The single was to help with the legal costs incurred by the defendants in the Oz magazine obscenity trial. Lennon had written two songs for the cause, and sang on ‘Do The Oz’, accompanied by Yoko Ono.
‘Do The Oz’ was a dark, riff-driven recording, given an echo-laden Phil Spector production and featuring lyrics that referenced the childhood dance the Hokey Cokey: “Pull your left wing in, and put your right wing out/Do the Oz, baby/Spread it all about”.
John and I actually once were thinking, ‘Why don’t we create a dance, you know, a dance movement, and put the instructions of how to do this new dance on the back of an album.’ And he started to roll on the floor, trying to find a unique kind of action. But it just didn’t happen. It was a bit difficult.
In the studio
The ‘God Save Oz’ single was recorded at Ascot Sound Studios, Lennon’s home recording facility at Tittenhurst Park in Ascot, England.
The session took place on 22 May 1971, using several of the musicians who would appear on Imagine later that week.
‘God Save Oz’ was issued by Apple in July 1971, under the Elastic Oz Band name.
The single failed to chart in either the UK or US. Both ‘God Save Oz’ and ‘Do The Oz’ were included on the 1998 box set John Lennon Anthology.
Outtakes and the final version of ‘Do The Oz’ were also included in the 2018 box set Imagine: The Ultimate Collection.