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).



Royal Doulton Figurine depicting a Japanese ‘Geisha’ girl playing a mandolin, HN1234
The figure stands approximately 7 inches high
The figure was potted in 1927 and is approximatley 80 years old
The designer was Charles Noke of Royal Doulton
It is of ‘first’ quality and in excellent condition,
This figure was previously owned by the late John Lennon of the Beatles, he purchased it in 1967 as a gift for Yoko Ono, they owned it until 1970 when it was given as a gift to Ken & Margaret Brunt, who were the Beatles haulage contractors in the 1960s
There are various documents as to the ‘provenance’ of the piece, such as ;
1. BBC Television’s antiques roadshow slot
2. Ken & Margaret Brunts Declaration
3. Sotherby’s auction catalogue entry – 1996


29 years ago today..

John Lennon was killed 29 years ago today in New York City when Mark David Chapman approached him and his wife Yoko Ono in front of their building, the Dakota, and shot Lennon.

John was just returning to his home around 11 p.m from the Record Plant Studio where he was recording new music. He was pronounced dead at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center after being shot five times by his assailant.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame writes that Lennon "did more than anyone else to shake [rock and roll] up, move it forward and instill it with a conscience."

Some of his most widely know songs of his post-Beatles career include, "Imagine," "Mind Games," "Instant Karma," and "Give Peace a Chance." The songs typify his desire to raise awareness for social change.

Chapman, a deranged fan, has been imprisoned since 1981 after pleading guilty to second degree murder. He is being held in the Attica Correctional Facility, outside of Buffalo, N.Y.
He has been denied parole five times.


Happy Birthday John & Sean Lennon !

On this day, 38 years ago John Lennon celebrated his 31st birthday at Tittenhurst Park.

Happy Birthday Sean too..


John Lennon's Expenses 1968-1970

John Lennon's Expenses 1968-1970:

• John paid the £1,000 fine for the demonstrators of the South African Rugby team. The individuals were protesting while the team toured England.
• Roger Taverner was known in England as "the swinging builder" and his construction company had been doing work for many of England's brightest young pop stars. The Beatles were among his many clients and he had done work for both Nems and Apple as well as in the homes of all four Beatles. (Granados, S. Those Were the Days. p. 136).
• John and Yoko arrived in Toronto with £ 1,200 in excess baggage charges.
• John purchased a bouzouki, despite the music store owner trying to talk him into buying a guitar, while the Beatles were visiting Greece circa '68 (Gunby, G. Hello Goodbye, p. 108).
• John phoned Alistair (Gunby, G. Hello Goodbye, p. 80).
• John and Yoko stayed at a $180 a day suite in the Bahamas. The hotel charged them $2.50 for orange juice.
• John and Cynthia's home at St. George's Hill, Weybridge, Surrey, was put up for sale at £40,000 in August of 1968.
John purchased Tittenhurst for £150,000.
• An ABKCO employee said that when John and Yoko came to town they would order $10 worth of malts at a restaurant (Dilello).
• John purchased a wedding ring for Yoko at £3 10s. The ring was too big, so John drew a temporary one on her finger (Coleman).
• Two members of a California-based cult offered to fly John and Yoko to a peace festival in a psychic-powered air car that would never use fuel. The cost: $500 (Hopkins, p. 118).
• For their wedding John and Yoko chartered a jet, stayed at a hotel, and bought clothes totaling £8,000 (Dilello).
• John soon afterwards bought, for a whim and twenty thousand pounds, two small uninhabited islands know together as Dorinish off the northwest coast of Ireland. At considerable expense he had the colorful psychedelic horse-drawn wooden Sgt. Pepper wagon shipped to Dorinish. It was the only standing structure on either island. John visited the islands once, traveling by helicopter to conduct a job interview with a potential manager of Apple. It was John's idea to hold the interview there. He later gave Dorinish to a hippie commune (Flippo, p. 242).
• John purchased an island (Dorinish Island) for £ 1,550 on March 17,1967 and planned to build a holiday home there. The home was never built and a group of hippies, led by Sid Rawle, were given permission to live on the island. The harsh winters, however, prevented the new residents from staying on the island. (Harry, B. JL Encyclopedia. p. 166).
• John was fined £150 with 20 guinea costs for possession of 20 grains of cannabis resin. He pleaded guilty at Marylebone Magistrates Court.
• New Jersey officials confiscated 30,000 copies of Two Virgins LP having rendered them pornographic.
• On the way to the recording of Instant Karma on January 27, 1970 John saw a piano in a shop. He stopped the car and ordered the piano to be delivered to the studio immediately (JL Encyclopedia. Harry, p. 400)
• As John and Yoko prepared to leave Paris for Gibraltar to be married, Alistair Taylor arranged an executive jet supplied with food, magazines, etc. He also carried £500 in cash in a sock (hanging in his trousers) for John and Yoko to spend (Taylor, A. p. 149).
• After Alistair Taylor bought the island, Dorinish, for John, a tax demand from the Irish government arrived in Alistair's name. He had to send the note to Michael Browne (the son of the auctioneer) who was acting as solicitor for Alistair. All the deeds were in Alistair's name. He, Alistair, then wrote a note to John's solicitors stating that John had all rights to the island (Taylor, A. p. 151).


