The final ballad of John and Yoko

There has always been a flurry of Beatle books coming out each and every year.  Some of the the are shoddy at best.  Sometimes, though, you get a stunner or two in the bunch.  this year is no different.  All you John and Yoko fans better hold onto your hats, it looks like a beauty of a book has been released.  I was hoping to hold off news on this book, as I was holding out to see if Santa was going to leave it under my tree, but I will use some of my Xmas cash to buy it.

If you are a fan of the Bob Gruen photobook, John Lennon: The New York Years, and that is one of my favorite Beatley books of all-time. Then this book will be feast for you as well.  Most of the pictures inside this book I have never seen before.  It is stunning.  You can see the care, and craftsmanship that was taken with this book.  Yes, it is a little pricey, but it is well worth the money.  It’s also rare that Yoko endorses works as well, and she contributes to the introduction. 

This book, combined with the upcoming May Pang book, Instamatic Karma, due out March, 2008, are a visual delight for those ravenous Lennon fans needing a fix. 

A New York Love Story

  • Check out the book’s official website, and see some exclusive content inside. 

Here’s what we’ve read.

Photographer Allan Tannenbaum took the last photos of the legendary couple: ‘They were absolutely a good fit’

In November 1980, on the eve of the release of “Double Fantasy,” and the end of a near five-year seclusion, John Lennon and Yoko Ono allowed one photographer to share their life, their laughter, their conversations and their favorite New York places in a series of photographs that, for the most part, would remain out of sight for the next two decades.

The photographer was Allan Tannenbaum, a photojournalist for the SoHo Weekly News and author. What began as a photo shoot at Ono’s Studio One in the Dakota apartment building where the couple lived, blossomed into a friendship. Ten days later, Lennon was dead.

JOHN AND YOKO
A NEW YORK LOVE STORY
By Allan Tannenbaum
Foreword by Yoko Ono
Insight Editions, 160 pages, $45 “I actually first met John in 1975 when he was doing a television special tribute to Sir Lew Grade,” Tannenbaum said. “It would turn out to be his last public performance. Five years later, when I went to do a photo shoot of Yoko at Studio One at the Dakota, I asked if I could also photograph their son, Sean, and John for the piece, and she was adamant that Sean not be photographed. But without hesitation, she picked up the phone to call John. He came down to the studio.”

The trio ended up going for a walk in Central Park, where Tannenbaum shot the couple on an overcast November day. On Nov. 26, Tannebaum got a call from Ono for a second still photo op, this time it would take place during the filming of their video for “Starting Over.” It began as a walk through Central Park once again, Ono in her black mink jacket, Lennon in a silver fur-trimmed coat. It ended up at the Sperone Westwater Gallery, where Lennon and Ono would nonchalantly remove their clothing, slip underneath a blanket and film a pretend lovemaking scene.

Tannenbaum had much more to say during a recent phone conversation from his New York home.

Q. What was it like to be around John Lennon and Yoko Ono in such intimate moments?

A. It just felt so natural to be around them. John was so easygoing and funny. I felt absolutely comfortable around him from the start. We talked for a long time, especially after that second walk in the park when we took a break and had some coffee in this little shop, and Yoko said “John feels very comfortable with you, so will you come back to the with us?”

They had the gallery set up like their bedroom, and there was a film camera there to record the event, and they asked me to do the still photography. The series of them undressing has never been published before.

Q. What was the one quality about John that struck you the most once you started taking the photos?

A. I think simply that it was THE John Lennon. He had such an interesting face. He looks different from every angle. He has an unusual nose, very engaging eyes, that classic hair style. He’s full of expression even when he’s not talking or emoting. His face is just very strong and unmistakable.

Q. What was the one quality about Yoko that struck you the most?

A. She just looked really, really good with John. She had this glow when she was next to him. And she was so calm. After our second session, I remember John came to me and said, “What I like about your photos is that you really capture Yoko’s beauty.”

Q. Much has been publicized about their relationship. Was it genuine?

A. They were absolutely a good fit. Yoko has this bad rap and that’s unjustified. I saw a lot of love between them, and that comes through very strongly in the photographs. Most of my photographs are of them together because they were such a complete unit. They were two artists creating simultaneously.

Q. What was the conversation like while you were shooting?

A. I just remember that John liked to joke a lot. He was one of the funniest people you could ever meet. It was just two people talking to each other.

Q. You continued to work with Yoko in the aftermath of John’s death. How was she different?

A. It’s incomprehensible how one could find the strength to survive something like that. But she was that strong. She was determined to get out there trying to create and carry on her work.

Q. Why did you choose that particular image for the cover?

A. The last photos I took of John were the black-and-white series of their two faces, from which came the book’s cover photo. In most of the frames from that series they look pretty serious, but in that particular one he had such an engaging smile and she had such an enigmatic smile that I thought it worked the best with the title. It’s a book about the two of them, how strong a bond they had, how much love they shared, and how creative they were in every way. I like to think of the book as a testimony to their love.

Q. What surprised you the most about them in that brief time you spent with them together?

A. They were both extraordinary in a sense, but ordinary. They were human, just like the rest of us with the same kind of emotions and feelings. Don’t get me wrong, I’d start talking to John and suddenly I would be overcome with this, “I’m talking to a Beatle.” He was so charismatic. He loved to talk about music, about rock ‘n’ roll. He was the epitome of cool.

Source: Chicago Sun Times

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3 Responses

  1. We’ve all read the tired and retreaded Yoko take on Lennon’s legacy; I can’t wait for May Pang’s book!!!!!!!!!

  2. Hi there,

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    I tried to organize all Beatles Video that you can find on the web. There are plenty of Beatles clips on Youtube and Google Video but it’s difficult to have them in a logical sequence. Beatlestube.net will help you to do that.

    Hope you enjoy it.

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  3. Looking forward to the John and Yoko book.

    I couldn’t care less about May’s book. Another self-aggrandized effort to pick Lennon’s bones for money.

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