Menlove Ave

Menlove Ave album artwork - John LennonRecorded: August 1973; July-August 1974
Producers: John Lennon, Phil Spector

Released: 3 November 1986 (UK), 27 October 1986 (US)

John Lennon: vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano
David Spinozza, Jesse Ed Davis, Steve Cropper, Jose Feliciano, Art Munson, William Perry, Louis Shelton, Dale Anderson, Larry Carlton, David Cohen: guitar
Phil Spector: guitar, piano
Ken Ascher, Mac Rebennack, Leon Russell, Michael Omartian: keyboards
Nino Tempo: saxophone, keyboards
Klaus Voormann, Gordon Edwards, Bob Glaub, Thomas Hensley, Ray Neapolitan: bass guitar
William Perkins, Robert Hardaway: woodwind
Anthony Terran: trumpet
Jeff Barry, Andy Thomas, Michael Wofford, Michael Lang, Barry Mann, Michael Melvoin: piano
Bobby Keys, Jim Horn, Plas Johnson, Ronald Langinger, Donald Menza, Gene Cipriano: saxophone
Joseph Kelson: horn
Julian Matlock: clarinet
Conte Candoli, Chuck Findley: trumpet
Jim Keltner, Hal Blaine, Frank Capp, Jim Gordon: drums
Gary Coleman, Alan Estes, Steve Forman, Terry Gibbs: percussion

Here We Go Again
Rock And Roll People
Angel Baby
Since My Baby Left Me
To Know Her Is To Love Her
Steel And Glass
Old Dirt Road
Nobody Loves You (When You're Down And Out)
Bless You

Released in 1986, Menlove Ave was a posthumous collection of outtakes from the early 1970s recorded by John Lennon.

It was the second posthumous long player of his unfinished recordings, following Milk And Honey two years earlier. The release of Menlove Ave was supervised by Yoko Ono, although she played no part in its recording. The couple had split during the creation of Mind Games in 1973, and these songs were made in the midst of Lennon's infamous Lost Weekend.

The music was divided in two halves. The first featured unused recordings from the Phil Spector-produced sessions for Rock 'N' Roll, taped in Los Angeles in 1973, as well as one song, Rock And Roll People, produced by Lennon during the Mind Games earlier that year.

The opening song, Here We Go Again, is the only published work credited to both Lennon and Spector. As an original composition it would not have been intended for Rock 'N' Roll, so its purpose remains a mystery. The pair also cut a version of Spector's first hit, To Know Him Is To Love Him, slowed down and sang by Lennon as a plea to Ono.

Another song, Since My Baby Left Me, had a 'pending' songwriter credit. It was actually a cover version of Arthur Crudup's 1940s song My Baby Left Me, popularised by Elvis Presley in 1956.

The second half of the album contained rehearsals recorded in July 1974 in New York's Record Plant East, for Walls And Bridges. The stripped-back recordings and melancholy moods often stand in stark contrast to the final versions on that album, revealing the inner darkness that often enveloped Lennon during the Lost Weekend.

Cover artwork

The cover of Menlove Ave featured illustrations of Lennon by Andy Warhol, created just months before Lennon's death. Lennon admired Warhol's methods, noting wryly: "Andy's way is rather nice. He doesn't do anything – just signs it."

Menlove Ave was named after the street in which Lennon grew up. Mendips, the home at 251 Menlove Avenue which he shared with his aunt Mimi and uncle George, is today a tourist attraction owned by the National Trust. In the sleeve notes for the album, Ono explained why she chose it as a title.

As a child, John was brought up by Aunt Mimi and Uncle George in their home on Menlove Avenue in Liverpool. In 1956 when John was 16, Elvis Presley happened as a world-wide phenomenon. It changed John's life. John's American rock roots, Elvis, Fats Domino, and Phil Spector are evident in these tracks. But what I hear in John's voice are the other roots of the boy who grew up in Liverpool, listening to Greensleeves, BBC Radio and Tessie O'Shea.
Yoko Ono Lennon
Menlove Ave

The release

Rock And Roll People was issued as a promotional single to coincide with the release, but was given little airplay. It was perhaps an ill-fitting choice; Angel Baby or Here We Go Again would have garnered more attention. No commercial singles were released from the album, however.

Released in time for the Christmas 1986 market, Menlove Ave fared poorly. Given little promotion, it failed to chart in the United Kingdom, and peaked at 127 in the United States. This made it Lennon's least successful album at the time.

2 responses on “Menlove Ave

  1. Graham Paterson

    I only got a vinyl copy of this album four days ago. I love” Menlove Avenue.” My copies of” Walls and Bridges ” and ” Rock n Roll ” I got back in the early 80’s. I first heard” To Know Her Is To Love Her “,” Angel Baby” and ” Since My Baby Left Me ” just over 10 years ago on the reissued CD of” Rock n Roll “. I particularly loved the latter two songs “Rock n Roll People ” and ” Here We Go Again ” I had never heard before. So it was a real treat to hear these songs.” Here We Go Again” that John Lennon wrote with Phil Spector is a brilliant song, it has a great feel to it and highlights Lennon’s great vocals.” Walls and Bridges” has long been one of my favorite albums and the differing versions of the songs from this album on side two are wonderful. I agree with the above summation that the stripped back versions on this contrast with the final ones that were originally released. They highlight the” melancholy moods ” and “inner darkness ” as you put it that often ” enveloped ” him in the ” Lost Weekend ” period. John Lennon’s brilliant vocals add to this so much. ” Steel and Glass “, ” Scared ” and ” Nobody Loves You When You’re Down and Out ” are even more haunting ” stripped back “. ” Old Dirt Road ” that he penned with Harry Nilsson is beautiful. ” Nobody Loves You When You Are Down and Out ” has an ” alternative ” version on the reissued ” Walls and Bridges ” CD that I got in 2005, that could be the same as this. ” Menlove Avenue ” is great and now sits among my much loved collection.

  2. GuineaPigDan

    I found a CD copy of the album in April. Pretty glad to have found one of Lennon’s rarer albums. Walls and Bridges is one of my favorite Lennon albums so the outtakes on the second half is a treat to listen to.

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