Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Living With The Cockaroaches

John added a few more pages to his FBI dossier by appearing on the syndicated David Frost Show on December 16th, 1971. He and Yoko had been spending much of December producing an Apple LP, The Pope Smokes Dope, for street musician David Peel and his band, the Lower East Side.

Naturally, they brought the band with them for their appearance, and joined in with the opening and closing numbers, "The Ballad Of New York City/John Lennon-Yoko Ono" and "The Hippie From New York City". Jerry Rubin, who had wreaked havoc on Frost's show a year earlier, was also there but wisely kept his mouth shut.

The trouble began when John and Yoko sang "Attica State", which drew the ire of two audience members who accused the Lennons of glorifying prisoners. After a spirited debate, which included a sample chorus from "Luck Of The Irish", Yoko performed "Sisters O Sisters". It was then her turn to complain, accusing Frost of giving her famous husband more airtime on what was supposed to be her forum.

John also performed "John Sinclair", after gleefully announcing that Sinclair had been released. The show was broadcast January 13th, 1972 and survives on video. Here is the soundtrack to a truncated 1997 airing on VH-1 (including all the music and most of the interesting chat).

Far more dignified was their appearance the following night at a benefit at the Apollo in Harlem to benefit the families of the Attica prison riot. Naturally, they played "Attica State" as well as "Sisters O Sisters" and a beautiful acoustic rendition of "Imagine":

John and Yoko's Christmas was spoiled when Tony Cox, now living in Houston, refused to allow them to see Kyoko. After being jailed for contempt of court and released on bond two days before Christmas, Tony and his wife Melinda fled with Kyoko for parts unknown. Worse was yet to come for the Lennons in 1972.


  1. Whoah! What a crazy year 71 was!! I have to say you cracked me up right away with the first sentence (not for the first time, either!)

    Just wanted to alert you that when you click "spirited debate", nothing comes up.

    Thank you!!!!

    1. Try refreshing the page and clicking again. It links to part 2 of the YouTube video in the previous link.

  2. Poor David Frost!!!!! He must have needed a drink after this one!!!! Fascinating appearance, but wow, dare she!!!!! First off, he opens up the show by talking at length about box of smile....and it's not his fault that the riled-up New Yawk audience hijacked the interview for a bit! OOF! PAINFUL! Painful but fascinating. And unprofessional! Love Yoko, and I understand her frustration in all of these interviews but wow....she got what was coming to her when the audience applauded during Frost's rebuttal. And the hypocrisy of talking about fame, especially for a person who was dying to be famous, even before she met John Lennon (Lamonte Young has a great quote, it's very early on in the book "Please Kill Me", something along the lines of "Yoko Ono came up to me and said 'You're famous!"...and so I started an affair with Yoko Ono!").

    It seems every time poor David had one of the Beatles on (excepting Macca!), it turned into the Spanish Inquisition! And no one expects the Spanish Inquisition! Dinsdale knows, he'll tell ya! George Harrison too! (the musician and movie producer, not the Liverpool Echo columnist!)