Friday, November 30, 2012

When Snoopy Died

On November 23rd, 1975, Derek Taylor, now managing director of Warner Brothers Records in the UK, sent a semi-serious letter to John Lennon at the Dakota, asking him to sign with the "very reasonable and extremely rich" label.

By this time, John was truly relishing his role as a stay-at-home father to Sean, and had no intention of signing with anyone when his EMI contract expired in January. On December 11th, friend and photographer Bob Gruen was invited to the Dakota to shoot the first professional pictures of Sean with his parents.

Around this time, John received a request from WNEW disc jockey Vin Scelsa, who was assembling a radio tribute to New York City, which was suffering from major financial problems. Scelsa mailed a questionnaire, along with a tape and recorder for John to return with his responses, to the Dakota. John duly replied, sounding disinterested and drowsy.

In contrast, John was downright goofy when he used the same questionnaire as a springboard to record the first-ever "interview" with his two-month-old baby. Unsurprisingly, Sean has little to say about New York, cab drivers, or a balloon mishap during the recent Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (actually Underdog, not Snoopy), only becoming agitated when his godfather Elton John is mentioned.

Bob Gruen was also present just before Christmas when two surprise guests showed up at the Dakota: 

"There was a big flash of paranoia when the doorbell rang. It was like, ‘Oh my God, who can that be?’ In the Dakota, every visitor gets announced from the desk downstairs, so when the bell on your apartment door rings suddenly, it's a real fright. It wasn't just a little paranoia - they were very scared, very nervous.

They said to me, ‘Go see who it is, don't open the door until you know what's going on,’ and I went to the hallway and I heard what sounded like kids singing Christmas carols. So I called back to John and Yoko, ‘Don't worry, it's some kids from the building singing carols,’ and when I looked through, it was Paul and Linda. They were singing ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’, very cute, kind of adorable, just standing there singing.

I said, ‘I don't think you're looking for me; come on, I'll take you into the bedroom where John and Yoko are,’ and they kept singing all the way in. You know, you read about all the animosity between them, about how the Beatles' wives don’t get along, but they all seemed like giddy old school chums. Hugging, patting each other on the back, the guys were like high-school buddies who hadn't seen each other in a long time and really liked each other. The girls were very chatty and pleasant. If you didn't read the magazines, you wouldn't know Yoko and Linda were supposed to hate each other, they were getting along just fine. They all went into the next room to look at Sean, who was just two months old. 
Paul told them about the pot bust in LA and how they'd been denied a Japanese visa, and how much he and Linda wanted to go to Japan. John and Yoko really loved Japan and went there a lot, so they talked about that. It was all pretty general, nothing about any business between them, and then when they got up to leave there was lots of hugging and kissing, general holiday good cheers. It was so fascinating seeing the two of them together like that with their wives, and everything totally pleasant.

After they were gone, John and Yoko were saying, ‘Wow! Do you believe that?’ And they seemed to be so happy about the visit. Whatever fights were going on between their lawyers, they knew each other too long and too well not to be glad about seeing each other.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mr. George Harrison Sings

On December 8th, 1975, the second single from George's Extra Texture album was released in the US. "This Guitar (Can't Keep From Crying)", a sequel to "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" in name only, found George responding to the critics of his last album and tour (particularly Rolling Stone). To drive the point home, he placed "Maya Love" from the Dark Horse LP on the B-side. The single failed to reach the charts in either the US or UK (where it was issued February 6th, 1976, the very last release on the Apple label until Live At The BBC in 1994).

At some point late that year (possibly during his October visit to Los Angeles), George was interviewed for the syndicated series Earth News Radio. It was aired the week of December 15th in most markets, and while I don't have a copy of the original broadcast (anyone?), much of it was re-used in 1978, when Earth News Radio dedicated a whole month of shows to the Beatles. Here are all of George's bits from those episodes.

