The author of John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band is, of course, John Lennon. Not much more to say about it, right? Surely one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. Someone who exceeded the bounds of simple musical creation to become a myth with a relevant social impact.
Born 9th October 1940, he is author of many of the all-time pop-rock anthems, first as part of The Beatles and solo later.
It’s just in the beginning of his solo career where we stop the time to explain what factors were key to creating the album “John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band”:
In the early 70s, months after the breakup of The Beatles, John Lennon, with the help of Yoko Ono, decided to record his first solo album. Influenced by the avant-garde and detoxification therapy Dr. Arthur Janov’s “Primal Scream”, Lennon began his solo career with a risky bet: leave out the big productions surrounding the Fab Four and focus on more minimalist compositions arrangements and lyrics that somehow complement their personal therapy. That’s how songs like “Mother”, “Hold on” or “God” open the doors to their most intimate thoughts and feelings coming to declare that “I don’t believe in Beatles”.
The United Kingdom’s participation in the Vietnam War, the rise of social movements and revolutionary 68 and neo-liberal climbing in Europe, makes Lennon a speaker of the working classes, denying MBE medal and adopting a much more engaged speech in media interviews. In just five years he moves to be an active member of Beatlemania to an artist who used his media power to make a campaign for peace. “Give peace a chance”, “Happy Xmas, war is over!” or “Power to the People” quickly become anthems of social revolution.
The year 1970 shows us a more acidic Lennon, more sincere and more socially engaged. This year is a turning point as an artist and as a person.
Undoubtedly the influence of Yoko Ono in this process is key factor. As he told his bandmates “I will spend every minute of my life with her. She is now a part of myself”. Together they find at that time fighting the ghosts of his past: the tortuous relationship and death of his mother, the non-relationship with his father, the awakening of the happy 60’s and, ultimately, the passage from the teen dream beatlemania to maturity of a real life.
All this and compositional maturity of Lennon, will take him to create the Plastic Ono Band.
The life of John Lennon, although short because of his assassination in 1980, deserves to be known more in depth than this project can show. I recommend visiting the official website of John Lennon to find all information about his career and his life.