• "..when you read that the Beatles earned £17,500,000 in eight and a half years remember that that figure doesn't include the songwriting income of John and Paul" (Tremlett, p. 10).
• John put his home up for sale in July 68 for £96,000.
• Interview November '69 Heathrow Airport:Q: What about Northern Songs?John: I can't make any comments about Paul or myself selling our shares. Dick James said the deal he made had to be concluded in a hurry, and if that's what he said I believe him. It won't make any difference to my songwriting. That's my main concern.Q: Is it back to work after your working honeymoon?John: I need the money, I'm not down to selling the jewelry or the Rolls, but I haven't got nearly as much as you think I have. In fact we never did. I'm back, Paul's back, George isn't in prison, and as soon as we can drag Ringo away from the film set we'll get down to the next album.Q: Will you go back on the road?John: Back on the road? It's a possibility, but it would have to be where the money is, and that's America.
• John 1969. On War and Peace:"People sit around pointing fingers at Nixon and the leaders of the countries, saying, 'He gave us peace,' or 'He gave us war,' when it's our responsibility what happens around the world. It's our responsibility for Vietnam, and all the other wars that we don't quite hear about. It's all our responsibility, and when we all want peace we'll get it. People have said we're naive for trying to sell peace like a car, or bar of soap. But I ask ya, is the Ford company naive... or the soap powder company? They're selling the same old soap that's been around for two thousand years, but now it's 'New Blue Soap.' Well, we're selling 'New Blue Peace!' ...and we hope some of you buy it!" (Beatles Ultimate Experience: Database).
• John 1969. On the Realities of the Beatles' Fame:"The Beatles made it, stopped touring, had all the money and fame they wanted, and found out they had nothing. And then we started on our various LSD trips, the Maharishi, and all the other mad things we did. It's the old bit about money, power and fame not being the answer. We didn't lack hope just because we were famous though. I mean... Marilyn Monroe and all those other people had all the things The Beatles had but were still very unhappy. John and Yoko have the same problems of the position we're in or the money we have. We have exactly the same paranoias as everybody else, the same petty thoughts... everything goes just the same for us. We have no super answers that come as a result of The Beatles or their power." (Beatles Ultimate Experience).

John 1969. On the Beatles' Finances:

• "We earned millions and millions of pounds, but The Beatles got very little of it. We've all got our houses, and we've managed to pay for them finally after all these years. That really only happened since (Allen) Klein came in. Everybody connected with us is millionaires except for the Beatles. They used to tell Paul and I we were millionaires and we never have been. I might possibly be coming up to it shortly, if we get lucky. But it's true, we didn't get the money. George and Ringo are practically penniless. Yoko right now has more money than they had when Klein came in. You know... Brian was a beautiful guy, Brian Epstein, and he was an intuitive theatrical guy... and he knew we had something and he presented us well. But he got lousy business advice. He was taken advantage of. We all were. Brian included." (Beatles Ultimate Experience).

John Explains the Origins of Apple Corps:

• John: See, although Apple turned into the Beatles' baby, Apple was conceived by the Epsteins and NEMS before we took over, before we said: "It's going to be like this". They had it lined up so we would do the same as Northern Songs, sell ourselves to ourselves. And what happened with Northern Songs is we ended up selling Lenmac, or one of them, forever. That's what f***ing Epstein did to us. We lost all our copyrights and Lew Grade's got'em. And the same thing was behind the Apple thing. They were going to set it up, sell eighty-percent to the public, and we were going to be the twenty-percent minority shareholders, with five-percent each, and God knows who else running it. And that was the idea for Apple. But I dunno, it got screwed up somehow (McCabe/Schonfeld p. 102. For the Record).
• Interviewer:Wasn't Apple Paul's idea, basically?...a sort of foundation.John: Oh, no. No. That was us all talking, just about what we wanted to do. See, initially Clive Epstein came up to us and said, "You've got so much money and we're thinking of investing into retail shops for you".You can just imagine the Beatles with a string of f***in' retail shoe shops-that was the way they thought. They were still on Queens Drive in Liverpool, mentally. Clive Epstein still is,all he wants to do is get back to the hills. So we said, "We don't want to be. Imagine us owning f***ing retail shops". So we said, "We don't want to be in that. At least if we're going to open a shop, let's open something that we'd want, that we'd like to buy". We were thinking, "Let's be the Woolworth of something". Or how great it was to go into Marks and Spencer and get a decent sweater when you were about eighteen. Cheap, but good quality. We wanted Apple to be that. So we were just tripping off, having a joint and saying, "Well, we could have films, and we could help young artists, so they wouldn't have to have the trouble we had with all that tramping round, being undiscovered. So we just built it up. That's what we were going to do. We could have a foundation, and all that, which could have been feasible...We ended up with a clothes shop. I don't know how (McCabe/Schonfeld p. 103-04. For the Record).