With their BBC series finished, the members of Monty Python were concentrating on group films and individual TV projects. John Cleese and Connie Booth's Fawlty Towers had premiered to great acclaim in September, and Michael Palin and Terry Jones were shooting the pilot for Ripping Yarns, which would air in January. Eric Idle had progressed from his own radio series, Radio 5, in 1973, to a TV sketch comedy. The first series of Rutland Weekend Television, written in collaboration with Neil Innes, aired on BBC2 in May and June.

George was delighted to appear on the Rutland Weekend Television Christmas special, taped December 13th and aired on Boxing Day. "Pirate Bob" had a blast performing a specially-composed Harrison/Idle composition:

Eric Idle later recalled how his new friend was able to spread some Yuletide cheer that year: "George once gave me the most spectacular present. It was Christmas 1975 and my marriage was breaking up and I was very sad and it was snowing and my little two year old son and I were alone on Christmas Eve. There was a ring at the door and we stood on the stoop bewildered as two men unloaded a big bulky heavy object from the back of a large truck and carried it inside. Carey and I looked at each other puzzled. What on earth was it? It was wrapped in corrugated brown paper and tied up with string, so we set about ripping the covering off. To our amazement and utter delight it was a juke box filled with rock and roll classics! There was a note on it which said 'Every Home Should Have One, Happy Christmas, love George and Liv.' Well we plugged that thing in and it glowed and throbbed and pulsated with sound and we danced madly to it all that Christmas. What a great gift."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tea And Sympathy

Ringo took most of 1975 off, appearing at the occasional movie premiere and sitting in on sessions with friends (e.g., Harry Nilsson's Sandman LP), but recording no new solo material. Instead, a greatest hits LP, Blast From Your Past, was compiled and released by Apple November 20th in the US (where it peaked at #30 in Billboard). It contained the first eight of Ringo's US single A-sides, plus the B-side "Early 1970" and the LP track "I'm The Greatest".

The album came out December 12th in the UK, where two of the cuts, "Oh My My" and "No No Song" had never been A-sides. The two were paired as a UK-only single on January 9th, 1976, but neither the LP or 45 charted. These turned out to be the final releases on the Apple label in Britain.

Ringo's vanity label, Ring O'Records, was still struggling along; on November 14th, it issued the UK-only single "I've Had It" by singer-songwriter Carl Groszman. The connection would come in handy when Ringo recorded Carl's "A Dose Of Rock 'N' Roll" on his next LP.

On November 21st, Ring O'Records released the UK single "Cokey Cokey"/'Away In A Manger" by one "Colonel Doug Bogie". Bogie was an engineer and one-man band who had briefly played bass with Queen. In the US, the sides were flipped when ABC Records picked up the single on December 8th. Reports that Ringo drums and Eric Clapton plays guitar on "Away In A Manger" remain unverified; either way, the single flopped in both countries.

While Neil Aspinall attended to the dismantling of Apple in London, Mal Evans had spent most of the last two years in the US, hanging out with John, Ringo, Harry, Keith Moon, and other partygoing musicians. He also immersed himself in Beatle fandom, making an appearance at the 2nd Beatlefest convention in New York on September 6th and 7th.

Mal had kept a diary throughout the 60's and spent much of 1975 turning it into a memoir, 200 Miles To Go (aka Living The Beatles Legend), with the help of a ghostwriter, John Hoernle. Mal made a couple of radio appearances to pre-promote the book (the manuscript was due to be submitted to the publisher January 12th).

The first, on November 29th, found him spending an hour chatting with Laura Gross on KCSN in Northridge, California, about his life and career in the Beatles' inner circle. It went so well that Mal was invited back to appear on KCSN's show Full Circle in December, where he talked to Ken Doyle and answered questions from callers.

Although Mal appeared cheerful and upbeat during both broadcasts, his life was not going well. Badfinger, the band he'd discovered and brought to Apple, had disbanded following the untimely suicide of Pete Ham in April. Mal was working in the studio with Badfinger's guitarist, Joey Molland, and his new band, Natural Gas. With John now firmly back in the Dakota and Ringo becoming a jet-setter (purchasing a residence in Monte Carlo that December), Mal saw less and less of the ex-Beatles.

