Some Time in New York City

Some Time in New York City

Infobox Album |
Name = Some Time in New York City
Type = Double album
Artist = John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Released = 12 June 1972 (US) 15 September 1972 (UK)
Recorded = Studio: November 1971 – March 1972
Live: 15 December 1969 & 6 June 1971
Genre = Rock, rock and roll, blues rock, experimental rock, hard rock
Length = 1:30:52
Label = Apple/EMI
Producer = John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Phil Spector
Reviews = *Allmusic Rating|2|5 [ link]
Chronology = John Lennon
Last album = "Imagine" (1971)
This album = "Some Time in New York City"
Next album = "Mind Games" (1973)
Misc =Extra chronology 2
Artist = Yoko Ono
Type = Studio album
Last album = "Fly" (1971)
This album = "Some Time in New York City"
Next album = "Approximately Infinite Universe" (1973)

"Some Time in New York City" was released in 1972 and is John Lennon's third post-Beatles album, fifth with Yoko Ono and, third with producer Phil Spector. Primarily for its distinction as a dual "Lennon & Ono" album and being preceded by a controversial single, "Some Time in New York City" fared poorly critically and commercially compared to Lennon's previous two albums, "John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band" and "Imagine".


John Lennon and Yoko Ono moved to New York City in September 1971 and found themselves confronted with fiercely political issues. Living initially in Greenwich Village, they were quickly contacted by activists Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman, appeared at benefits for John Sinclair, and spoke out against the Attica Prison riots and the jailing of Angela Davis. By January 1972, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had opened a file on Lennon, fearing that he would try to humiliate President Richard Nixon, with the expressed intention of finding grounds to deport Lennon. The couple would be tailed for several months by the FBI, and their every move was documented.

It was against this background that Lennon and Ono hired Elephant's Memory to back them musically, with the assistance of studio drummer Jim Keltner. Their agenda was to protest against the social injustices they saw in the U.S. Phil Spector co-produced the new studio album along with the Lennons from late 1971 to its 20 March 1972 completion date (coincidentally, John & Yoko's third wedding anniversary ). With most of the gatefold cover space taken up by printed lyrics and photographs, the album credits appeared on the first disc's inner sleeve.

Seeking to make the package more attractive, Lennon and Ono's 15 December 1969 live performance of "Cold Turkey" and "Don't Worry Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking For Her Hand In The Snow)" at the Lyceum Ballroom in London, from a UNICEF charity show with Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Keith Moon, among others, was unearthed. (However, an extended live version of the latter song was already included on the "Live Peace in Toronto 1969" album that was released three years earlier). In addition, a sampling of performances with Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention from a Fillmore East gig in June 1971 was added, in effect creating a bonus live album for the Lennon/Ono faithful. The inner sleeve for the second disc featured Lennon's doodling over the cover of Zappa's album, "Fillmore East - June 1971", adding his credits and commentary to Zappa's.

The opening song of the studio album, "Woman Is the Nigger of the World" (a phrase Ono had coined in the late 1960s), was intended as a negation of sexism and was also issued as a single in the US to controversial reaction, and – as a consequence – little airplay and much banning. The Lennons went to great lengths (including a press conference attended by staff from "Jet" and "Ebony" magazines) to explain that the word "nigger" was being used in an allegorical sense and not as an affront to African-Americans.

Lennon's other tracks include the biographical "New York City," an engaging Chuck Berry-styled rocker that details the Lennons' early months in their new home, as well as "John Sinclair," his musical plea for Sinclair's release from a ten-year sentence for giving two marijuana joints to an undercover policewoman.

Yoko Ono, very much a feminist supporter, responds musically with "Sisters O Sisters," tackles the lacking education system with "Born In A Prison," and celebrates a culture of one in "We're All Water." In fact, this album is generally seen as the beginning of Ono's emergence as a songwriter after her rather challenging previous two releases.

Together, Lennon and Ono lament police brutality in "Attica State", the hardships of war-torn Northern Ireland in "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "The Luck Of The Irish", and pay tribute to Angela Davis with "Angela".

"Some Time In New York City" was packaged like a newspaper of the events covered in the album, causing even more consternation with an altered photo of Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong dancing nude together. (The photo was stickered over on many of the issued copies, with a non-removable seal.)

Coming after "Imagine", "Some Time In New York City" proved a sharp about-face for Lennon fans expecting more of the same when the double album appeared that summer. Critics considered the album overly radical in its political slant, while many of John Lennon's fans stayed away from the double set in droves, causing it to merely limp to #48 in the US. Although the UK release managed a healthy #11 peak, Lennon was devastated at its commercial failure and would not record any music for almost an entire year.

On 30 August 1972, John Lennon and Yoko Ono performed two charity shows at Madison Square Garden for the mentally challenged at friend Geraldo Rivera's request; the event was called, "One To One," and New York mayor John Lindsay declared the date "One To One Day." Both performances were filmed and recorded, with the evening show broadcast on ABC Television, and the earlier matineé show compiled for release as the 1986 live album and video, "Live In New York City". It was one of the few times any material from "Some Time in New York City" was performed by the duo.

"Some Time In New York City" was remixed, remastered and reissued in November 2005 as a single CD, removing, in the process, several of the "Live Jam" cuts, while adding on "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" and "Listen, The Snow Is Falling."

