Tuesday, 16 December 2014

ALAN WHITE OF YES REMEMBERS: John & Yoko’s 1969 “Peace for Christmas” Concert and WAR IS OVER! Campaign

(A large Christmas peace message reading 'War Is Over!' from John Lennon and Yoko Ono on a billboard in New York City. Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)
(A large Christmas peace message reading ‘War Is Over!’ from John Lennon and Yoko Ono on a billboard in New York City. Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)
On December 15, 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Onolaunched their global WAR IS OVER! campaign, protesting the Vietnam War.
On that day, they performed with the Plastic Ono Band at UNICEF’s “Peace for Christmas” concert in London.
Apparently, UNICEF arranged the performance without telling the performers. John and Yoko were surprised to hear the show announced in November, but they agreed to it because UNICEF’s mission was in line with their own peace campaign.
(Getty Images)(Ono and Lennon pose on the steps of the Apple building in London, holding one of the posters that they distributed for the WAR IS OVER! campaign. Photo by Frank Barratt/Getty Images)
Other acts included the Young Rascals, Desmond Dekker and the Aces, Blue Mink and Black Velvet, and Emperor Rosko, but the highlight was the Plastic Ono Band – Eric Clapton, Klaus Voormann, Alan White, Billy Preston, and of course, John and Yoko – and their special guests, Keith Moon, Bobby Keyes, Jim Gordon, and George Harrison.
This marked the first time that Lennon and Harrison performed together in a scheduled concert since The Beatles‘ last show in 1966.
And even that wasn’t planned. The Plastic Ono band was booked, but the day of the show, Eric Clapton showed up with most of the members of The Delaney and Bonnie Band, which included George Harrison.
Luckily, Lennon wasn’t upset by this at all. According to The Beatles Bible, he said,
“I thought it was fantastic. I was really into it. We were doing the show and George and Bonnie and Delaney, Billy Preston and all that crowd turned up.”
The performance itself was one massive supergroup jam. They played only 2 songs – “Cold Turkey” and “Don’t Worry Kyoko” – but managed to stretch them out for 25 minutes. Alan White described it as,
“…a thing where somebody would hit one chord and it was a jam.”
Read on... 

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