Although home "sell-through" video cassettes began to appear as early
as the mid 1970's, no solo Lennon or Beatles home-video appears to have
been officially released during John's lifetime. The first commercially
available Beatles video in the UK was The Compleat Beatles documentary
issued by MGM/UA in October 1982, which was originally on sale for
a whopping £39.95 (about 8 times the price of a regular Beatles album!)
but such high prices were not uncommon for home-video's in the early 1980's
as most were primarily aimed at the rental market. The long running format
war did little to encourage customer confidence in home-video either, though
by 1984 it had come down to a choice of two: VHS or Betamax. Sadly the
noticeably inferior VHS won out in the end but not before a handful of
Lennon video's were issued on Betamax. The first bona-fide UK solo Lennon
home-video did not materialize until the release of Imagine in 1985,
a seemingly late foray into the market for John, yet all but one of the
Beatles films were still awaiting release in the UK at the time.
Beatle fans in the US had been better served, but importing US videotapes
directly into Britain was not an option as NTSC playback was incompatable
with British equipment (and vice-versa)*. Such cross-border problems need
not have affected DVD's but a regional coding system was insisted upon,
however this annoying obstacle was more easily overcome.
In the U.S and Japan, many 1980's/'90's home-video titles were also on issued on 'LaserDisc' (double sided 12 inch discs with an analogue video signal), but this format struggled to make much of an impact in Europe. DVD's first began to appear around 1997 and quickly caught on at the turn of the millennium on both sides of the Atlantic, not least due to the addition of bonus material and commentaries.
The following list of official Lennon/Ono Home-Video's and DVD's are presented in order of release. Where possible I have used scans of the original version (whether it be American or British in origin). See our Filmography and John Lennon on Television pages for full details of projects originally produced during the 1960's & 1970's. John and Yoko also made a number of guest appearances in films that have since been made available on Video/DVD, details of these less obvious Lennon/Ono releases are dealt with in an appendix at the foot of this page.
*British/European Video Recorders with the added facility of NTSC playback capability would not become widely available (and affordable) until the mid-late 1990's.
*It was re-issued in the US in 1984 (the promotional poster is illustrated left, this artwork was apparently similar to the original sleeve design with a subtle change to the colour scheme), Baker & Taylor video also issued a US version at some point. Please E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you are able to shed any further light on these American tapes.
The 9th December 1980 re-broadcast version of "The Tomorrow Show" (with the additional Lisa Robinson and Jack Douglas interviews) was included on The Tomorrow show with Tom Snyder: John, Paul, Tom and Ringo, this being a 2 DVD set released by Shout! Factoryon 1st April 2008 (region 1 NTSC, region 0 PAL). The set also included a 1979 interview with Paul McCartney & Wings and a 1981 chat with Ringo Starr, the cover design was a pastiche of the "Yellow Submarine" animation film.
A long delayed DVD was eventually made available in 2004* (Region 1) and 7th February 2005 (Region 2), these featured a similar cover design to the 2000 American VHS, sadly there was no DVD bonus material.
*Amazon gives a date of 08/Sep/2002 but this may well have been one of the planned release dates that came and went without anything materializing.
* The film had only been shown in a handful of selected
British cinema clubs in 1973/74.
**The US release was apparently delayed until the following year. It also appears to have been re-issued in 1989 with an alternate sleeve featuring the album cover, this is also how the LaserDisc appeared upon its' release that same year.
**The Tracklisting for the video is as follows:
Imagine, Crippled Inside, Jealous Guy, Don't Count The Waves (this track was from Yoko's Fly album), It's So Hard, Mrs. Lennon (from Yoko's Fly album), I Don't Wanna Be A Soldier Mama, Give Me Some Truth (this number is preceded by a snatch of Power To The People), Oh My Love, How Do You Sleep?, How?, Oh Yoko! and John And Yoko (the final number is a re-working of the Wedding Album track and is played over the credits). Full details of the original film can be found in our Filmography.
