Some Time In New York City

Some Time In New York City - John Lennon/Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band/Elephants MemoryRecorded: 15 December 1969, 6 June 1971, 13 February - 8 March 1972
Producers: John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Phil Spector

Released: 15 September 1972 (UK), 12 June 1972 (US)

John Lennon: vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar
Yoko Ono: vocals
Wayne 'Tex' Gabriel: electric guitar
Gary Van Scyoc: bass guitar
Adam Ippolito: piano, organ
John La Bosca: piano
Stan Bronstein: saxophone, flute
Richard Frank Jr: drums, percussion
Jim Keltner: drums
George Harrison: electric guitar
Frank Zappa: vocals, electric guitar
Eric Clapton: electric guitar
Klaus Voormann: bass guitar
Billy Preston: organ
Jim Pons: vocals, bass guitar
Bob Harris: vocals, keyboards
Nicky Hopkins: piano
Delaney Bramlett: electric guitar
Don Preston: Minimoog
Ian Underwood: vocals, woodwind, keyboards
Bobby Keys: saxophone
Jim Price: trumpet
Andy White: drums
Jim Gordon: drums
Keith Moon: drums
Aynsley Dunbar: drums
Bonnie Bramlett: percussion
Mark Volman: vocals
Howard Kaylan: vocals

Sometime In New York City (Remastered) - Elephant's Memory, John Lennon, The Invisible Strings, The Plastic Ono Band & Yoko Ono

Woman Is The Nigger Of The World
Sisters, O Sisters
Attica State
Born In A Prison
New York City
Sunday Bloody Sunday
The Luck Of The Irish
John Sinclair
We're All Water

Cold Turkey
Don't Worry Kyoko
Well (Baby Please Don't Go)

Some Time In New York City, the follow-up to John Lennon's Imagine, was inspired by radical left-wing politics of the early 1970s. A critical and commercial failure, it featured two discs containing 10 studio songs and six live performances.

The album was borne of the vitality Lennon felt after moving to New York City. He had previously spoken of his love of the city and of America in interviews, and finally moved there with Yoko Ono in September 1971.

Well nobody came to bug us, hustle us or shove us
So we decided to make it our home
If the Man wants to shove us out we gonna jump and shout
The Statue of Liberty said, 'Come!'
New York City
Some Time In New York City

New York rejuvenated Lennon, both personally and musically, and he swiftly wrote a number of songs about his experiences. They were initially acoustic guitar-based, but took on a more traditional rock 'n' roll sound once studio work began.

America is where it's at. You know, I should have been born in New York, man. I should have been born in the Village! That's where I belong! Why wasn't I born there? Like Paris was in the eighteenth century or whatever it was, London I don't think has ever been it. It might have been literary-wise when Wilde and Shaw and all them were there. New York was it! I regret profoundly not being American and not being born in Greenwich Village. That's where I should have been. But it never works that way. Everybody heads towards the centre, that's why I'm here now. I'm here just to breathe it. It might be dying, or there might be a lot of dirt in the air, but this is where it's happening.
John Lennon, 1970
Lennon Remembers, Jann S Wenner

Lennon had become interested in political issues while touring with The Beatles in the mid 1960s. At first unsure of whether to speak out against the Vietnam War, and discouraged from doing so, it wasn't until 1968's Revolution that social commentary began to take centre stage in his music.

As a solo artist Lennon used his songwriting increasingly as a way to chart what was occurring in his life, whether personal or political. Working Class Hero and Power To The People were key songs of his in the early 1970s, and he and Yoko Ono had spoken out in support of British Black Power leader Michael X, convicted A6 murderer James Hanratty, and the editors of Oz magazine.

Although he encountered resistance from Nixon's administration, Lennon found a New York ally in political activists Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. He embraced the counterculture movement in New York, aligning himself with the politics of the New Left and their various causes and campaigns.

5 responses on “Some Time In New York City

  1. Tweeze

    If you don’t dwell too much on the politics, even if much of it had validity at the time, or get too bogged down on the really uncharacteristic-for-Lennon lame lyrics, the material here is quite good. “New York City” rocks with the best. What a great riff! “WITNOTW” is actaully quite awesome, especially the ending – ‘We make her paint her face and dance’. A bit frightening actually. “Attica State” is sonically similar to “Gimme Some Truth” and at least as good musically. I found this to be a strong album actually but the political tide in the country then was geared to disparage John – as his paranoid rants were eventually proven to be true. Today, this album has no relevance and so most can’t or won’t give it a chance. John took a bold move issuing this and probably thought he’d be opening minds with this. Instead, they clamped shut basically because the Establishment told them to. After Kent State and Attica, people were quick to cow.

  2. GK

    Following Imagine, John and Yoko had gone to live in New York City, any interviews/ comments in the uk music papers were exciting, as at the time, it felt as they were along way from home. This album was delayed in the UK, the reviews were awful, yet there was for me defining moments.
    New York City blasted as one of JL’s finest rock moments, a diary of their time in NYC. “Woman is the Nigger of the World” incredibly brave, lyrics and singing superb! John Sinclair great slide guitar and singing.
    “The Luck of the Irish” was superb, lyrically biased, but after the shootings in Derry, someone (brave) had to say something. “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, is not remembered in the same way as the U2 track, the lyrics are hard, but it does bite as a track.
    The “Live Jam” cd has the heaviest version of “Cold Turkey” you will ever hear plus the excellent ” Well Baby Please Dont Go”, with the opener “something I used to play at the Cavern !”
    So, what about the rest? Too much Yoko for popular opinion (although some of the songs are better than given credit for) too many slogans, sure. The package is of its time, the vinyl better than the modern cd, but interesting! Not for the casual fan, but if you want an album from 1972 that speaks (and sings) from the heart. try it!

  3. Graham Paterson

    Whilst this is an album that gets a hard time from critics, it has its share of outstanding songs. It also has great significance because of the hard time the Nixon administration were giving him and Yoko. NewYork City is a great rocker and I aiso have alot of time for Woman Is The Nigger Of The World, Sunday Bloody Sunday, The Luck Of The Irish and John Sinclair.Maybe it is my Irish ancestry on my mothers side of the family influencing me; but I think Lennons response to the Bloody Sunday massacre great. Put those two along with Paul McCartneys single at the time Give Ireland Back To The Irish and they are fascinating listening.

  4. Gregory

    The album has great music on it and some really good songs. It’s underrated certainly not his best but no where near as bad as some make it out to be. Woman is the nigger of the world and New York City are two of his best.

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