Rosie and the Originals' "Angel Baby" (1960) is a classic doo wop ballad, beloved (and covered) by John Lennon. Lennon was a fan of the flipside of that record too, "Give Me Love," but only because it's wonderfully awful. From Jonathan Cott's book Days That I Remember: Spending Time with John Lennon & Yoko Ono:
"This is really one of the greatest strange records,” [Lennon] remarked. “It's all just out of beat, and everyone misses it. The A side was the hit, 'Angel Baby'— which is one of my favorite songs — and they knocked off the B side in ten minutes. I'm always talking Yoko's ear off, telling her about these songs, saying, 'Look, this is this! This is this... and this... and this!'"
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In February 2002, Yoko Ono took the stage with the B-52's during a New York performance of "Rock Lobster." The story about how she got there is fascinating and I'm surprised this is the first time I'm hearing of it. It begins in June 1980 when John Lennon heard the song and was inspired to start making music again after a long creative lull. The song's unusual backing vocals reminded him of Yoko Ono's style.
John Lennon, in a 1980 Rolling Stone interview:
"I was at a dance club one night in Bermuda... Upstairs, they were playing disco, and downstairs, I suddenly heard 'Rock Lobster' by the B-52's for the first time. Do you know it? It sounds just like Yoko's music, so I said to meself, 'It's time to get out the old axe and wake the wife up!' We wrote about twenty-five songs during those three weeks, and we've recorded enough for another album."
Writer Brian Scott MacKenzie:
"Rock Lobster" lit a fuse of inspiration that flared into Lennon’s 2-LP set Double Fantasy (1980), plus a posthumous release, Milk and Honey (1984). Without the B-52's, our world might lack "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)," "Watching the Wheels," "Woman," "(Just Like) Starting Over," and "Nobody Told Me."
Atlanta Magazine (2013):
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"I said, 'That’s Yoko!,'" Lennon recalled that fall in an interview with the BBC. "I thought there were two records going at once or something. Because it was so her. I mean, this person had studied her... I called her and I said, 'You won’t believe this, but I was in a disco and there was somebody doing your voice.
Mark David Chapman who murdered John Lennon outside Manhattan's Dakota Hotel on December 8, 1980 was denied parol for the 10th time. Good.
From the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision's letter responding to Chapman's parole application:
The panel has determined that your release would be incompatible with the welfare and safety of society...
You admittedly carefully planned and executed the murder of a world-famous person for no reason other than to gain notoriety. While no one person's life is any more valuable than another's life, the fact that you chose someone who was not only a world-renown person and beloved by millions, regardless of pain and suffering you would cause to his family, friends, and so many others, you demonstrated a callous disregard for the sanctity of human life and the pain and suffering of others.
Chapman can't apply for parole again for two years.
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The owners of John Lennon's former home found an old sketchbook containing this tiny sketch of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover. It's up for auction with an estimated selling price of $40k-$60k which seems oddly low for such an artifact. From Julien's Live auctions:
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An ink on paper sketch by John Lennon of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover with Lennon’s handwriting of the album’s title on the central bass drum in the image. The drawing was found in a sketchbook left in Lennon's former home, Kenwood in Surrey, England, and recovered by the new owners. The design of the album cover is known to have been executed by artist Peter Blake based on drawings provided by Paul McCartney. All of The Beatles contributed to the design of the cover in some way. It is unknown how this undated drawing figures into the history of the album cover and Lennon’s involvement.
Forty-seven years ago today, John Lennon and Yoko Ono celebrated their honeymoon with a weeklong Bed-In For Peace at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel. Was it a prank or a protest? Yes.
"It's part of our policy not to be taken seriously," Lennon said. "Our opposition, whoever they may be, in all manifest forms, don't know how to handle humour. And we are humorous."
Above is the short documentary of the events, titled Bed Peace.
War is over! (If you want it).
More at Imagine Peace.