*The original film was not shown in Britian, only Yoko's
performance of Move On Fast
was seen on British TV in the 1970's
when it was broadcast by BBC2's late night Rock programme
The Old Grey
on 30th January 1973 in order to promote her album
**The tracklisting for the video is as follows:
Power To The People (merely a part of the record played over the PA during the introduction, the video used the afternoon show intro), New York City (from the afternoon show), It's So Hard (afternoon), Woman Is The Nigger Of The World (afternoon), Sisters, O Sisters (Yoko vocal, evening), Well, Well, Well (afternoon), Born In A Prison (Yoko lead vocal, afternoon), Instant Karma! (afternoon), Mother (afternoon), Come Together (afternoon), Imagine (afternoon), Cold Turkey (evening), Hound Dog (evening) and Give Peace A Chance (this was only performed at the end of the evening concert). John's introductions were also a mixture from the afternoon and evening concerts, many of which did not match the choice for the actual performance. Yoko also performed four other songs that were not included on the video, these were Move On Fast (afternoon & evening), We're All Water (afternoon & evening), Open Your Box (afternoon & evening) and Don't Worry Kyoko (afternoon show only).
*The BBC would probably not have been interested in showing the film as they had produced their own docudrama to commemorate the 5th anniversary of John's passing, a more studious 64 minute affair entitled A Journey in the Life with Bernard Hill playing John. Yoko was provided with a copy which she and Sean watched at the Dakota before giving an interview to the BBC which was broadcast immediately after A Journey in the Life on Friday 5th December 1985.
*Tracklisting for the Plastic Ono
Band set is as follows:
Blue Suede Shoes, Money, Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Yer Blues, Cold Turkey, Give Peace A Chance, Don't Worry Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking For Her Hand In The Snow) and John John (Let's Hope For Peace).
**Bo Diddley is seen performing Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis is shown doing Hound Dog, the Chuck Berry number is Johnny B. Goode and Little Richard performs Lucille.
An American region free NTSC DVD version with a new cover was issued on 20th May 1998 by Pioneer Artists (PA-11667), the 1988 Yoko interview was included as an extra. It was re-issued as a region 1 only version with another change of cover on 29th January 2002. A region 2 PAL version was released by Direct Video Distribution Ltd on 18th November 2002 (this had the same cover as the region 1 version), Slam Dunk then re-issued a region 2 disc with a new cover on 28th August 2006.
With demand for a DVD release gathering pace, a two disc region 2 widescreen DVD was eventually issued on 14th November 2005*, the special features included a John Lennon Trivia Track (which doesn't appear to do anything, at least on my copy), A Tribute To John Lennon: The Man The Music The Memories (this was a new 14 minute documentary featuring interviews with the filmmakers and Yoko Ono), John Lennon: Truth Be Told (6 minutes of the 1971 Women's Hour interview that had already been included in its' entirity on an earlier Lennon DVD release), a live acoustic performance of Imagine (17th December 1971 at the Apollo in NYC), "Island House" (outtakes from the 1971 Imagine film which shows John & Yoko choosing a summer house for the island on the lake of their Tittenhurst Park estate, followed by scenes of it being delivered and erected), The Headmaster Looks Back (an interview with Ernest Pobjoy, John's Quarry Bank School Headmaster) and a scene selection menu.
* The Region 1 NTSC DVD version was delayed until December
2005. Those of you with multi region players are advised to seek out the
Region 1 version as the Region 2 main feature disc suffers a very noticeable
pitch problem (it runs far too fast, to the point of becoming unwatchable),
this was blamed on the NTSC to PAL transfer.
*The UK TV broadcast was shared between ITV and Channel
Four, with ITV showing the first half and Channel Four the remainder.
**Those included on the 5th May 1990 UK broadcast were Al Green, Cyndi Lauper, Dave Edmunds, Joe Cocker, Hall & Oates, Terence Trent D'Arby, Kylie Minogue, Lou Reed, Dave Stewart (not in Liverpool but performing via a satellite link up from LA and seen on the big screens by the crowd), Wet Wet Wet, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Deacon Blue, Natalie Cole, Lou Gramm, Justin Hayward & John Lodge, Ray Charles (pre-taped video performance), Lenny Kravitz, Roberta Flack, Randy Travis, The Christians, Ringo Starr (pre-taped video performance), Natalie Cole, Paul McCartney (pre-taped video performance) and finally Yoko & Sean singing Give Peace a Chance with all the acts back on stage to join in.
