon. The release pairs the new version with Lennon’s original remastered mix.
“'Double Fantasy Stripped Down' really allows us to focus our attention on John’s amazing vocals. Technology has advanced so much that, conversely, I wanted to use new techniques to really frame these amazing songs and John's voice as simply as possible. By stripping down some of the instrumentation the power of the songs shines through with an enhanced clarity. 'Double Fantasy Stripped Down' will be complemented by the original album in the 2CD format. It was whilst working on the new version of this album that I was hit hardest emotionally, as this was the last album John released before his passing," Ono said.
Also available are: a hits compilation in two editions titled "Power To The People: The Hits"; a 4-CD set of themed discs titled "Gimme Some Truth"; and an 11-CD collectors box with the remastered albums, rarities, and non-album singles, titled "The John Lennon Signature Box." All of the remastered albums and collections will be available on CD and for download purchase from all the major digital download services.
Also being reissued are the Lennon albums "John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band" (1970); "Imagine" (1971);
"Some Time in New York City" (1972); "Mind Games" (1973); "Walls and Bridges" (1974); "Rock ‘n’ Roll" (1975); "Double Fantasy Stripped Down" (2010) / "Double Fantasy" (1980) and "Milk and Honey" (1984).
The albums have been digitally remastered from Lennon’s original mixes by Yoko Ono and a team of engineers led by Allan Rouse at EMI Music’s Abbey Road Studios in London and by George Marino at Avatar Studios in New York. All of the remastered titles will be packaged in digisleeves with replicated original album art and booklets with photos and new liner notes by noted British music journalist Paul Du Noyer, according to EMI/Capitol Records.
"Power To The People: The Hits" gathers 15 of Lennon’s songs, and will be available as a 15-track single-disc and digital package, and as an Experience Edition with additional content. Both versions will be packaged in digisleeves with booklets including a new liner note essay by Du Noyer.
"Gimme Some Truth," which will be packaged in a slipcase with rare photos and a new liner notes essay by American music journalist and author Anthony DeCurtis, presents 72 of Lennon’s solo recordings on four themed CDs: "Roots" – John’s rock ‘n’ roll roots and influences, "Working Class Hero" – John’s socio-political songs, "Woman" – John’s love songs, and "Borrowed Time" – John’s songs about life.
The "John Lennon Signature Box" is a deluxe 11-CD and digital collection of the eight remastered albums, a disc of rare and previously unreleased recordings, and an EP of Lennon’s non-album singles. The CDs will be housed in digisleeves within a deluxe box including a collectible limited-edition John Lennon art print and a hardbound book featuring rare photos, artwork, collages, poetry, and new liner notes by DeCurtis.
“In this very special year, which would have seen my husband and life partner John reach the age of 70, I hope that this remastering / reissue programme will help bring his incredible music to a whole new audience. By remastering 121 tracks spanning his solo career, I hope also that those who are already familiar with John’s work will find renewed inspiration from his incredible gifts as a songwriter, musician and vocalist and from his power as a commentator on the human condition. His lyrics are as relevant today as they were when they were first written and I can think of no more apposite title for this campaign than those simple yet direct words 'Gimme Some Truth,'” Yoko Ono said in a statement.
A John Lennon auction is of interest to the FBI. The Rock and Roll Pop Culture Auction started today and runs through until the 11th of October. Original collector's items are on the auction block, but one John Lennon item up for sale has been pulled and the FBI is investigating. John's application for U.S. residency in custody of FBI. John Lennon's application for U.S. residency is believed to be government property.
"The item has been under investigation by the FBI because it is considered government property," the auction house told reporters. The residency document has been taken off for bid. The starting bid was at $100,000. Just a few dollars.
The FBI hasn't made any comment on the item that was up for auction, but a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services official told reporters, "There is currently an investigation regarding the John Lennon documents in the auction and it's being headed by the FBI."
John Lennon signing Double Fantasy for Mark David Chapman on 8th December 1980
A parole board has decided not to release Chapman after interviewing him on Tuesday by teleconference at Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York.