Most importantly, his wife of 14 years, Lil, requested a divorce just before Christmas. On the evening of January 6th, 1976, Hoernle visited the L.A. apartment Mal shared with his girlfriend Fran Hughes. Depressed and heavily medicated, Mal picked up an air rifle which Hoernle was unable to wrestle away. Hughes called the police, who arrived and commanded Mal to drop his weapon. Disoriented, he failed to comply and was struck down by four shots from two of the officers, killing him on the spot.

Only Harry Nilsson was in town to attend Mal's cremation the next day, but his ashes were flown to England for the sake of his family. Harry recalled, "A couple of days later, Neil Aspinall from Apple called and kept saying, 'Harry, Harry! Where's Mal?' And I said, 'Well, I sent him'. And he said they couldn't find him, he's not here, and his mother's downstairs and his wife Lil is here and they're all crying, what am I supposed to tell them? So we sent out tracers at both ends, and eventually I got a call from the airport that they'd found him. I asked where, and they said, 'In the dead letter office!'"

Full Circle rebroadcast the November 29th interview with Mal during a January 25th tribute, followed by this epilogue.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Wings' 1975 Australian tour continued November 10th and 11th with concerts at Festival Hall in Brisbane. Here is a selection of interviews said to be from Brisbane, including more with Norman Gunston and Paul's thoughts on Patty Hearst.

Three concerts at Tokyo's Budokan Hall were scheduled to follow the Australian jaunt, from the 19th-21st. These were cancelled on November 11th, when Japan's Minister of Justice denied the band visas due to Paul and Linda's March, 1973 cannabis charge. Paul spoke to reporters about it upon arrival in Melbourne the next day.

The opening night show at Melbourne's Myer Music Bowl on the 13th was filmed for a TV special, allowing Australian fans who couldn't get a ticket to experience Wings in concert. It was also broadcast on Japanese TV and radio, to make up for the cancelled shows in Tokyo:

Backstage following the concert, Wings filmed an interview for the Mike Walsh Show, aired November 15th on the 0-10 Network:

On November 14th, prior to the final show of the tour in Melbourne, Paul filmed a brief and awkward apology to Japanese fans, presumably to air in tandem with the concert film and radio broadcast:

Wings headed back to London November 15th and spent the remainder of 1975 enjoying a rest before returning to the studio early in the new year. Their latest British single, "Venus And Mars/Rock Show", was released November 28th, accompanied by a promo clip filmed during the UK leg of the tour:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Road To A Koala Bear

On October 28th, 1975, Paul McCartney and Wings arrived in Perth to begin the Australian leg of their tour. Beatlemania had not subsided since the wildly successful June 1964 tour, and most of the shows sold out quickly, with second nights added in four of the five cities.

The opening night concert in Perth was held at the Entertainment Centre on November 1st; portions of the performance were aired on Melbourne's 3XY Radio. Backstage following the gig, 3XY's John O'Donnell spoke with Paul and Linda.

The following day, a press conference was held at the Cottesloe Civic Centre; the event was humorously hijacked by faux-reporter Norman Gunston, who had announced his intentions ahead of time. The conference received wide radio coverage on 3XY and elsewhere, and Gunston's antics were aired on his ABC TV series The Norman Gunston Show:

After spending a couple of days relaxing in Perth, Wings flew to Adelaide for two concerts at Apollo Stadium on the 4th and 5th. Paul was interviewed for Adelaide radio on the 5th prior to the final show (also included is an interview with trombonist Tony Dorsey in Melbourne later in the tour).