***The highlights show (with the addition of new material) was broadcast to the UK by 'Power Station' (an obscure satellite channel) on 8th December 1990.
****The full tracklisting for the highlights show/video was as follows (*Tracks marked with an asterix were performed in Liverpool on May 5th 1990):
Elton John Imagine, Natalie Cole Ticket To Ride*, Wet Wet Wet I Feel Fine*, Lou Gramm Eight Days A Week*, Terence Trent D'Arby You've Got To Hide Your Love Away*, Paul McCartney P.S. Love Me Do, Billy Joel Back In The USSR, Randy Travis Nowhere Man*, Joe Cocker Isolation*, Lenny Kravitz Cold Turkey*, Dave Edmunds The Ballad Of John And Yoko*, Hall & Oates Don't Let Me Down*, Al Green Power To The People*, Michael Jackson Come Together, Cyndi Lauper Working Class Hero*, David Bowie Fame, John Lennon Give Peace A Chance and Imagine, Ringo Starr I Call Your Name, U2 Help!, Kylie Minogue Help!*, Roy Orbison Help!, Ray Charles Let It Be, Sean Lennon Dear Prudence.
* The tracklisting for The John Lennon Video Collection
was as follows:
Give Peace a Chance (original 1969 promo), Cold Turkey (original 1969 promo), Instant Karma! (1970 'Top of the Pops' performance version one with Yoko holding cue cards), Power To The People (John did not produce a promo or appear on TV to promote this single in 1971 and so a new video was created mixing footage of John and Yoko from later that year with somewhat jarring modern day footage of political protest and an annoying marquee of the title, perhaps a montage of late 1960's/early 1970's protests/riots would have yielded better results), Happy Xmas (War is Over) (a promo for this was apparently screened by the BBC in December 1972 but it has since been wiped, for the purpose of this home-video the producers returned to Harlem to capture footage of a modern day choir miming to the song), Mind Games (a TV ad for the Mind Games album featuring John dancing with a man impersonating Her Majesty the Queen was produced in 1973, but here we have to make do with a montage of John & Yoko material from before and after the time of its' original release), Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (John was filmed by the BBC wandering around New York in November 1974 to promote his latest single, that footage should have been used here, but for some inexplicable reason the producers decided to comission an animation of John's drawings coupled with unrelated footage from the Imagine film), #9 Dream (again, unrelated footage from the pre-lost weeked era was utilised for this track). Stand By Me, Slippin' And Slidin' (two songs as originally performed for the BBC's late night Rock show The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1975), Imagine (pedantically placed after the Rock 'N' Roll tracks owing to its belated British single release in late 1975, but at least they used the original 1971 film sequence), (Just Like) Starting Over (No promo for this song was seen in 1980 but this new 1992 video worked well - in that it used contemporary footage which could have been screened at time), Woman (original 1981 video), Nobody Told Me (original 1984 video), Borrowed Time (original 1984 video), I'm Stepping Out (original 1984 video), Jealous Guy (this song was released as a single in Britain in 1985 with a decent video making use of 1971 footage to promote the Imagine home-video which was released at the same time, but the 1988 American 'Imagine:John Lennon' version was used here which shows biopic 'flashbacks' intercut with John recording the song in his home studio), Grow Old With Me(original 1984 video, all of the 1984 video's were screened in the USA on an MTV special that year entitled Milk And Honey) and Imagine (live) (this was the 1975 Lew Grade Tribute show performance). Watching the Wheels is played over the closing credits. John & Yoko made a number of TV appearances in 1972 performing songs from Some Time in New York City, regrettably none of these were included.
**The catalogue number was changed to 4910513 once the
initial stocks (shrink wrapped with the free CD) had been exhausted.
Rhino appear to have prepared a DVD box set at some point, but it may have been withdrawn.
This Is Not Here was the main feature on a DVD entitled Original Yoko Ono scheduled for release by Art Media K.Y in Japan in late 2006 (said to be region free) featuring a black & white side profile photo of Yoko on the cover. Also included on the disc are "Early Works Yoko Ono" (this was a gallery, mostly of the works exhibited at the Syracuse exhibition) and "An extra film" (billed as 'a controversial film with John Lennon and Yoko Ono on Pop and Avant-Garde'). The package also included a brochure with a Yoko Ono interview by Takahiko Iimura from 1971.