General Statements:

• John: "Paul had a nice idea about opening up a white house where we would sell white china and things like that. Everything white you know which was pretty groovy, and it didn't end up like that. It ended up with Apple and all this junk and those idiots The Fool and all their stupid clothes and all that" (Wenner).
• John on Apple: "It's more of a trick to see if we can get artistic freedom within a business environment".
• John: It's [Apple] a house we own together, and there's no way of settling it unless we all decide to live in it. It has to be sold.
• After Brian died Apple started to expand into music publishing, signing new artists, sponsoring inventors, and generally putting into practice the principal of making business fun. Business at NEMS wasn't fun at all, so a phone call from John a few days ago was very welcome. "Hello, Alistair. You're looking a bit pissed off at NEMS recently". "I am, really", all the infighting is getting to me". "Well, would you like to come and be General Manager of Apple?" I didn't need a second invitation. I've given my notice to NEMS and I'll transfer to Apple as soon as I can (Taylor, A. p. 108).
• Ritchie York (one time Lennon personal assistant): Well, they'd arrive from Tittenhurst Park and arrive at the office around eleven o'clock in the morning. Then they'd usually just stay for the afternoon and see people they felt were important to the youth movement...It was a real zoo (Giuliano interview fr. Glass Onion p. 276).
• One of the Scruffs was eventually hired by Apple as a receptionist and John paid her a clothing allowance because he liked to see her dressed in all in black or all in white. Another became a tea girls at Apple (Flippo, p. 275).
• Pete Bennett: Paul McCartney hated the strings on Let It Be, and he didn't want Phil Spector producing the album. Paul complained to us, but we put it out anyhow. It wasn't even Klein's doing...We put it out because John Lennon wanted it out. You have to understand that Lennon was Director of Apple Records. Lennon had the last say, and for whatever reason, they made Lennon the president when they set up Apple (Granados, S. Those Were the Days. p. 130).
• Hunter Davies claimed that under Yoko's influence, John started to take charge at Apple. This, in turn, affected Paul's pride and the two were no longer close friends after this (Giuliano, Lost Interviews p. 138).
• Dubbed "Magic" Alex by John, Mardas convinced him that all kinds of fantastical ideas and patents were possible if he were given the financial backing (O'Del, Denis. At the Apple's Core, p. 74).
• Since Apple's inception, Paul McCartney and John Lennon had been very interested in launching a budget-line label to issue what would essentially be known three decades later as "audio books". In October 1968, Apple hired Barry Miles, who co-owned the Indica bookshop with John Dunbar and Peter Asher, to manage the proposed spoken-word label. The initial idea of Zapple was that it would release avant-garde and spoken word records at a reduced price that would be comparable to that of a paperback novel. While the idea looked good on paper, the reality was that when the few records actually put out by Zapple finally made it into the shops, they were priced like any other full-priced music album (Granados, S. Those Were the Days. p. 76).
• John commenting on Neil Aspinall: I was the one that protected him many times from Paul. Paul had no love for Neil and vice-versa. And all of a sudden he's a Paul man. Because they clung to Paul-Derek included-because they all thought Paul was the one who was going to hold it all together. So they had a choice of which side to come down on, and they chose Paul, and the past, and I cut'em off. You see they get under the delusion that they are the Beatles. They begin to think that they are the Beatles, that they are the source of power (McCabe/Schonfeld p. 72. For the Record).
• John soon afterwards bought, for a whim and twenty thousand pounds, two small uninhabited islands know together as Dornish off the northwest coast of Ireland. At considerable expense he had the colorful psychedelic horse-drawn wooden Sgt. Pepper wagon shipped to Dornish. It was the only standing structure on either island. John visited the islands once, traveling by helicopter to conduct a job interview with a potential manager of Apple. It was John's idea to hold the interview there. He later gave Dornish to a hippie commune (Flippo, p. 242).
• John: It's a business concerning records, films, and electronics and, as a sideline, manufacturing or whatever. We want to set up a system whereby people who just want to make a film about anything don't have to go on their knees in somebody's office, probably yours.
• JG: "How about this new organization, 'Apple'?"John: "Oh yeah. Well you see, our accountant came up and said, 'We got this amount of money; do you want to give it to the government or do something with it?' So we thought..."JG: "Which government?"John: "Oh... Any old government."John: "So we decided to play businessmen for a bit, because... uhh... we've got to run our own affairs now. So, we've got this thing called 'Apple' which is going to be records, films, and electronics-- which all tie-up. And to make a sort of an umbrella so people who want to make films about... grass... don't have to go on their knees in an office, you know, begging for a break. We'll try and do it like that... That's the idea. We'll find out what happens, but that's what we're trying to do."Paul: "If you want to do something, normally you've got to go to big business and you've gotta go to the big people, you know."John: "You don't even get there. Because you can't get through the door 'cuz of the color of your shoes."Paul: (laughs) "But you know, people are normally... Big companies are so 'big' that if you're 'little and good' it takes you like 60 years to make it. And so people miss out on these little good people. So we're trying to find a few."JG: "Paul, is that because of your background? You came from a poor background."Paul: "There's a 'little bit' of that."John: "It's not sort of..."JG: "If you didn't feel it as a youngster, you wouldn't feel it now."Paul: "Yeah that's right, you know. It's just 'cuz, we know what we had to fight to, sort of..."JG: "Was it tough for you to get started?"John: "Well, no tougher than anybody else, you see, but George said, 'I'm sick of being told to keep out of the park.' That's what it's about, you know. We're trying to make a park for people to come in and do what they want."Paul: (comical voice) "Symbolically speaking."JG: "Is he the spokesman, would you say, John?"John: "Well, if his spokes are working, he is. And if mine are..."John: "A policeman."(The Tonight Show Interview. 1968)
• John: The aim isn't to get a stack of gold teeth in the bank. It's more of a trick to see if we can get artistic freedom within a business structure" (JL Encyclopedia. Harry, p. 750).


