Yoko Ono, Radio City Music Hall and EMI Records are all finding their own ways of celebrating the late Beatle’s 70th birthday, coming up on Oct. 9.
Today, Lennon’s widow has announced that she’ll be re-lighting the Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland. A ray of light is shot into the night from the island of Viðey, “to join together and let the power of light and prayer become a collective expression of the desire for peace and harmony on our planet.” Her relaunched Plastic Ono Band will perform after the ceremony.
Last year, Yoko Ono released an album under the Plastic Ono Band moniker, dubbing it “Between My Head and the Sky,” and featuring a new lineup comprised, too, of Lennon’s son Sean, Japan pop-rock experimenter Cornelius, Yuka Honda, among others. The original members — Eric Clapton, Klaus Voormann and Jim Keltner — performed (sans Ringo Starr) together earlier this year at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, a reunion that also boasted guests like Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Bette Midler, the Scissor Sisters, Paul Simon and Ween’s Gene Ween. There is no word yet who will be performing at the Iceland event.
Meanwhile, Ono has been working in conjunction with Lennon and the Beatles’ label EMI to release and re-release a number of Lennon-centered albums, in an initiative called the “Gimme Some Truth” campaign.
Eight of the songwriter’s post-Beatles albums will be remastered from the original mixes and re-released on Oct. 9.”John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band” (1970), “Imagine” (1971), “Some Time In New York City” (1972), “Mind Games” (1973), “Walls and Bridges” (1974), “Rock ‘n” Roll” (1975), “Double Fantasy” (1980) and “Milk and Honey” (1984) will all be repackaged with digisleeves, featuring the original artwork and new liner notes.
“Double Fantasy” is also getting a “Stripped Down” version, with Yoko Ono and Jack Douglas co-producing a rawer edition of the album. There will be four albums of “Gimme Some Truth” themed compilations, and a two-volume “Power To The People: The Hits.” And then there’s “The John Lennon Signature Box,” a “deluxe 11-CD and digital collection of the eight remastered albums, a disc of rare and previously unreleased recordings, and an EP of Lennon”s non-album singles.”
Meanwhile, Radio City Music Hall wants in on the celebration, so they’ve announced an evening with the Fab Faux, a renowned five-man Beatles cover band, commissioned to perform two sets of Lennon-penned songs on Sept. 25. The evening promises special guests and “a diverse set list, ranging from possible selections including Lennon”s “Instant Karma” to “Jealous Guy” to ‘Give Peace A Chance,” to The Beatles” “Girl” and “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me & My Monkey.” A portion of proceeds will benefit Lennon and Ono”s Spirit Foundation non-profit. Tickets are on sale now.
Sundance Film Festival selection “Nowhere Boy,” which chronicles the early musical years of John Lennon, his family and meeting Paul McCartney, heads to select theaters on Oct. 8. Click here for the trailer and more information.