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Live in New York City (John Lennon album)

Live in New York City is a posthumous live album by English rock musician John Lennon with the Plastic Ono Elephant's Memory Band. It was prepared under the supervision of his widow, Yoko Ono, and released in 1986 as his second official live album, the first being Live Peace in Toronto 1969.

Live in New York City
Live album by
Released10 February 1986 (1986-02-10)
Recorded30 August 1972 at Madison Square Garden
GenreRock, blues rock, hard rock, rock and roll
Capitol (North America)
ProducerYoko Ono
John Lennon chronology
Milk and Honey
Live in New York City
Menlove Ave.
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[1]
MusicHound2.5/5 stars[2]
Rolling Stone(favourable)[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[3]


Recorded on 30 August 1972 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Lennon performed two shows, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, a benefit concert for the Willowbrook State School for Retarded Children in New York,[5] at friend Geraldo Rivera's request. Rivera introduces Lennon and Ono at the beginning of the album, and he is referenced in Lennon's impromptu revised lyrics in the opening song, "New York City".

The benefit concerts, billed as One to One, also featured other performers in addition to Lennon, including Stevie Wonder, Roberta Flack, Melanie Safka and Sha-Na-Na, although their performances are not included on this album, nor on the simultaneous video release.

Live in New York City captures Lennon's last full-length concert performance, coming right after the release of Some Time in New York City. Backing Lennon and Ono were Elephant's Memory, who had served as Lennon and Ono's backing band on Some Time in New York City. Although the material Lennon performed was largely drawn from his three most recent albums of the period (John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, Imagine and Some Time in New York City), he also included in the setlist his Beatles hit "Come Together" and paid tribute to Elvis Presley with "Hound Dog" before leading the audience in a singalong of "Give Peace a Chance". "Come Together", originally in the key of D minor, was performed in E minor.

Criticism and editingEdit

Upon its early 1986 release, Ono was criticised by former members of Elephant's Memory for using the first – and weaker – performance instead of the stronger evening show. They also took issue with the simultaneous video release of the concert, which it was alleged had been edited to show Ono as prominently as Lennon. However, on the album release, Ono's vocal performances on such numbers as "Hound Dog" had been mixed out completely. Additionally, all of her solo performances, which included "Sisters, O Sisters", "Born in a Prison", "We're All Water", "Don't Worry Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow)", "Move on Fast" and "Open Your Box", were deleted from the audio edition of the concert, to create a pure Lennon album. The video release retained the Lennon complete set-list including Ono's "Sisters, O Sisters" and "Born in a Prison".

Portions of the evening performance later saw release on the John Lennon Anthology.

Live in New York City reached No. 55 in the UK, and No. 41 in the U.S., and eventually went gold.

Historical significanceEdit

The concerts documented on Live in New York City were Lennon's only rehearsed and full-length live performances in his solo career, and his first – and last – formal, full-fledged live concerts since the Beatles retired from the road in 1966. Lennon never mounted a tour during his post-Beatles career. The concerts also marked the last time he performed live with Ono or with Elephant's Memory.

Track listingEdit

All songs by John Lennon, except where noted.

Side one
  1. "New York City" – 2:56
  2. "It's So Hard" – 3:18
  3. "Woman Is the Nigger of the World" (Lennon, Yoko Ono) – 5:30
  4. "Well Well Well" – 3:51
  5. "Instant Karma!" – 3:40
Side two
  1. "Mother" – 5:00
  2. "Come Together" (Lennon, Paul McCartney) – 4:21
  3. "Imagine" – 3:17
  4. "Cold Turkey" – 5:29
  5. "Hound Dog" (Leiber/Stoller) – 3:09
  6. "Give Peace a Chance" – 1:00

Video track listingEdit

  1. "Power to the People"
  2. "New York City"
  3. "It's So Hard"
  4. "Woman Is the Nigger of the World" (Lennon/Ono)
  5. "Sisters, O Sisters" (Ono)
  6. "Well Well Well"
  7. "Instant Karma!"
  8. "Mother"
  9. "Born in a Prison" (Ono)
  10. "Come Together" (Lennon/McCartney)
  11. "Imagine"
  12. "Cold Turkey"
  13. "Hound Dog" (Leiber/Stoller)
  14. "Give Peace a Chance"


  • Wayne 'Tex' Gabriel – lead guitar
  • Gary Van Scyoc – bass guitar
  • John Ward – bass guitar
  • Stan Bronstein – saxophone
  • Adam Ippolito – keyboards
  • Richard Frank Jr. – drums


  1. ^ Live in New York City at AllMusic
  2. ^ Gary Graff & Daniel Durcholz (eds), MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, Visible Ink Press (Farmington Hills, MI, 1999; ISBN 1-57859-061-2), p. 667.
  3. ^ "John Lennon: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  4. ^ Fricke, David (10 April 1986). "John Lennon: Live in New York City: Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 13 July 2007.
  5. ^ "John Lennon and Yoko Ono Present the One-to-One Concert (1972)". IMDb.

External linksEdit