John Lennon: #9 Dream

"#9 Dream" is a song written and performed by John Lennon and featured as the seventh track on his 1974 album Walls and Bridges. In January 1975, it was released as the second single from that album backed by another album track, "What You Got". It continues Lennon's fascination with the number nine (he was born on 9 October, and, coincidentally, the track also peaked at number nine in the U.S. charts when it was released). The backing vocal is provided by May Pang, Lennon's partner at the time.
According to Pang's website, two working titles for the song were "So Long Ago" and "Walls & Bridges". Pang also states that the phrase repeated in the chorus, "Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé", came to Lennon in a dream and has no specific meaning. Lennon then wrote and arranged the song around his dream, hence the title and the atmospheric, dreamlike feel of the song including the use of cellos in the hook.
Lennon liked the string arrangement he wrote for Harry Nilsson's rendition of Many Rivers to Cross (from Nilsson's Pussy Cats which Lennon produced) so much that he decided to incorporate it into the song.

The musicians who performed on the original recording were as follows:

John Lennon - vocals, acoustic guitar
The 44th Street Fairies: May Pang, Lori Burton, Joey Dambra - backing vocals
Ken Ascher - clavinet
Jesse Ed Davis - guitar
Nicky Hopkins - electric piano
Arthur Jenkins - percussion
Jim Keltner - drums
Bobby Keys - saxophone
Eddie Mottau - acoustic guitar
Klaus Voormann - bass

It's the 9th September 2009, and for those of you that aren't already aware, the number nine appeared repeatedly in Lennon's life, leading some (himself included) to believe the number was of metaphysical significance, as evidenced by the facts that:
Lennon was born on 9 October 1940.
His son Sean was also born 9 October (1975).
Brian Epstein first saw Lennon and the Beatles at the Cavern on 9 November 1961, and secured their recording contract with EMI on 9 May 1962.
On the cover of Walls and Bridges, there is a painting of Lennon's from when he was eleven years old of a football player with a big "9" on his shirt.
In addition to "#9 Dream", Lennon constructed the sound collage "Revolution 9", and he also wrote the song "One After 909".
John met Yoko on 9 November 1966; 9 years after he met Paul McCartney, and 9 years before the birth of Sean.
Lennon lived at The Dakota, built in 1881 (1+8=9 & 8+1=9, 9+9=18, 1+8=9) in apartment 72 (which adds up to 9). The building is located on 72nd Street in New York City (which, again, adds up to 9).
He was murdered late in the evening of 8 December 1980 in New York, but it was already the early hours of the morning of 9 December in his birthplace of Liverpool, England. 1980 adds up to 9.


Here's Johnny..

“I was different from the others. I was different all my life. Therefore, I must be crazy or a genius. There was something wrong with me, I thought, because I seemed to see things other people didn’t see. I was always so psychic or intuitive or poetic or whatever you want to call it, that I was always seeing things in a hallucinatory way. People like me are aware of their so-called genius at ten, eight, nine. When I was about twelve I used to think I must be a genius, but nobody’s noticed. If there is such a thing as genius I am one, and if there isn’t I don’t care.”
John Lennon

John Lennon and Yoko Ono: New York City

Relaxing after the last in a series of negotiating sessions with ex-manager Allen Klein's lawyers at the Plaza Hotel in January 1977

John and Yoko Ono take a break from apartment hunting in 1973. They would eventually buy several flats in the Dakota building across the street.

