Plastic Ono Band debut

On September 12th, 1969, John Lennon received a phone call inviting himself and Yoko Ono to appear at the Rock and Roll Revival festival in Toronto. The Beatles had finished touring in 1966 and there was no real desire to perform live as a group, so Lennon gathered together Eric Clapton, Klaus Voormann and Alan White and formed the Plastic Ono Band. The hastily assembled group left for Toronto the following day on September 13th.

At this point John had already decided he was finished with The Beatles and according to an interview in 1970 he told Clapton and others that it was over.

"We got this phone call on a Friday night that there was a rock'n'roll revival show in Toronto with a 100,000 audience, or whatever it was, and that Chuck was going to be there and Jerry Lee and all the great rockers that were still living, and Bo Diddley, and supposedly The Doors were top of the bill. They were inviting us as king and queen to preside over it, not play – but I didn't hear that bit. I said, 'Just give me time to get a band together,' and we went the next morning" - John Lennon
"We were in Apple and I knew before I went to Toronto, I told Allen [Klein] I was leaving. I told Eric Clapton and Klaus that I was leaving and I'd like to probably use them as a group. I hadn't decided how to do it, to have a permanent new group or what. And then later on I thought, 'Fuck it, I'm not going to get stuck with another set of people, whoever they are.' So I announced it to myself and to the people around me on the way to Toronto the few days before. On the plane Allen came with me, and I told him, It's over." - John Lennon

Lennon was initially very excited about performing with his new group, particularly because Chuck Berry was due to appear at the festival along with Bo Diddley and Gene Vincent. But he began to regret his decision and became quite paranoid about performing. When interviewed by Rolling Stone in 1970 Lennon claimed he was throwing up backstage he was so nervous.  

Despite the shaky start John got it together and the band performed some old rock and roll standards as well as contemporary songs written by John and Yoko. Their performance was later released as an album Live Peace in Toronto on December 12th, 1969.

Track listing

Side one

  1. "Blue Suede Shoes" (Carl Perkins) – 3:50
  2. "Money (That's What I Want)" (Janie Bradford, Berry Gordy) – 3:25
  3. "Dizzy, Miss Lizzy" (Larry Williams) – 3:24
  4. "Yer Blues" (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – 4:12
  5. "Cold Turkey" (Lennon) – 3:34
  6. "Give Peace a Chance" (Lennon, McCartney) – 3:41

Side two

  1. "Don't Worry Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow)" (Yoko Ono) – 4:48
  2. "John John (Let's Hope for Peace)" (Ono) – 12:38
 John Lennon, 1969.

John Lennon, 1969.

 Live Peace in Toronto album cover, 1969.

Live Peace in Toronto album cover, 1969.

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