*The UK TV premiere was originally
scheduled for 11:30pm on the night of Sunday 13th February 2000 but was
delayed until 00:58am due to Snooker coverage over running. The US TV premiere
(on Bravo) was held back until 17th April 2000.
**The American NTSC version is distinguished by a full height reproduction of the cover photo (The EU PAL DVD has a white panel as illustrated).
***An edit of the bonus interview was originally included in an edition of BBC Radio 2's Women's Hour which was broadcast on Tuesday 9th November 1971, 2:01-2:59pm.
****The tracklisting for the DVD is as follows: 1. Imagine (John demonstrating the song to the other musicians / recording a take / discussing it with Phil Spector and Yoko), 2. Crippled Inside (John sings a snatch of this to Tariq Ali / the regular version played to a montage of clips and photo's from the summer of 1971), 3. Oh Yoko! (attempting an overdub vocal with Phil Spector and then John getting angry with the tape engineer who cannot find the correct verse / John and Yoko in the garden trying to find oneanother in the fog / John doing a full frontal flash to camera), 4. Jealous Guy (clip from the Women's Hour interview / John recording his vocal track in the studio / scenes from the summer 1971 holiday in Japan), 5. It's So Hard (being driven to Yoko's book signing sessions and then surrounded by press and fans / scene at the kitchen table showing John talking with George Harrison and Phil Spector), 6. I Don't Wanna Be A Soldier (on a protest march / another Women's Hour interview clip), 7. Gimme Some Truth (recording the vocal), 8. Oh My Love (discussing the song with George Harrison, Yoko and Phil Spector / rehearsal / Women's Hour clip / recording a take / George and John talk about Ringo and Paul whilst Yoko pours the tea), 9. How Do You Sleep? (John running through the song on piano for George, John says "That's the nasty one" / rehearsing it with the musicians, John sings "How do you sleep ya cunt?" / another grittier take / fan found in gardens and John invites him in for soup), 10 How? (recording the vocal track / picking a spot for the island summer house, John's son Julian calling to them but only Yoko responds), 11. Imagine (listening to a playback / the regualr video), 12. Film Credits (an alternate take of Look At Me played as John and Yoko are seen walking to the sea).
*The booklet is a short biography which erroneously states that John's mother died when he was still an infant and that his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George had to sit him down and tell him the news (In actual fact John's mother died when he 17, his Uncle George had died when he was 12). The section dealing with the entrance of Yoko Ono into John's life is illustrated with a picture of John with May Pang!
*The dual (2&4) region DVD was released either on
the same day or within 2 months of the R1 disc. It appears that a R2 only
version was issued by BMG the following year on 28th July 2003.
**The documentary is divided into 15 chapters which are titled as follows: 1. Main Title; Love & Peace, 2. Getting into Canada, 3. The Montreal Bed-In, 4. Celebrity Visitors, 5. Recording Give Peace a Chance, 6. Hoodwinked into Ottawa, 7. The Toronto Rock 'n' Roll Revival, 1969, 8. War Is Over! The Peace Festival, 9. Selling Peace, 10. Hangin' With Hawkins, 11. Meeting with Trudeau, 12. Money Problems, 13. The Death of John Lennon, 14. Imagine, 15. End Credits.
*A region free PAL DVD was eventually issued by Eagle
Rock Entertainment Ltd. on 3rd November 2003.
