This week for #askNat I’m bringing a couple of inquiries to the table. The first is from Twitter reader Ric335 who sent me this Tweet back in October:
Looking for info on John (Lennon) and Yoko (Ono)’s world tour plans right after “Double Fantasy” was released. Thanks!
Good one Ric! John Lennon and Yoko Ono had in fact planned on a world tour for 1981 before John’s tragic assassination in December 1980. As most of us realize Double Fantasy was a comeback album for John who for the previous five years had chosen to shut out the music business entirely while staying home to care for his son Sean. But by the second half of 1980 he was set to resume his career. During September of that year around the time he was finishing up the recording of Double Fantasy at New York City’s Hit Factory, John and Yoko granted an interview to David Sheff for Playboy magazine. David asked John if he would consider touring again. John said:
“I wouldn’t have believed it a month ago. But then I thought, ‘What the hell, why not? If it’s enjoyable and if it doesn’t become something that one doesn’t want to do, ’cause it’s nice to get up and sing sometimes, like it’s nice to make music. I don’t want to get mixed up in deals and business and spin-offs and pressures, though, because I don’t need that anymore. Once was enough. But sure, I’d like to get up on stage with Yoko and a good band and play these songs, and really do ’em, because the band’s hot as shit. They just came off the album and they were all good — we’ve got the good feeling among ourselves. So it would be great. I’m just a little nervous about all that goes on around it. But I think we can probably handle it a bit better this time.”
After his well known U.S. immigration difficulties in the early-mid 70′s, John Lennon had been awarded a green card in 1976 which would allow him to organize a full fledged world tour without any problems over egress issues. Fred Seamon, a personal assistant to the Lennons told the press on October 9th, 1980 (John’s 40th birthday) that “next spring” John and Yoko will be touring Japan, Europe and the United States. Some sources close to the Lennons claim that John was also considering the addition of South Africa, Australia and Canada to the tour schedule.
Of course the newer material from Double Fantasy (“(Just Like) Starting Over,” “Woman,” and “Watching The Wheels’) would be included in the setlist and possibly others that are now on the posthumous Milk And Honey album (such as “Nobody Told Me”).
Double Fantasy producer Jack Douglas, who also worked as a sound engineer on John’s Imagine album, claimed in an interview that John pictured a big production tour with new arrangements of Beatles songs he felt he never got right. Yoko Ono told writer Castor Dekker that John wanted to perform “I Want To Hold Your Hand” on stage again. Of course, solo classics such as “Imagine,” “Instant Karma,” “Cold Turkey” and “Give Peace A Chance” would likely be heard along with some of John’s early rock and roll favorites like “Johnny B. Goode” or “Rip It Up.”
Earl Slick, a guitarist from the Double Fantasy sessions, who had also played on David Bowie’s “Fame” (co-written by Bowie and Lennon) in 1975, confirmed recently that John was talking more and more about touring during the sessions in August and September of 1980. Earl explained that the idea was to finish up the recording of the next album in January 1981 (what ended up on Milk And Honey) and once that was in the can, they’d begin the tour. By September, in preparation, John had already spoken with all of the primary musicians that worked on Double Fantasy about their availability after the sessions were over.
There were also plans to broadcast live, via satellite, a Madison Square Garden show from the tour to television, and possibly cinemas, around the world.
Because of all of the preparations, plans and recording going on in New York, John decided to turn down an invitation to come out to Hawaii and film an appearance and performance on the Mike Douglas Show in December of 1980. He and Yoko had co-hosted the show with Mike previously in February 1972. Ironically that same month someone from the same state came to New York to see him. Had he gone to the Mike Douglas filming in Hawaii, John would likely still be with us today. I invite you to be thinking good thoughts of John this Saturday, December 8th.
Have something to say? Please feel free to add to this in the comments section below.
Secondly I had a question from Ian Delaunay in Devon, U.K. who is sounding a little “testy” on his question:
Why is Ringo’s name in smaller print on your home page? (Hint: There is no good reason for this- it’s just wrong!)
Well Devon, it sounds like you are referring to the “tag cloud” that is located in the bottom section of the right sidebar. This gives a listing of the most frequently used “tags” (i.e. frequently used subject-oriented proper nouns) on my site. This is not anything that I type up, nor does it have anything to do with how significant I feel a particular term or group member of The Beatles actually is. In short, whatever proper nouns appear most frequently that I use as tags, show up, and the more frequently – the larger the font. There are many tags that don’t even get in the cloud because they are not used frequently enough. The ones that do appear at all are used very frequently (like “Ringo Starr”). Since Ringo has not composed as many songs, or performed as many lead vocals, or have as big of a solo catalog, or as many television appearances, or whatever, as say, Paul McCartney, his tag is not used in the site quite as frequently. Keep in mind that TheBeatlesRarity.com covers all of the album releases, events, etc. as they happen and therefore Ringo’s font in the cloud tag is smaller than Paul’s. I only use the Ringo-Paul analogy as an example here to illustrate my point. So whenever Ringo starts putting out more albums or making more television appearances than Paul or have more album releases than The Beatles have had lately, then his name will be bigger because I will be covering this on the site. It’s all based on frequency of word usage only. Many of you already know this but for those that didn’t, the explanation is now in print. Thanks, Ian for a great question.
Have something to add? Please feel free to add to this in the comments section below. Thanks again, everyone for reading this week’s #askNat double feature!
Thank you to everyone who has sent in their questions! Keep #askNat going by sending your questions to me in any of the following ways:
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Beatles-related music makes great gifts for the holidays. Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, some music related to this post:
1) Double Fantasy – remaster of original 1980 LP by John & Yoko, including “(Just Like Starting Over,” “Woman” and “Watching The Wheels.”
2) Double Fantasy Stripped Down [New Mix + Original Recording Remastered] – 2010 stripped down version of 1980 Double Fantasy LP by John & Yoko, including “(Just Like Starting Over,” “Woman” and “Watching The Wheels.”
3) Milk And Honey – 2010 remaster of original 1984 LP by John Lennon & Yoko Ono (some of their last recordings together) including “Nobody Told Me.”