Monday, June 25, 2012

Welcome To The Rehearsal

Because it would be his first (and as it turned out, only) full live performances as a solo artist, John put in plenty of rehearsal prior to the "One To One" Willowbrook benefit concerts in August, 1972.

He and Yoko began rehearsing with Elephant's Memory at Butterfly Studios soon after returning to New York from the west coast. August 16th was "One To One Day" in New York City, with Mayor Lindsay making the proclamation at a ceremony attended by John and Yoko with Geraldo Rivera.

Rivera was at the rehearsals on the 18th to tape a series of radio spots for airing on local stations. The concert had sold out within hours of the announcement, so the ads alerted listeners that a matinee show was being added for the same day. Noise complaints from neighbors meant the rehearsals changed venues to the Fillmore East on August 25th.

On the 28th, John and Yoko appeared live on the WABC evening news, chatting with Geraldo at the TV studio and playing a bit of "Give Peace A Chance" rehearsal footage. Another TV report from around that time reminded viewers that tickets for the matinee were still available.

Ready or not, the shows went on as scheduled on August 30th at Madison Square Garden, with both houses being filmed and professionally recorded. Opening acts included Sha Na Na, Stevie Wonder, and Roberta Flack. Edited and remixed versions of the concerts were released on the LP Live In New York City in 1986, as well as on home video:

John, Yoko, and the band had one final commitment in 1972: performing on the annual Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, hosted by Jerry Lewis and airing from the Americana Hotel in New York. The night before their appearance, September 3rd, they were interviewed in their hotel room by Roy Carr of the New Musical Express.

On the evening of September 4th, John and Yoko appeared live on the telethon, performing "Imagine", "Now Or Never", and "Give Peace A Chance". It would be the last time the couple performed together in front of an audience.


  1. Great pic of John backstage with the NYPD! That's definitely One To One Lennon!

    Thanks John (Winn), as usual, and also for the fantastic writing, I don't know if you get enough credit for that!!

  2. I love how for the radio spots, John starts talking, the engineer interrupts and profusely apologizes that he's not ready and Yoko mutters "Fuck you", totally uncalled for. And they wondered why Yoko was so unpopular. I don't know what's worse, this "fuck you", or her cultural-stereotype lyrics that ruin "Luck Of The Irish".

    1. Listening to the Roy Carr interview, really good, this made me laugh:

      When asked if he’d ever play on a George song the way George appeared on the Imagine album, John says emphatically:

      "Listen…if George was recording NOW…I’d say, “Excuse me, Roy….we’re going over to the session, all right?”

      Ha! Well, I think we know where he stands on that one!!!

      So odd listening to Roy of Beatles Illustrated Record....interviewing John about Sometime In NYC. It was that book that I learned about "Sometime In NYC" in the first place! All these years I would have thought (for some reason) Roy had a deep, gruff voice....not a little high-pitched one! Anyways, thanks for this interview, Brother John! (as you can see, I've got some catching up to do on my listening! It's all those Wings concerts! Oddly enough, you really can hear them improving!)

      Does anyone know if there's a version of the One To One concert without the horrendous production job they did on the "Live In NYC" album? It's been years since I listened to that album and yesterday, giving it an airing, I couldn't believe how bad it was!! Not a career highpoint, at least not musically!

  3. Hey Dins, you prob'ly already know about this...
    John Lennon & Yoko Ono - Jerry Lewis Telethon

    Thank you for all the great material you've provided, you're a legend!!