*Artists performing were as follows: Yolanda Adams and Billy Preston Imagine, Dave Matthews In My Life, Stone Temple Pilots Revolution, Alanis Morissette Dear Prudence, Moby, Sean Lennon and Rufus Wainwright Across the Universe, Cyndi Lauper Strawberry Fields Forever, Marc Anthony Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, Shelby Lynne Mother, Nelly Furtado and Dave Stewart Instant Karma, Lou Reed Jealous Guy, Natalie Merchant Nowhere Man, Kevin Spacey Mind Games, Craig David Come Together, Sean Lennon and Rufus Wainwright This Boy, Sean Lennon Julia, Ensemble Give Peace a Chance/Power to the People. There were also guest appearances by Kevin Bacon, Benjamin Bratt, Steve Buscemi, Edie Falco, James Gandolfini, Dustin Hoffman, Yoko Ono Lennon, Tim Roth, Leelee Sobieski and Ben Stiller
* The tracklisting for Lennon Legend was as follows:
Imagine (original 1971 promo), Instant Karma! (1970 'Top of the Pops' performance version two with Yoko knitting, version one had appeared on The John Lennon Video Collection), Mother (a new photo montage), Jealous Guy (footage of John recording his vocal track merged with the sequence used in the original Imagine film, this was possibly the version that was put together in 1985 to promote the British single release & the Imagine home video), Power to the People (as produced in 1992 for The John Lennon Video Collection albeit extended in length here), Cold Turkey (new video combining 1972 Madison Square Garden footage with film of John and Yoko arriving at court in 1968 following the drug bust), Love (new video, a mixture of Imagine film clips from 1971 and the 1980 'love making' footage), Mind Games (footage of John filming a promo for Whatever Gets You Through The Night), Whatever Gets You Through The Night (as produced in 1992 for The John Lennon Video Collection), #9 Dream (a new video combining extracts from the Two Virgins, Smile and Imagine films, this was met with much criticism at the time as it showed Yoko on a track that John recorded during his 'lost weekend' with May Pang), Stand By Me (mostly the 1975 Old Grey Whistle Test performance pointlessly intercut with 1969/71 footage), (Just Like) Starting Over (a new photo and memorabilia montage, a far superior video had been produced for The John Lennon Video Collection), Woman (original 1981 promo), Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) (new video - slow motion sequences from a home video of John, Yoko, Sean and two friends sat and playing by the sea), Watching The Wheels (the highlight of the new video's - this utilised home movies from 1975-80), Nobody Told Me (a new video - yet more Imagine film clips from 1971 and 1969's Apotheosis used to illustrate a track from 1980), Borrowed Time (new video - another montage of clips, some rare, spanning 1968-80), Working Class Hero (new video which mixed stills & Beatles footage with newly shot film of John's childhood home on Menlove Ave. & Strawberry Fields), Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (new harrowing video showing scenes of war and its' inevitable consequences) and Give Peace a Chance (partly the original promo mixed with contemporary late 1960's/early 1970's footage of student riots, anti war rally's, John and Yoko singing the song with a large crowd in 1972 and finally the crowd of mourners singing it outside the Dakota in 1980).
**The special features were as follows:
Working Class Hero (an artificially extended version with interview clips interwoven with the song), Slippin' And Slidin' (as originally performed for The Old Grey Whistle Test on 18th March 1975), Imagine (the 18th April 1975 Lew Grade tribute show performance), Hair Peace (a snatch of March/April 1969 Amsterdam bed-in footage, inexplicably presented here with a time-code), Everybody Had A Hard Year (December 1968 footage of John and Yoko in the back garden singing what would become part of the Beatles song I've Got A Feeling), Animations(a selection of John's drawings animated into brief cartoons of just a few seconds each) and Imagine Instrumental (the backing track set to a montage of photographs).
*Stan Freberg and Robert Citron
appeared on the 19th September 1971 show and actress Shirley MacLaine was
Cavett's other guests on the 11th May 1972 programme.
** John's Woman is the Nigger of the World and Yoko's We're All Water were performed on the 1972 show.
***Two original trailers are also included on the DVD as Easter Eggs - On disc one Cavett (with Freberg and Citron sat beside him) plugs the 19/Sep/1971 show, whilst on disc two John, Yoko and Shirley MacClaine appear with Cavett as he hypes the 11/May/1972 edition. To view the trailers, highlight 'Play All' and then press down arrow, a caricature of Cavett will now appear - press play.
*Tracklisting; 1. Opening 2. First gig 3. John's great
wit 4. Bed-in 5. Paul leaves The Beatles 6. Double Fantasy 7. Bonus Feature
- How I Won The War 8. Bonus Feature - London Lyceum Ballroom 9. Bonus
Feature - Ontario Science Center 10. Bonus Feature - Jutland, Denmark.
*A region free NTSC version was released by Crystal
Entertainment on 13th March 2007 with an alternate cover showing a
close up picture of an electric guitar.