It was Chapman's sixth appearance before the board since becoming eligible for parole in 2000. He will be eligible again in 2012. After Tuesday's decision, the board wrote to Chapman that it remains concerned about "the disregard you displayed for the norms of our society and the sanctity of human life when, after careful planning, you traveled to New York for the sole purpose of killing John Lennon."
The panel said "release remains inappropriate at this time and incompatible with the welfare of the community." Among those who have opposed his release is John's now 77-year-old widow, Yoko Ono, who said last month that she believed Chapman is a potential threat to her family and perhaps himself.
The former maintenance man from Hawaii was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison after firing five shots outside The Dakota building on Dec. 8, 1980, killing John. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. At his last parole hearing, in 2008, Chapman told the panel he was ashamed and sorry for what he had done and had since developed a deeper understanding of the value of a human life. He said he had been seeking notoriety and fame to counter feelings of failure. After that interview, parole officials noted that Chapman had not been disciplined in prison since 1994 and said he had adjusted to his incarceration. But they denied release "due to concern for the public safety and welfare," according to the written decision. Chapman was informed of the panel's most recent finding a few hours after the hearing. The state Division of Parole is expected to release a transcript of the interview within the next several days. John would have turned 70 this October.
Yoko's lawyer Peter Shukat told a newspaper that Yoko was "very pleased" to hear of the decision to keep Chapman incarcerated.
A toilet belonging John Lennon sold at auction in Liverpool on Saturday for £9,500 – nearly 10 times its guide price, organisers said.
John used the porcelain lavatory, which is painted with blue flowers and a blue border at the rim and at the base, when he lived at Tittenhurst Park in Berkshire, southeast England, from 1969 to 1972.
The loo was removed when the house was being refurbished, and John suggested the builder, John Hancock, take it home and “put some flowers in it”.
Instead, the builder carefully stored it in a garden shed, where it remained for 40 years until he died, and his son-in-law put it up for sale.
At the auction at the 33rd annual Beatles Convention in Liverpool, the toilet was expected to fetch about £1,000.
“It is unbelievable,” said auction organiser Stephen Bailey after it sold for almost 10 times that. “We had bids coming in from all over the place but it went to a private overseas buyer.”
The music, of course, was magical, but he also left another lasting legacy – a legacy of peace and anti-war campaigning. To many, John Lennon was a man of many contradictions – while he, himself, certainly never claimed to be a saint. He was, though, a man with an unshakeable faith in humanity and a man who didn’t just sing about, but stood up and campaigned for peace. It is, therefore, only right and fitting that a peace monument dedicated to his memory is to be built – and it is only right and fitting that Liverpool will be its home.
The tape also reveals John Lennon and Paul McCartney hinting at the band’s break up.
John Lennon is heard to say: “We’re obviously not going to go around holding hands forever.”
While Paul McCartney adds: “It would be a bit, you know, embarrassing at 35.”
At the time of the recording the Beatles were in the middle of their final US tour and days away from arriving in the south, where radio stations had banned their music and Beatles records were publicly burned. While their words have been well reported, the recording is thought to be the only one in existence and was made by a young journalist working for a Canadian newspaper. At the time the journalist tried to sell the tapes but no-one thought they were important. So they ended up left in a drawer for 44 years, before recently being heard again.
The reel-to-reel tapes will now be sold at auction in LA among a host of rare collectibles.
Bonhams and Butterfields, who are holding the auction expect the tapes to fetch up to $25,000 (£16,800).
Christopher Eccleston has revealed all about filming nude scenes for new TV drama Lennon Naked. Part of BBC Four's Fatherhood Season. The Salford actor strips off as former Beatle John Lennon, along with Torchwood actress Naoko Mori as Yoko Ono, to recreate the couple’s 1968 naked photo session.