They continued on to Sydney November 6th, where an impromptu "press conference" took place on the tarmac at Mascot Airport. Both the following nights' shows at the Hordern Pavilion were sellouts, and Paul spoke with a reporter from 2UE Radio after the last performance on the 8th.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Collectable Lennon

October of 1975 found the ex-Beatles scattered around the globe. Ringo was the most active, participating in a celebrity tennis tournament in Johannesburg September 27th, flying to Los Angeles in October to attend Dr. John's concert at the Roxy Theater, and visiting Vancouver later in the month. He may also have attended the world premiere of Lisztomania in New York on October 10th:

George Harrison was back in Los Angeles promoting Extra Texture; on October 16th, he was in the audience at one of Bruce Springsteen's legendary shows at the Roxy. During his Los Angeles visit, George was interviewed by Don Ellis about Ravi Shankar's music - specifically, the Music Festival From India, which would be released as an LP by Dark Horse in the US on February 6th, 1976. The interview was aired on KCET in March.

Paul and Wings were at EMI Studio 2 in London recording tracks for their next LP, Wings At The Speed Of Sound. At the end of the month, the group would fly to Australia for the next leg of their Wings Over The World tour. On the evening of October 17th, disc jockeys Ronnie Sparks and Tim Webster of 2SM in Sydney phoned Abbey Road and gave Paul and company a chance to promote the upcoming concerts. Paul failed to rise to the occasion, having little or nothing interesting to say about his previous albums.

John spent a weekend in Massachusetts during September, visiting Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard, before returning to the Dakota for the final weeks of Yoko's pregnancy. On September 23rd, good news in the deportation case arrived in the form of a temporary stay, reportedly on humanitarian grounds due to Yoko's impending delivery. Even better news was handed down the the court of appeals on October 7th, when the deportation order was reversed by a 2-to-1 decision. John's next step was to apply yet again for permanent residence in the US. The best news of all came on John's 35th birthday, October 9th, when a healthy baby son, Sean Taro Ono Lennon, was born at New York Hospital. 

While John was now effectively retired from the music business, he did assist EMI in compiling one last release before his contract expired. Shaved Fish was the first greatest hits package by an ex-Beatle, collecting most of John's singles (plus a bit of the unreleased One-To-One benefit performance of "Give Peace A Chance"). The album was released October 24th in the UK, accompanied by a single, "Imagine"/"Working Class Hero". EMI's Bob Mercer had urged John to release "Imagine" on 45 in the UK (it had been a US-only single back in 1971), where it and the LP both peaked at #5. Shaved Fish reached #12 in the US, eventually going platinum.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Waiting For The Show To Begin

The 1975 Wings Over The World tour kicked off September 9th, 1975 at the Southampton Gaumont. From the start, it was a more polished and professional act than Paul had taken out in a decade. The addition of a four-piece horn section added dynamics and color to the sound, the lighting and stage effects were top-notch, and most importantly, Wings now had a long string of chart hits and successful LP tracks to choose from. This meant Paul could have his cake and eat it too, allowing him to sprinkle in a few Beatles tunes without being accused of cashing in on past glories.

The tour passed through Bristol, Cardiff, and Manchester, where Granada TV's Tony Wilson interviewed Wings in their dressing room on September 12th. Three nights later, the band returned to Paul's hometown, playing to a sold-out crowd at the Liverpool Empire. This time, it was German TV's Treffpunkte interviewing Paul backstage. A bit of the conversation was repeated December 6th, 1976 on Phonzeit, which also aired a bit of "Blackbird" from the tour, and the "Letting Go" promo clip (possibly shot September 21st in Glasgow).

Director Tony Palmer had produced a critically praised look at the rock scene back in 1968, All My Loving, which had included interviews with Paul and Ringo. Now he was working on a greatly expanded 17-part documentary series, All You Need Is Love, whose scope included the history of popular music stretching back a century.