*The main feature is divided into 6 chapters which are
titled as follows: 1. The Bed-In Begins, 2. The Choir Assembles, 3. Recording
Peace A Chance, 4. Pete Seeger Makes The Song Famous, 5. The Song Lives
On, 6. John Lennon Performs Give Peace A Chance.
**The bonus material includes: "Peace Weekend" interview 20/Dec/1969, "Television Interview" 18/Dec/1969, "Press Conference" 17/Dec/1969, "Andre Perry Interview", "Petula Clark Visits The Bed-In" and "Tom Smothers And Judy Steinberg Bonus Interview"
*The author of this web-site appears
on the credits too :-D
** The release of the DVD in Britain occurred three days after it was first shown on BBC Television, to my ears the BBC2 broadcast sounded as though the film had been slightly speeded up and I feared a similar problem that had so obviously affected the R2 DVD release of Imagine:John Lennon, but thankfully no such problem was in evidence on the R2 U.S vs. JL DVD.
***The main feature was divided into 24 chapters and titled as follows: 1. Setting the stage, 2. Growing up, 3. Unpopular War, 4. Total Communication, 5. Honeymooners, 6. Bed Peace, 7. Give Peace a Chance, 8. Impacting the White House, 9. War Is Over! if you want it, 10. A Dreamer, 11. John and Yoko in NYC, 12. Tools against the government, 13. Song for John Sinclair, 14. Monitoring the opposition, 15. Aggressive steps, 16. Harassing the Lennons, 17. Nutopia, 18. Challenging case, 19. Facing forward, 20. Improper interference, 21. Great news, 22. Beautiful boy, 23. Sudden tragedy, 24. Worldwide message. The bonus footage was titled as follows: Theatrical trailer (not on the R2 version), Becoming John Lennon, Power to the People, Dissent vs. disloyalty, Then & now, Walter Kronkite meets the Beatles, The Two Virgins album cover, "Some time in New York", "Imagine", The 'One to One' benefit concert and Yoko Ono Lennon's letter to the parole board. There was also a DVD-ROM feature which offered the text of the Red Mole interview from 1971.
*The scene selection is divided
up as follows: 1. Introduction, 2. The Plastic Ono Band, 3. Give Peace
a Chance, 4. Cold Turkey, 5. Instant Karma, 6. Mother,
7. Hold On, 8. Isolation, 9. I Found Out, 10. Yoko
Ono/Plastic Ono Band, 11. Love, 12. Working Class Hero,
**Bonus material - 1. Remember Remember, 2. Working Klaus Hero (Mark Lewisohn's potted history of Klaus Voorman's association with the Beatles/Lennon), 3. Well Well Well, 4. Well Well Well Hidden Praise, 5. Class Divide, 6. Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band, 7. God is Alive and Living in the Eiffel Tower, 8. Mother (Live at Madison Square Garden Aug/1972), 9. Instant Karma ('Top of the Pops' Feb/1970 - Version one [with Yoko holding card instructions]).
Another dramatisation, this time for BBC television in the UK. It starred 46 year old former 'Doctor Who' actor Christopher Eccleston playing a man who was some 20 years his junior during the period the film was set, 1967-1971. The focus was largely on John's relationship with his father (played by Christopher Fairbank) opening with a scene in which John was reunited with his Dad having not seen him since the age of 5. The 82 minute film was directed by Edmund Coulthard and written by Robert Jones, other characters portrayed included Yoko Ono (Naoko Mori), Cynthia (Claudie Blakley), Paul McCartney (Andrew Scott), Derek Taylor (Michael Colgan), Pete Shotton (Adrian Bower), Julian (Charlie Coulthard) and Arthur Janov (Allan Corduner). It received its' television premiere on BBC4 on 24th June 2010, a 2 Entertain/BBC region 2 DVD followed four days later and a region 1 disc was issued by BBC Warner on 23rd November.
Love Is All You Need
Another unofficial collection of archive material, this one directed by Alan Byron and Ashley Hall making use of TV interviews with Yoko Ono as well as Cynthia and Julian from the early 1980's to tell John's story, Julian talks about the car crash in Scotland in 1969 and his father's death. Paul Gambaccini was specially interviewed to provide a commentary. The 83 minute biography was issued as a region free DVD by Odeon Entertainment Ltd on 19th July 2010.