Track listing

Disc 1 (studio)

ide 1

#"Woman Is the Nigger Of the World" (John Lennon/Yoko Ono) – 5:15
#* "A shorter, edited version became the A-side of the album's single, which also appeared on "Shaved Fish", Lennon's 1975 best-ofs album"
#"Sisters O Sisters" (Yoko Ono) – 3:46
#* "The B-side to the album's single. Lennon commented in a 1980 interview that the song was intended to have a reggae feel"
#"Attica State" (John Lennon/Yoko Ono) – 2:54
#* "The Attica Prison riots occurred on 9 September 1971"
#"Born In A Prison" (Yoko Ono) – 4:03
#"New York City" (John Lennon) – 4:30
#* "Jerry" (Rubin) and David Peel are mentioned by name in the lyrics; in a 1972 live performance, "Jerry" becomes "Geraldo" (Rivera)"

ide 2

#"Sunday Bloody Sunday" (John Lennon/Yoko Ono) – 5:00
#* "The Bloody Sunday massacre in Northern Ireland occurred on 30 January 1972"
#* "Not to be confused with the unrelated U2 hit of the same name (although the two share similar subjects .)"
#"The Luck Of The Irish" (John Lennon/Yoko Ono) – 2:56
#"John Sinclair" (John Lennon) – 3:28
#* "John Sinclair was arrested in July 1969 for dealing marijuana, and was released on 13 December 1971, three days after Lennon and Ono performed at a, "Ten For Two" rally in support of his freedom".
#"Angela" (John Lennon/Yoko Ono) – 4:06
#* "Angela Davis was imprisoned pending trial for eighteen months from 1970 to 1972"
#"We're All Water" (Yoko Ono) – 7:11
#* "The song references numerous famous people, including Nixon and Mao, Lenny Bruce, Marilyn Monroe, Jerry Rubin, Raquel Welch, Queen Elizabeth II, Eldridge Cleaver, Pope Paul VI, Charles Manson, and John D. Rockefeller"


*John Lennon: guitars (including a 'resonator guitar'), vocals.

*Yoko Ono: drums, vocals.

*Jim Keltner: drums, percussion.

*Klaus Voormann: bass guitar.

Elephant's Memory:
*Stan Bronstein: flute, saxophone.
*Wayne 'Tex' Gabriel: guitar.
*Richard Frank Jr.: drums, percussion.
*Adam Ippolito: keyboards, piano.
*Gary Van Scyoc: bass guitar.

Disc 2 (live jam)

ide 3

#"Cold Turkey" (John Lennon) – 8:35
#"Don't Worry Kyoko" (Yoko Ono) – 16:01
#* "Above two songs performed live at the Lyceum Ballroom in London, England on 15 December 1969, for a UNICEF charity concert"

ide 4

#"Well (Baby Please Don't Go)" ( Walter Ward ) – 4:41
#"Jamrag" (John Lennon/Yoko Ono) – 5:36
#* "Unbeknownst to John and Yoko, who thought the song was a jam, it was actually a pre-written Frank Zappa song, "King Kong," which saw release on Zappa's 1969 album, 'Uncle Meat'.
#"Scumbag" (John Lennon/Yoko Ono/Frank Zappa) – 4:08
#"Au" (John Lennon/Yoko Ono) – 6:23
#* "Above four songs recorded live at the Fillmore East in New York City with Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention on 6 June 1971".


15 December 1969

John's handwritten credits on the, "Live Jam" inner sleeve.
*John Lennon: guitar, vocal.
*Yoko Ono: bag, vocal.

For everyone except himself and Yoko, John made up the pseudonyms used here.

*Eric Clapton - 'Derek Claptoe': guitar.

*Delaney & Bonnie - 'Bilanie & Donnie': guitar, percussion (and friends, brass, percussion)

*Jim Gordon - 'Jim Bordom': drums.

*George Harrison - 'George Harrisong': guitar.

*Nicky Hopkins - 'Sticky Topkins': electric piano (overdubbed in N.Y. as organ was lost)

*Bobby Keyes - 'Robbie Knees': sax.

*Keith Moon - 'Kief Spoon': drums.

*Billy Preston - 'Billy Presstud': organ.

*Klaus Voormann - 'Raus Doorman': base (sic).

*Alan White ('Yes' drummer) - 'Dallas White': drums.

*Jim Price: trumpet.

6 June 1971

*John Lennon: guitar, vocals.
*Yoko Ono: bag, vocals.

*Aynsley Dunbar: drums.
*Bob Harris: keyboards, vocals.
*Howard Kaylan: vocals.
*Jim Pons: bass guitar, vocals.
*Don Preston: Mini-Moog.
*Ian Underwood: keyboard, vocals, Woodwinds.
*Mark Volman: vocals.
*Klaus Voormann: bass guitar, vocals.
*Frank Zappa: guitar, vocals.

2005 CD reissue

This remastered reissue on a single disk omits much of the live material with Zappa (though it is available in a different mix/edit on Zappa's 1993 album, Playground Psychotics) and includes two bonus tracks. Some of the track times, notably, "We're All Water" and "Don't Worry Kyoko," differ from those on the original vinyl LPs.

#"Woman Is The Nigger Of The World" (John Lennon/Yoko Ono) – 5:15
#"Sisters O Sisters" (Yoko Ono) – 3:46
#"Attica State" (John Lennon/Yoko Ono) – 2:52
#"Born In A Prison" (Yoko Ono) – 4:04
#"New York City" (John Lennon) – 4:29
#"Sunday Bloody Sunday" (John Lennon/Yoko Ono) – 5:00
#"The Luck Of The Irish" (John Lennon/Yoko Ono) – 2:55
#"John Sinclair" (John Lennon) – 3:26
#"Angela" (John Lennon/Yoko Ono) – 4:06
#"We're All Water" (Yoko Ono) – 5:18
#"Cold Turkey [Live Jam] " (John Lennon) – 8:34
#"Don't Worry Kyoko" (Yoko Ono) – 15:20
#"Well (Baby Please Don't Go)" (Walter Ward) – 4:28

Bonus Tracks:
#"Listen, The Snow Is Falling" (Yoko Ono) - 3:06
#"Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (John Lennon/Yoko Ono) - 3:34

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