Naturally, the Beatles occupied much of one installment, and Palmer filmed a new interview with Paul to sit beside the older clips. It was most likely shot in Liverpool on September 14th or 15th, and the episode, which aired May 14th 1977, closes with a performance of "Yesterday" probably from the Empire show:

The tour wrapped with four performances in Scotland, covering Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Dundee. At one of these stops, French TV interviewed Paul and Linda backstage for the show Vous Avez Dit Bizarre? The report, broadcast December 4th on Antenne 2, included a live performance of "Letting Go", different from the promotional clip for the single (which doesn't seem to be on YouTube anywhere):

Thursday, November 8, 2012


George's new single, "You", was released September 15th, 1975 in the US, followed a week later by the LP Extra Texture (Read All About It). In four years, George had fallen from most commercially successful ex-Beatle to least, and sadly, the new releases did nothing to change that status.

"You" was easily the catchiest, most upbeat number on the album (unsurprisingly, it had been written and recorded back in February 1971 as a potential Ronnie Spector track), but the single could manage only #20 and #38 placements on the US and UK charts, respectively. The rest of the LP was very much a product of mid-70's Los Angeles studio rock: slickly played but bland and uninspired, and the lyrical content was somber and pessimistic.

George did a bit of promotion in the UK which helped boost the album to #16 (whereas Dark Horse had failed to chart). He gave a lengthy interview to Melody Maker, and appeared live with DJ Nicky Horne on Capital Radio's Your Mother Wouldn't Like It on September 12th. George also went through the album track-by-track with Paul Gambaccini for BBC Radio 1's Rockweek, aired September 6th.

Throughout 1975, George had been making his share of contributions to his friends' projects. Billy Preston's LP It's My Pleasure was released June 20th, featuring George's guitar on the song "That's Life". Billy had been performing the song most nights on the Rolling Stones' summer US tour:

British singer-songwriter Peter Skellern was also the recipient of a Harrison guitar solo, on the song "Make Love, Not War". The cut was released September 26th on the UK-only album Hard Times:

Throughout the rough period of 1974-75, George could always count on one thing to lift his spirits, and that was Monty Python. He had been enjoying the troupe's BBC TV sketch comedy since its inception in 1969, and after the final series aired in December 1974, he set about making friends with the group's members.

He had met Michael Palin and Terry Jones briefly in November 1972 when Apple Studios was used to cut a version of Monty Python's Previous Record, but his first and fastest Python friend became Eric Idle. The two met when George attended a screening of Monty Python And The Holy Grail in Los Angeles during March 1975 and bonded instantly.

George had been using the "Lumberjack Song" as pre-concert music during his Dark Horse tour, and agreed to produce a new recording of the number for release as a UK Christmas single. The session took place October 3rd at Workhouse Studios in London, with Michael Palin reprising his role from the TV version; Idle, who usually performed the tune in Python stage shows, was content to watch from the control booth. George mixed the song the next day at FPSHOT and the single was released November 14th:

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Put Her In A Broadway Show


The summer of 1975 was a very quiet period for all four ex-Beatles. John and Yoko slowed things down during Yoko's pregnancy, occasionally going out to see a Broadway show (Same Time Next Year) or dine with friends. John kept busy by corresponding with British relatives and beginning to write poetry and prose, much of which would end up in Skywriting By Word Of Mouth.

In Los Angeles, George worked on his Extra Texture LP, played slide guitar on a Tom Scott recording, met Bob Marley at the Roxy on July 17th, and attended one of the Rolling Stones' July concerts at the LA Forum.

Elsewhere in Los Angeles, Ringo celebrated his 35th birthday on July 7th, and ten days later his divorce from Maureen was finalized. In August, he appeared in a promotional film for Dr. John's Hollywood Be Thy Name LP, and participated in more Keith Moon solo sessions. Back on June 21st, Ringo and Nancy Andrews had attended Elton John's Wembley Stadium concert in London:

Paul and Linda took a break from rehearsing in early July to visit Linda's family in New York; Wings rehearsals resumed in August at Elstree Film Studios, with a world tour now scheduled to begin September 9th in Southampton:

Radio Luxembourg DJ Tony Prince dropped by during the rehearsals and interviewed Paul about the upcoming tour, asking how he chose which Beatles numbers to perform. On September 6th, Wings performed a stripped-down version of their live act at Elstree for an invited crowd of fan club members, EMI employees, and celebrity guests (including Ringo).