John and Yoko explore property in Greenwich Connecticut before deciding to buy a house in Cold Spring Harbour on Long Island instead.

John Lennon: The Dakota, New York City 1973 - 1980

In 1973 John Lennon and Yoko Ono moved into The Dakota 1 West 72nd Street, New York City Perhaps, at least in part, a bid to re-focus their relationship and start afresh, John & Yoko decided to move to a new home. Built in 1888, the Dakota was New York’s first luxury apartment building and had become known as the first block of flats in the city to incorporate a lift into its building. Residents over the years have included Boris Karlov, Leonard Bernstein, Rudolf Nureyev, Paul Simon and Lauren Becall. The Dakota was also the location for the Polanski Horror classic, “Rosemary’s baby”. Initially renting apartment 72 from the actor Robert Ryan (Since the death of his wife, Ryan had not felt comfortable in the flat), John and Yoko lived here from May/June 1973 having got the keys to the property about a month prior. On 18th September 1973 John moved out, Yoko stayed.

Between 1973-75 John Lennon had various homes in Los Angeles* & New York City. This was the 18 month period that John himself later dubbed as his “lost weekend” during which, at Yoko's suggestion, May Pang (one of the Lennon's team of assistants) would look after John to the point of being his companion in all senses of the word. John decided to go to Los Angeles and upon arrival, checked into the Beverly Hills Hotel under the name of Mr. Corey. Next, John & May stayed at Lou Adler's mansion, 622 Stone Canyon Road, Bel Air. As the largely drunken sessions for a Rock 'N' Roll covers album stumbled to an unsatisfactory close, John sent a postcard to Derek Taylor in December 1973 which read:- "I'm in Lost Arseholes for no real reason . . . Yoko and me are in hell, but I'm gonna change it... probably this very day. Anyway, I'm still famous. He who laffs last is often hard of hearing.". On 18th February 1974, John and May Pang visited the Dakota to help celebrate Yoko's 41st birthday, returning to LA two days later. On 22nd March 1974, following some embarrassing press coverage over a drunken incident at a club, they then took up residence at the home of the record executive Harold Seiders, a beach house at 625 Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica which had been built in the 1930's by M.G.M. Studio's mogul Louis B. Mayer. It was later occupied by actor Peter Lawford and his wife Patricia Kennedy, sister of John (then President) and Robert. JF Kennedy had spent time with Marilyn Monroe here. Regular guests of John and May at this property included Ringo, Keith Moon, Harry Nilsson and Klaus Voorman, many other pop stars of the day also dropped by including Paul and Linda McCartney. On April 27th, John and May decided to return to New York, taking up temporary residence at the luxurious Pierre Hotel on Fifth Avenue before moving into a small apartment at Eddie Germano's two-storey building on East 52nd Street on 16th July 1974 where they were again visited by the McCartneys. 1974 was also the year in which John was reunited with his son (having not seen him since the summer of 1971). In November 1974 John was back at the top of the US charts (both album and single making #1) but the underlying misery and hopelessness expressed in many of the lyrics on the otherwise commercially minded Walls and Bridges LP made it clear that John was desperately missing Yoko. The reconciliation process began with a back stage meeting at Madison Square Garden where John was making a guest spot appearance at Elton John's Thanksgiving concert.
*John and Yoko stayed at The Chateau Marmont, 8221, Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood at some point. And John (probably with either Yoko or May) also stayed at 8818 Thrasher Avenue, Los Angeles.

John Lennon with Sean Lennon and Yoko Ono in October 1975

In 1975 John Lennon returned to The Dakota 1 West 72nd Street, New York City Picture from NY Beatlefest 2003 Although May Pang claims that Yoko somehow had John tricked, hypnotized and brainwashed into returning to the Dakota on 31st January 1975, the interviews he gave following the announcement of the failed separation clearly give the impression of a man who had his life firmly back on track. On John’s 35th birthday Yoko finally gave birth to their first child, Sean Taro Lennon, at the New York Hospital, but the joy quickly turned to anxiety as doctors insisted on carrying out highly dangerous and questionable tests on the child which eventually led to John and Yoko taking Sean and discharging themselves.

