US single release: Power To The People by John Lennon

John Lennon’s single ‘Power To The People’ was released in the USA on 22 March 1971.

The single was issued 10 days after its UK counterpart, and reached number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.

‘Power To The People’ had Yoko Ono’s ‘Touch Me’ on the b-side. It was taken from the Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band album, and featured Lennon, Klaus Voormann, and Ringo Starr as the backing band.

The UK b-side, meanwhile, was Ono’s song ‘Open Your Box’, the lyrics of which were judged to be “distasteful” by Philip Brodie, EMI’s managing director.

The offending lines included the words: “Open your box, open your legs, open your world, open, open, open”. Rather than re-record them, the song was remixed and echo applied to hide the meaning.

This song has been banned and I believe it is because I am a woman. One of the reasons is because the word ‘box’ has many different meanings, especially in America, where it refers to a certain part of a woman’s body. If a man makes a statement like that, he can easily get away with it. I think the fact that it was a woman supposedly making an obscene statement really shocked people.
Yoko Ono

Lennon put it more succinctly: “I don’t know what the hell ‘box’ means in America. Apparently it means crotch, or whatever.”

Last updated: 9 July 2021
UK single release: Power To The People by John Lennon
US album release: Ram by Paul and Linda McCartney
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