Below, the song "Give Peace A Chance," recorded June 1, 1969 during the second Bed-In, at Montreal's Queen Elizabeth Hotel. (Bonus appearance by bOING bOING patron saint Dr. Timothy Leary!)
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In the years since his death, John Lennon's whimsical artwork has appeared on baby bedding, greeting cards, T-shirts, prints, posters and even in a few slim books. But this volume is the most comprehensive collection of his visual works to date. The book includes early drawings inspired by Ivanhoe and other childhood reading, as well as Lennon's darkly funny, Thurber-esque cartoons of the mid-1960s. And it concludes with his gentle, almost Matisse-like sketches of family life with Yoko Ono and son Sean in the late 1970s. Together, you get a full sense of how Lennon used simple artworks to express himself throughout his life.
Lennon dropped out of the Liverpool College of Art to become a full-time Beatle in his early 20s. Probably a good move. Unlike his classmate Stu Sutcliffe, Lennon didn't have the makings of a great painter. Yet, he might've made it as a cartoonist. The works here demonstrate imagination and potential, and a fluency for relating concepts in pencil, ink and brush. With a few minimal lines, Lennon could clearly convey whatever was on his mind: silly, sentimental or sad. Which is what it was all about: He used art to express an idea and then quickly moved on to the next thing on his agenda, be it writing or recording a song, or baking bread for Sean and Yoko during his house-husband years.
The book's text, on the other hand, seems to suggest Lennon should be acclaimed as a great visual artist as well as musician. Read the rest
Michael Horowitz*, Timothy Leary's longtime archivist, has permitted the Timothy Leary Archives website to publish a transcription of a tape recorded conversation between Dr. Leary and his wife Rosemary, and John Lennon and Yoko Ono, made during John and Yoko's Bed-In for Peace in Montreal, May 1969. Tim had given it to Michael, in 1984, as a present for finishing Tim's bibliography.
The conversation took place during John and Yoko’s week-long Bed-In, on May 29th, 1969. This is just a few months before John would leave the Beatles and move with Yoko to the U.S. where they were closely monitored by the FBI and threatened with deportation, and ten months before Tim would be put in prison for possessing a minuscule amount of marijuana, and Rosemary would be putting on benefits to raise money for his appeal.
This transcript was intended to be added to a previously published piece, “Thank God for the Beatles” (The Beatles Book, 1968), an essay about the Beatles as "evolutionary agents sent by God, endowed with mysterious power to create a new human species," to be published in an anthology of Tim's shorter writings, but the project was abandoned.
The transcript, as far as we can tell, has remained unpublished until now.
Transcription of a tape recorded conversation between Timothy Leary and his wife Rosemary, and John Lennon and Yoko Ono
*Michael Horowitz was Timothy Leary's archivist, editor and bibliographer. He co-founded the Fitz Hugh Ludlow Memorial Library and co-edited Moksha: Aldous Huxley's Classic Writings on Psychedelics and the Visionary Experience and Sisters of the Extreme: Women Writing on the Drug Experience (with Cynthia Palmer). Read the rest
"My Favorite Museum Exhibit" is a series of posts aimed at giving BoingBoing readers a chance to show off their favorite exhibits and specimens, preferably from museums that might go overlooked in the tourism pantheon. I'll be featuring posts in this series all week. Want to see them all? Check out the archive post. I'll update the full list there every morning.
This car sits in the lobby of the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, British Columbia. It once belonged to John Lennon, hence the paint job. But that's not the only customization. Inside, apparently, there is a fold-out bed, a portable refrigerator, and a record player. There also used to be a TV. Bear in mind, all these changes were made in the mid-to-late 1960s, when the whole refrigerator-and-TV-in-a-car thing were much more impressive feats of technology.
Sean Rodman works at the Royal BC Museum and sent in this photo, along with a request for assistance. On the roof of the car is a symbol that is, ostensibly, the sign for Libra. Except that it doesn't really resemble the sign for Libra. The Royal BC Museum is confused. Maybe you guys know what this is:
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