No longer under contract to produce any further product for EMI and now fully aware of his shortcomings as a father to his elder son Julian, John slowly withdrew from public life to become a househusband (long before the role of full-time Daddy was considered to be anything but a necessity in exceptional circumstances). A 1976 recording session for a song he had written for Ringo proved to be Lennon's last studio work for 4 years. With the threat of deportation finally lifted in the form of a "Green Card", John was able to travel beyond American borders for the first time since 1971, trips abroad included family holidays in Japan (where, in 1977, he made a rare public appearance in the form of a press conference) and sole sojourns to such places as Hong Kong and South Africa. John continued to write and he recorded numerous home demo's, one of which included a chilling passage with John declaring "I'm bleeding now, I'm bleeding now, stop the bleeding now, stop the bleeding now, oozing out, dripping down tables, silent shout".

John and Yoko bought a number of holiday homes as well as farm land during the late 1970's into 1980. In 1980, John was inspired to make a comeback and in the summer recorded the Double Fantasy album with Yoko in what was evidently a refocusing of their love for eachother following another testing period, but tragically their Dakota home was to be the scene of Lennon's terrible and shocking murder near the guard stand outside The Dakota’s 72nd Street entrance at 10:52pm on Monday 8th December 1980, John was shot five times from behind at point blank range by a deranged fame seeker. After bleeding to death, John Lennon was officially pronounced dead at 11:07pm at the St.Luke‘s Roosevelt Hospital on West 59th Street.

On March 21st 1984 Yoko, flanked by both Sean and Julian, officially opened New York's version of "Strawberry Fields", a teardrop shaped memorial garden dedicated to John in Central Park which now serves as a focal point for fans wishing to reflect on the life of the world's most celebrated Rock star. Yoko and Sean still live in the Dakota whilst offices on the ground floor administer the Lennon estate.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono: 105 Bank Street, Greenwich Village, New York City

Bank Street: John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Jerry Rubin - 1972
In a way that would be unthinkable now for one of the most famous men in the world, Lennon and Ono rented a two-room apartment on Bank Street in the West Village when they settled here, and bought bicycles to get around town. As a student at Sarah Lawrence and an avant-garde artist in New York in the 1950s and ’60s, Ono was intimately familiar with the city. “She made me walk around the streets and parks and squares and examine every nook and cranny,” Lennon said. “In fact you could say I fell in love with New York on a street corner.” His proximity to the docks and the meatpacking district reminded Lennon of his hometown port city of Liverpool, as did the characteristic gruffness of New Yorkers. “I like New Yorkers because they have no time for the niceties of life,” he said. “They’re like me in this. They’re naturally aggressive, they don’t believe in wasting time.” When the Nixon administration used a minor drug conviction in England as a pretext for kicking the politically outspoken Lennon out of the country, the city rallied behind him. Lennon and Ono broke up for a time in his "Lost Weekend" after which he mostly lived in Los Angeles. In 1975, after the couple had reunited, the government dropped its case and Lennon got his green card (also on display in the exhibition). And after three miscarriages, Ono gave birth to their son, Sean, that year. “I feel higher than the Empire State Building,” Lennon declared. By this time, the family was living in the Dakota on 72nd Street and Central Park West, a step up from Bank Street but hardly as posh then as it would eventually become. As the city struggled to recover from its economic crisis, Lennon established a domestic life. He stopped making albums, turned over his business affairs to Ono, and famously baked bread and cared for Sean. By the time the couple began working on the album “Double Fantasy” in 1980, life in New York seemed to be on firmer – and safer – footing, though it was still raw enough that in 1979 Lennon and Ono donated $1,000 to purchase bullet-proof vests for the city’s police force. Lennon was eager to return to public life, and he was still singing the praises of his adopted city. “I can go right out this door now and go in a restaurant,” he told a BBC reporter on Dec. 6, 1980, in an interview to promote the album’s release. “You want to know how great that is?” Two days later, Lennon was shot to death outside the Dakota. He was 40 years old. He had just returned home from a recording session with Ono and, rather than have their car pull directly into the Dakota’s driveway, he got out at the curb so that he could greet the fans waiting outside. It was an emotionally generous gesture, maybe even a naïve one: trusting the city too much, underestimating its dangers. Mick Jagger, a far more jaded New York transplant, couldn’t believe his friend used to take cabs, which is “probably to be avoided if you’ve got more than $10,” as he said years later.

John Lennon atop of The Dakota - 1975

John Lennon and Yoko Ono: 105 Bank Street, Greenwich Village, New York City

Between 1971 and 1972 John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived at 105 Bank Street, Greenwich Village, New York City. On the 16th October 1971, John and Yoko moved to this Greenwich Village loft, renting it from Jerry Butler of the Lovin’ Spoonful. It had two large rooms and a wrought-iron staircase which led up to a small roof garden. Their neighbours at the time included John Cage, Bob Dylan and Jerry Rubin. With the release of the Imagine album returning Lennon to a commercial pedestal, John then made a 180-degree turn in recording a highly provocative and contentious set of tracks together with Yoko and New York band Elephant's Memory, the resulting Some Time In New York City album was both a critical and commercial disaster. Under surveillance of the FBI, the threat of deportation, the failure to conceive a healthy child and the continuing heart-ache over the search for Yoko's daughter Kyoko, John & Yoko reportedly descended back into heroin addiction. One visitor to Bank Street recalled finding John sat with a typewriter tapping "I love sucking on Yoko's pussy" over and over, yet the pressures were about to test their relationship as never before. On the night of the Republican President Richard Nixon's re-election at the close of 1972, John felt hopeless enough to engage in a one-off sexual encounter with a woman at a friends party, the noise of which could be heard by the guests in the adjoining room - including Yoko. Although the full consequences of the election night folly were not immediately apparent, it would prove to be a very significant factor in their eventual decision to embark on a trial separation.