The second single from Venus And Mars, "Letting Go", was issued in the UK just prior to the tour, on September 5th. It failed to chart there, but squeaked into the US top 40 after a September 29th release. Meanwhile, Paul's May conversation with Paul Gambaccini was apparently doing the rounds of radio stations as an open-ended interview. One such broadcast was on the Dutch pirate station Radio Mi Amigo International, which aired this version on September 19th (including bits not heard in the Rolling Stone News Service edit).

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Wonder Of It All

With the Beatles' EMI contract due to expire in January, 1976, the company was eager to hang on to as many of the band members as possible. Paul was the first (and only, as it turned out) to re-sign, and the day after it was announced, he issued a new Wings single in the UK. The catchy "Listen To What The Man Said" was a big hit, peaking at #6 in Melody Maker, and giving Paul his fourth US #1 on Billboard's chart.

The album which followed, Venus And Mars, came out on May 27th, 1975 in the UK, and three days later in the US, accompanied by a TV commercial filmed in a billiards room at Holland Park:

In 1974, Paul and Linda had purchased Waterfall, a cottage on a farm in Sussex; they moved in and spent much of May and June rehearsing with Wings at the Ealing Cinema in Rye, in anticipation of an autumn UK tour. 

To promote the LP, Paul chatted with Paul Gambaccini in St. James' Park for a Rolling Stone feature article. Portions of the interview were syndicated on American radio for the Rolling Stone News Service. Venus And Mars would prove to be another best seller, certified gold in the US on June 2nd and topping the US and UK charts by July.

The third single from Ringo's Goodnight Vienna LP was released as in the US only on June 2nd. It was actually an edit of the album's title track and its reprise, and struggled up to #31 in Billboard, Ringo's poorest outing since 1970's "Beaucoups Of Blues".

Around this time, Ringo taped a guest appearance on the TV special The Hoyt Axton Country Western Boogie Woogie Gospel Rock And Roll Show. Axton had written Ringo's most recent hit, "No No Song", and the two joined a typically disparate cast of mid-70's celebrities in a performance of the tune. The special was syndicated across the US and aired on various dates (June 7th in New York City):

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mostly Sunny & Partly Cher

John Lennon's final TV (and public) performance occurred on the evening of April 18th, 1975. At the New York Hilton, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences held a banquet to honor Sir Lew Grade. The head of Associated Television, Grade had also purchased the Northern Songs catalog in 1969, which makes John's agreement to perform at the dinner surprising.

He did get revenge on Grade by having his backing band (BOMF again) don two-faced masks while he sang new vocals over prepared backing tracks. "Slippin' And Slidin'" and "Imagine" both made the final cut of Salute To Sir Lew - The Master Showman, while "Stand By Me" circulates from an audience tape. The show was aired in the US June 13th on ABC and in the UK June 20th on ITV:

With that, John began his retirement from public life, spending the rest of the spring and summer at home in the Dakota with his expectant wife, granting the occasional interview to publications such as Disc. The sole exception was a trip to Philadelphia in May, where he spent the weekend of the 16th through the 18th contributing to a radio fundraiser on WFIL-AM.

The Helping Hand Marathon kicked off around 3PM on the afternoon of the 16th, and while the DJs awaited John's arrival, he was busy taping an appearance in the same building. Larry Kane, who had covered the 1964 and 65 North American Beatle tours, now worked at WFIL's sister TV station, WPVI, as a news anchor. He invited John to fill in for the weatherman, and John's less-than serious forecast was aired on that evening's 6PM newscast:

By that time, John was already downstairs on the air in WFIL's radio studio, reading the names of people who pledged money, and playing requests such as "Be-Bop-A-Lula", "No No Song", and "A Hard Day's Night". DJ "Banana Joe" Montione also surprised John by having Yoko call in from New York to wish him luck.