The couple used a time-delay camera to capture the full frontal images of themselves for the cover of their album Two Virgins, which caused uproar at the time. Asked if he was self-conscious about getting his kit off, Eccleston, 46, laughed: “What do you think? When you’re going to shoot that scene you think, ‘Well, he did it,’ so you do it. And then you all have to look at it. I just held my stomach in.” Pendleton-born Eccleston was transformed into Lennon for the BBC4 film with the help of a wig and a voice coach to capture his Liverpool accent. It features a scene where John Lennon steps fully clothed into the swimming pool at his luxury mansion after meeting French film star Brigitte Bardot. He said: “There is a fantastic out-take where I jump into the pool, enter the water and my wig stays on the surface. I think John Lennon, had he directed this film, would have kept that in.” “He’s not been a hero of mine. But I love him because he is so deeply flawed as a human being and he left so much for us,” added Eccleston, who played a Manchester Jesus in TV drama The Second Coming. The film features actors playing the roles of Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr and includes real footage of the Fab Four as well as their music. Due to be screened in June, it tells the story of Lennon from Beatlemania to his flight to a new life with Yoko in New York in 1971.
Naoko Mori as Yoko Ono and Christopher Eccleston as John Lennon
John Lennon had always had a secret desire to sail the Atlantic. After his return from Cape Town, where at Yoko’s behest, he underwent a course in psychic alignment for making a journey, he chose one that would eventually put him under considerable risk. The African oracle had told him that he could sail the Atlantic safely, but the only in a southeast direction. This meant that his destination could only be Bermuda.
Yoko was always extremely concerned for John’s safety, always thinking that something dreadful would happen if he was set free. Despite the fovorable omens, she worried as John prepared himself to sail the Atlantic ocean in a 40ft boat with an unknown crew, past stormy Cape Hatteras, across the dangerous Gulf Steam, and into the Bermuda Triangle.
He was about to fulfill his most cherished childhood fantasy
On the morning of the 4 June 1980, a burly, bearded man known as Captain Hank, prepared the “Megan Jaye”, a 43-foot Hinckley centreboard sloop out of Newport, Rhode Island. for the offshore passage to Bermuda. About that same time, John left for Newport, Rhode Island aboad a Cessna with Tyler Coneys and his cousins, Ellen and Kevin, who were to be additional members of the crew. It hadn’t been since he traveled to Hamburg in a mini-van with Alan William, that he had ventured such an exciting leap into the unknown. Soon he would be alone among strangers in a wild sea, taking a risk that he had spent his whole life avoiding. He was about to fulfill his most cherished childhood fantasy—his great dream of going off to sea just as his father and grandfather had done before him.
What happened next was, poetically speaking, inevitable. The little sailing vessel ran into stormy seas and eventually a tempest. One after another the crew got seasick. Eventually captain Hank himself became incapacitated by mal-de-mer and ordered John to take the wheel and hold the little ship steady. John stood on the deck in his yellow foulies, lashed to the rails of the wheelhouse like Ahab strapped to the whale. He was petrified by the force driving the ship into the waves. Spray stunned his face and streamed over his glasses.
You forget your fears and you get high on your performance.
As his watch wore on, John felt his courage rising. “It was just like going on stage” he recollected, “At first you panic and then you’re ready to throw up your guts, but once you get out there, you start doing your stuff. You forget your fears and you get high on your performance.“
As the sea rose before him, he shouted back in defiance, singing shanties, sailor’s songs and old ballads he had heard in Liverpool.
The experience was life changing for John Lennon and after arriving safely in Bermuda on the 11 June 1980, he inscribed an entry in the ship’s logbook .
“Dear Megan”, he wrote, “There is no place like nowhere”, and added a doodle of himself and the “Megan Jaye” at sunset..
“It’s fear of the unknown. The unknown is what it is. And to be frightened of it is what sends everybody scurrying around chasing dreams, illusions, wars, peace, love, hate, all that—-it’s all illusion.Unknown is what it is. Accept that it’s unknown and it’s plain sailing. Everything is unknown—-then you’re ahead of the game. That’s what it is. Right?”
John Lennon 1980
Jubilee (nee Megan Jaye) as she now lies.