The Plastic Ono Band - It's So Hard (Mike Douglas Show 1972)

"It's So Hard" first appeared in 1971 on Imagine. Shortly after the album's release, the song was released as the B-side to the single "Imagine." The lyrics of the song describe Lennon's attitude towards life, that though things are hard and sometimes you "feel like going down," "you got to live, you got to love, you got to be somebody," and so forth. It demonstrate's Lennon's prankster streak with its double entendres ("it's so hard" and "going down"). The song, when taken into context with "Imagine" or some of the other overtly political tracks on the album such as "Gimme Some Truth," could be heard as having political connotations, saying that one must rebel against the clear-cut lines drawn by the government to live their own lives and to love. The saxophone break comes courtesy of King Curtis who played on many jazz and pop recordings of the 1950s and 60s, including The Coasters' 1958 hit Yakety Yak. It was one of his final performances, as he was murdered just one month before the U.S. release of Imagine. Klaus Voormann, a longtime friend of the Beatles and designer of the cover for their Revolve album, plays bass on the song. Here The Plastic Ono Band perform It's So Hard, on The Mike Douglas Show in 1972.

John Lennon: Imagine /It's So Hard (German Single Cover 1971)

John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (Germany-1971, Apple 1C006-04 940) -Imagine/It's So Hard

The Plastic Ono Band: Toronto - Yer Blues

Ladies and Gentlemen..."the Plastic Ono Band!" Featuring John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Klaus Voorman, Alan White, and Yoko Ono. Filmed in September of 1969 during the "Sweet Toronto Peace Festival" by D. A. Pennebaker. Here they perform "Yer Blues"..!

The Rock and Roll Circus - The Dirty Mac: Yer Blues

The Rock and Roll Circus - The Dirty Mac

The Rolling Stones got together with a few of their friends in 1968 to put on a show that would be broadcast later on TV as Rock And Roll Circus. Partying down were their groupies, roadies, knife throwers, tigers, midgets, and a few musicians whose names you may have heard before: The Who, Jethro Tull, Taj Mahal and Marianne Faithful (AKA Mick Jagger’s girl friend, AKA “big titted angel”). For the occasion, John Lennon put together a rather nifty group, The Dirty Mac, with Winston Leg-Thigh (Lennon), Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell (the drummer from The Jimi Hendrix Experience), and Keith Richards. Dirty Mac performed “Yer Blues,” a song John Lennon wrote for the Beatles White Album, on the air. Unfortunately, the only other broadcast work this incrediblysupergroup found was backing up Yoko Ono and violinist Ivry Gitlis on a “Whole Lotta Yoko,” Enjoy the video of “Yer Blues”..


John Lennon and Yoko Ono at Tittenhurst Park - February 1970

John Lennon and Yoko Ono at Tittenhurst Park - 1969

John Lennon at Tittenhurst Park

John Lennon at Tittenhurst Park

John Lennon and Yoko Ono at Tittenhurst Park

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John Lennon and Yoko Ono

John Lennon and Yoko Ono at Tittenhurst Park

John Lennon and Yoko Ono at Tittenhurst Park

John Lennon and Yoko Ono at Tittenhurst Park - 1971

John Lennon in Ascot Sound Studio: Tittenhurst Park - 1971

John Lennon at Tittenhurst Park

John Lennon and Yoko Ono at Tittenhurst Park - 1971

John Lennon and Yoko Ono: Milk and Honey - "I Don't Wanna Face It"

The last song of his own that John ever recorded was "I Don't Wanna Face It," recorded on 2nd September 1980, but never fully finished by John; it appears on the CD Milk and Honey. The last song Lennon played on was probably Yoko's "Walking On Thin Ice," which appears on her album Season Of Glass; he was working on it at the time of his death. The last recordings he ever made at home, however, were four new songs recorded as demos at his Dakota residence on November 14th. Two, "Pop Is The Name Of The Game" and "You Saved My Soul," have never been officially released. The other two, "Dear John" and "Serve Yourself," were released on 1998's Lennon Anthology. Here's John Lennon's acoustic demo for "I don't Wanna Face It"..

The final demo of "I Don't Wanna Face It" used for Milk and Honey..