2010 was a high profile year for John in which he would have celebrated his 70th birthday, official products included a new album of unreleased material and a re-mastering of his regular albums as well as this 115 minute documentary film which was first broadcast in the United States on the PBS station on 22nd November. An A&E Home Video region 1 NTSC DVD release followed a day later, it was issued on Blue-ray on 11th January 2011 and a region 2 DVD was also made available around the same time. The film focussed on the years John lived in the United States (1971-1980) pretty much covering the same period as The U.S. vs. John Lennon movie released four years earlier, although this film concerned itself more with John's music and personal life rather than the political/protest angle. Among those interviewed were Yoko Ono, Jonas Mekas, members of Elephant's Memory, Bob Gruen, Jon Wiener, Elton John, Jim Keltner, Earl Slick and Record producer Jack Douglas.
Guest Contribution Video's & DVD's
Frost on Saturday
David Frost was a well known television interviewer on both sides of the Atlantic who first rose to fame as host of the controversial BBC satire programme "That Was The Week That Was" in 1963, Frost left the BBC in 1967 and in 1968 joined London Weekend Television (a new commercial service for the capital city and surrounding area) where he hosted chat shows on each of the three nights LWT was on the air (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), John and Yoko gave their very first television interview together soon after the station launched, the live appearance on the 24th August 1968 edition of "Frost on Saturday" being one of seven surviving complete programmes that were included on this 2 disc region 2 DVD set issued by Network on 4th October 2010 (There were also Friday and Sunday volumes). Although the cover includes colour photographs from John and Yoko's appearance, the actual programme was transmitted and recorded in black & white. Full details of John and Yoko's appearance on "Frost on Saturday", including a transcript, can be found here.
The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus
Filmed in December 1968, John performed Yer Blues and Yoko did Her Blues*, John is also seen introducing the Rolling Stones section, dancing with the crowd and chatting with Mick Jagger. Due to a pay dispute involving the Rolling Stones and their dissatisfaction with their own performace, the film was not made available to the public until Universal released the home-video with an accompanying soundtrack album in October 1996. A region free DVD was released on October 25th 2004 with an alternate take of Yer Blues included as one of the extras.
*John referred to Yoko's number as "Her Blues" in an interview with John Peel at the time, but it was retitled Whole Lotta Yoko for the official release - presumably this title was a word play on Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love (which was not recorded/released until a year after Rock and Roll Circus). John and his backing band (Eric Clapton, Keith Richards & Mitch Mitchell) are referred to on the official release as "The Dirty Mac".
John and Yoko filmed a contribution for this film in December 1969, it was first shown in 1971. American Home Entertainment released an NTSC Home video on 20th September 1994. A region free DVD was released on 21st February 2005 by Quantum Leap.
Released in 1995 on VHS, this was a 52 minute Jonas Mekas film featuring Happy Birhday To John - the record of Lennon's birthday in 1971, along with some footage of the Lennon/Ono concert in Madison Square Gardens in 1972, the Vigil in Central Park in 1980 and other rare footage. It also features Zefiro Torna, images from the life of George Maciunas with bits of Fluxus events and performances and picnics with friends (Warhol, Lennon and Ono).
John contrtibuted a sketch to the original 1969 stage version which was also used for the 1972 film version. The Uav Corporation released an NTSC home video of the film on July 14th 1980. Jef Films Inc. re-released it in America on October 27th 2003 before their DVD Region 1 version followed a year later on November 30th 2004.
An underground film completed in 1965 which included an acting role for Yoko Ono. It was issued on NTSC VHS at some point by Something Weird Video, a region 1 NTSC DVD then included it as part of a double feature (the other film being Scare their pants off) released on 8th January 2002. A region free PAL DVD was issued on 5th September 2005 (again as a double feature with Scare their pants off).
"John Lennon Live"
Described as "A 30 minute documentary of Yoko Ono recording with Elephant's Memory, with John sitting in." Some copies were apparently sold before it was withdrawn. Presumably it contained an edition (or re-edit) of Flipside which had been originally broadcast by American TV in 1973.
John & Yoko Filmography
John Lennon on Television
Off site links....
The Beatles Laserdiscs
John Lennon LaserDiscs & DVD's (for quality artwork scans)