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Rock Legends: John Lennon Rock Genius or Devil’s Disciple?
John Lennon 1940 -1980
Questions to consider tonight Does John Lennon merit either title? Why still the interest – on both sides – 27 years after his death? What exactly did John Lennon mean to the world – what legacy did he leave behind?
First: Who were we? Who were we in 1963? l Radio l TV l Home l Abroad
Radio AM – very few FM stations. l Top forty format – but ‘we’ baby boomers didn’t define top 40 – yet! l Only the major cities featured radio stations that were ‘all’ rock! l Still news every hour l Also, it got very quiet after midnight! l (Most radio stations signed off at midnight. )
TV Three networks – NO cable! l Network News just expanded to 30 min l TV recognized the Boomers – with cartoons and kids shows. l Shows aimed at teenagers had not yet occurred, except for American Bandstand. (But that would change very soon, in large part because of the Beatles. ) l
Cars Chevrolet Impala In 1963, sold for under $2900! But credit wasn’t easy – and who bought new? ? ? PS: Don’t look for air conditioning, FM radio, or power windows or power locks! (Some did have power steering!)
Home l TV taking hold – but only 1 per house! l Automatic “washers” l Refrigerators (not “ice boxes”) l Air Conditioning not yet standard at home
Home, part II l Where was home? America was moving to the suburbs (or around here, off the farm!) (Ozzie & Harriet clip)
On the TV - News l Space Race! Glenn Orbits! l Fallout Fears! l Berlin Wall – 1962 (newsreel clip)
On the TV - News l ‘Black unrest’ – Freedom Riders Attacked James Meredith at ‘Ole Miss’ (video clip)
On the TV - News l Cuban Missile Crisis – 1962 (newsreel clip) l Viet-Where? (news clip)
On the TV - News JFK assassination We lost a vital and exciting young President – but for millions of Americans, it was really the day we lost our innocence.
On the TV - Entertainment Westerns are still riding high this year: Rawhide (1959 -66) Wagon Train (1957 -65) The Virginian (1962 -71) Bonanza (1959 -73) Gunsmoke (1955 -75)
On the TV - Entertainment But there is a new wave on the way: The Fugitive starts his 4 year ‘run. ’ Combat! starts second year. Route 66 heading for the last lap.
Home, Part II Average income: $6, 200 B&W TV: $399 Color TV: $500 and up
Home, Part II 4 track Reel to Reel recorder: $249. 95 Clock Radio (!): $49. 95
Home, Part III And truly high-tech: $19. 95 in 1963. The Transistor Radio!
On the Radio – Top 25 1. Surfin' U. S. A. , Beach Boys 2. Sugar Shack, Jimmy Gilmer and The Fireballs 3. The End Of The World, Skeeter Davis 4. Rhythm Of The Rain, Cascades 5. Hey Paula, Paul and Paula 6. Blue Velvet, Bobby Vinton 7. He's So Fine, Chiffons 8. Fingertips II, Little Stevie Wonder
On the TV – News Part II March on Washington 1 March on Washington 2 Eyes on the Prize
Important Dates Lennon born October 9, 1940 l Meets Harrison, Mc. Cartney – late 1950’s l Jan 1, 1962 – Decca Audition l April 10, 1962 – Stu Sutcliffe dies l
1962 August – Pete Best out – enter Ringo l August 23, 1962 – John marries Cynthia Powell l September – George Martin signs the Beatles to EMI l October 5, 1962 – single “Love Me Do” Released l
1963 February 16 – “Love Me Do” tops Brit Pop charts l April - Release first album “Please Me” l (British Clip)
1964 l February 7 – The Beatles land at Kennedy Airport and retake the colonies! (Sullivan Clip)
1964 March 31 – US Top 10 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) Can’t Buy Me Love Twist and Shout She Loves You I Want to Hold Your Hand Plus numbers 16, 44, Please Me 49, 69, 78, 84 and 88 in the top 100!
Dates Hard Days Night – 1964 l June 12, 1965 “Being awarded the MBE – I can’t believe it! I thought you had to drive tanks and win wars!” l
1965 A Spaniard in the Works available at all fine book stores! l August 15, 1965: Beatles at Shea Stadium l December – last tour of England l
1966 August: Beatles last tour of US l “The Beatles are bigger than Jesus Christ” ignites controversy and hundreds of albums go up in flames. l
1967 l The Beatles go Mystical – George meets the Maharishi for the first time in February.
1967 l February -Without tours, Penny Lane b/w Strawberry Fields does NOT reach number 1! l June 1 - “Sgt. Pepper” debuts “All You Need is Love” puts them back at number 1 in June. (clip)
1968 April - Travel to India bombs l August 30 – “Hey Jude” hammers the charts. l November – 1 st non-group effort – George’s Wonderwall. l
1968 April – Apple launches l August – Paul parts with Jane Asher l November, John divorces Cynthia l
1968 November 29 John releases “Two Virgins” with he and Yoko in the buff on the cover! l
1969 January 30 – The Beatles perform in public one last time – on the roof of Apple Records! l John and Yoko release Unfinished Music l (clip)
1969 September – Abbey Road debuts l November - John and Yoko release the “Wedding Album” l
1970 l May 8, 1970 – “Let It Be” Recorded before “Abbey Road” it is the last released Beatles Album
1970 l December 11, 1970 – “Plastic Ono Band”
1971 l October 2, 1971 – “Imagine”
1971 l August - John and Yoko move to New York City. l Almost immediately John becomes the focus of an effort by the U. S. Government to deport him as an ‘undesirable alien. ’
1972 l September 16, 1972 – “Sometime in New York City”
1973 l March – Lennon ordered to leave US. l John’s response? “Peace and love, John and Yoko. ”
1973 l November 10, 1973 – “Mind Games” (Fitting title - the US Gov. is playing the same mind games with Lennon as they did with MLK. )
1974 l February - Press Reports John and Yoko have split. Lennon’s “Lost Weekend” stretches for 18 months. l July – Lennon ordered to leave US within 60 days or be deported.
1974 l September “Walls and Bridges” – This is Lennon’s last album of new material until Double Fantasy in 1980
1974 l December – John, back in form, jams onstage with his friend Elton John at Madison Square Garden. l (John had agreed to do so if Elton’s version of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds hit #1. )
1975 l February– “Rock ‘N’ Roll” Almost didn’t happen – producer Phil Spector didn’t want to give John the tapes!
1975 l October – “Shaved Fish” - a one disk collection of most of John’s best solo work.
1975 Lennon prevails!
1975 l Lennon prevails – he can stay! Memos uncovered using the Freedom of Information Act powers show Lennon was “being selectively prosecuted for political purposes by the Nixon administration. ”
1976 - 1979 l Out of Sight – literally. Back with Yoko, Lennon focuses on raising Sean, born in 1975.
1980 l “Double Fantasy, ” easily one of his best albums, is released Nov 17, 1980
1980 On December 8, 1980, returning home from mixing singles at the Record Plant studio, John Lennon is shot at 10: 50 PM. John Lennon is declared dead at 11: 15 PM.
Questions to consider tonight What exactly did John Lennon mean to the world? What legacy did he leave behind? Had he lived, would he would be like Sir Mic, Sir Paul, or Sir Elton?