Milk and Honey

Milk and Honey was released in 1984. It is the first posthumous release of Lennon's music, having been recorded in the last months of his life during and following the sessions for Double Fantasy.
Milk and Honey was the duo's projected follow-up to Double Fantasy, though Lennon's death caused a temporary shelving of the project. It took Ono three years to be able to resume work to complete it. Ono's material largely comprises new recordings, which she undertook during the album's preparation in 1983, which give her songs a more commercial and contemporary edge. Conversely, Lennon's material, being rough takes and rehearsal recordings, has a more casual feeling.
"Nobody Told Me", a song Lennon had intended for Ringo Starr's upcoming album Stop and Smell the Roses, was released as a single and became a worldwide Top 10 hit. Other singles from the album were "I'm Stepping Out" and "Borrowed Time".
The album title is a reference to John and Yoko's relationship, "milk and honey" being an expression for an Asian/Caucasian mixed-race couple. The cover is an alternate take from the same photo session that produced the front cover of Double Fantasy, though this time it appears in colour.

John Lennon: Live In New York City

It was prepared under the supervision of his widow, Yoko Ono, and released in 1986 as his second official live album, following Live Peace in Toronto 1969.
Recorded on 30th August 1972 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, both John Lennon and Yoko Ono performed two shows, entitled "One to One", to raise money for children with mental challenges at friend Geraldo Rivera's request. He introduces Lennon and Ono at the beginning of the album.
Other performers at these concerts included Stevie Wonder, Roberta Flack and the Sha-Na-Na, although their performances are not included on the album.
Live in New York City captures John Lennon's last full-length concert performance, coming right after the release of Some Time in New York City, the commercial failure of which had devastated Lennon. Not surprisingly, his stage talk, while humorous, is also self-deprecating and slightly nervous in tone. Backing Lennon and Ono were Elephant's Memory, the band used on Some Time in New York City. Although he performs material largely from his last three albums (John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, Imagine and Some Time in New York City), Lennon pleases fans by resurrecting his Beatles hit "Come Together" and pays tribute to Elvis Presley with "Hound Dog" before leading the audience in a singalong of "Give Peace a Chance".
Upon its early 1986 release, Ono was criticized by former members of Elephant's Memory for using the first - and weaker - performance instead of the stronger evening show. They also took issue with the simultaneous video release of the concert, which was edited to show Ono as prominently as Lennon. However, Ono cut out from the audio edition of the concert all of her solo performances, which included "Sisters O Sisters" among others, to give fans what they wanted - a pure John Lennon album. (The video retains the complete set list.)
The first part of the second performance later saw release on The John Lennon Anthology.
Live in New York City reached #55 in the UK, and surprised many with its US appeal where it peaked at #41 and eventually went gold.
The concerts were Lennon's only full-length live performances in his solo career, and his first formal, full-fledged shows since The Beatles retired from the road in 1966 (after brief and informal performances in between). He never had the opportunity to tour solo. They also marked the last time he would perform live with Ono.

John Lennon: Madison Square Garden - 30th August 1972

On 30th August 1972, John Lennon performed at Madison Square Garden. It was his last concert as a headliner. The show was posthumously released in 1986 as 'Live in New York City'.

John Lennon: New York City 1975/77

Yoko Ono (pregnant with Sean) and John Lennon, New York City 1975

John Lennon plays guitar with Sean Lennon, at home in The Dakota, 1977.

John Lennon: 'Imagine' Live - Waldorf Astoria Hotel on 18th April 1975

John Lennon at the Waldorf Asoria Hotel on 18th April 1975 for "Salute to Sir Lew Grade: The Master Showman." John’s appearance was part of a related settlement arising from a publishing dispute over material co-written by he and Yoko Ono. For the show, John, sported a pair of dark round-lensed glasses, appeared with his long hair pulled back from his face, and dressed in a bright red jumpsuit covered with zippers. John played acoustic guitar on Slippin’ and Slidin’, Stand By Me, and Imagine. He was backed by the eight-piece band, called Etcetera, who rather strangely were wearing face masks attached to the back of their heads. When asked about the masks, John said: "It was a sardonic reference to my feelings on Lew Grade’s personality!" Etcetera is actually the band BOMF, which stands for "Brothers of Mother Fuckers," the name still visible on their drum during the performance. John returned at the end of the show to take a bow along with the rest of the cast, this time he dressed in a more formal blue shirt and white trousers, along with his trademark cap and scarf. The 52-minute videotaped show was first shown in America on June 13, 1975, with the UK TV screening taking place a week later. Both versions cut John’s performance of Stand By Me. This turned out to be John Lennon’s last live public performance. Click the title or here to view John Lennon performing Imagine at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel during that evening..

John Lennon and Elton John: Madison Square Garden - 28th November 1974