On the 17th, John spent all afternoon on the air, shuttling between the studio and the parking lot where he posed for photos with fans, signed autographs, and collected donations in person, gathering the money in a pair of socks he had worn the previous day, then auctioning those off for $50! 

By the 18th, John and the other disc jockeys were a bit punch-drunk from the long weekend, but did manage to exceed the goal of $110,000 before midnight. In the last 90 minutes of the marathon, John plays more Beatle songs ("Love Me Do", "The Word", and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds"), makes some requests of his own ("Angel Baby", "Hound Dog", and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On"), and announces that he's off to meet his wife Ringo in Detroit, Iowa!

Friday, November 2, 2012

No Clear Blue Skies

On April 21st, 1975, George went back in to the studio to begin work on a follow-up LP to Dark Horse. Working at A&M Studios in Los Angeles, he spent the next three weeks working with studio musicians from the group Attitudes (who would soon record a single for the Dark Horse label), taping backing tracks for what would become Extra Texture (Read All About It).

During a weekend break in the sessions (most likely April 26th or 27th), George was interviewed by DJ Dave Herman for the syndicated DIR radio special A Conversation With George Harrison. The program, aired in two parts during May, went all the way back to George's childhood, and touched on Slim Whitman, Lonnie Donegan, and grammar school. Pete Ham of Badfinger had committed suicide on the 24th, and George lamented the loss, tying it in with the general air of negativity which led Rolling Stone to eviscerate his recent tour.

In discussing the Dark Horse label and where the ex-Beatles might end up when their EMI contract expires in January 1976, Herman brings up Ringo's new vanity label, Ring O'Records. Ringo had officially launched the label with a press conference on April 4th, and its first release was David Hentschel's Sta*rtling Music.

Ringo and Nancy Andrews flew from London to Los Angeles on April 9th to promote the label, and no doubt hung out with George and Olivia (they attended Nancy's birthday party on May 14th). While in California, Ringo taped a guest appearance on The Smothers Brothers Show, performing his current hit single "No No Song" alongside Tom and Dick. The episode was aired April 28th on NBC:

Ringo had also contributed drums to "More And More", a track from Carly Simon's new album Playing Possum, which was produced by Richard Perry and released April 21st in the US:

PS - Thanks to mg for pointing out Black Cat's upgraded version of John Lennon's Rock 'N' Roll conference call, which can be found here.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Eat A Banana

John continued his international promotion for Rock 'N' Roll during the first week of April, 1975. On the 4th, he had several interviews lined up at the Dakota. First was a French TV crew, who filmed Jean-François Vallée in conversation with John for the series Un Jour Futur. The completed program, aired on Antenne 2 June 28th, had most of John's dialogue obscured by translations, but the clean audio can be obtained from one channel of a stereo copy. The show's undoubted highlight is John's piano rendition of Labelle's current hit "Lady Marmalade".

Once the crew departed, John chatted on the phone with Tommy Vance of Capital Radio in London. Capital had also sent Nicky Horne to New York to obtain a more in-depth interview, and their conversation was aired April 10th as An Evening With John Lennon. Topics include the US government's harassment, life with Yoko, the history of the oldies project, the collapse of Apple, people judging his work, the Bed-In era, and plans for a new album.

April 8th was another busy day for John, beginning at the Record Plant where he filmed two performances for BBC's Old Grey Whistle Test. He sang live vocals over the backing tracks to "Stand By Me" (the current single) and "Slippin' And Slidin'" (scheduled to be the next single), while the band BOMF mimed behind him:

That evening, John journeyed to 30 Rockefeller Center and sat down to film what turned out to be his final TV interview, with Tom Snyder for NBC's Tomorrow. Despite Snyder's somewhat stiff line of questioning, John clearly enjoyed being on a show he watched each night before bed, and the result was one of the more entertaining solo Lennon appearances. The program was initially aired April 29th at 1AM. A rebroadcast on December 9th, 1980 was released on VHS a couple of years later and eventually on DVD in 2008: