Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Yoko Ono

Music History Monday: Why All the Hate?

We mark the wedding on March 20, 1969 – 54 years ago today – between the Liverpool-born Beatle John Lennon (1940-1980) and the Tokyo-born artist and musician Yoko Ono (born 1933).  Their wedding took place in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula.  At the time of their marriage, Lennon was 28 years old, and Ono was 36. Classic Rock ‘n’ Roll as a Geriatric Phenomenon Given their seminal, world-wide cultural impact, the brevity of The Beatles’ tenure remains, for me, nothing short of mind-boggling. Let us consider.  The Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, which cemented their world-wide fame, occurred on February 9, 1964.  The band’s final paid concert occurred on August 29, 1966, at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, just thirty months later.  The Beatles’ final album to be recorded, Abbey Road, was released three years after that, on September 26, 1969.  (For our information, the album Let it Be, which had been recorded prior to Abbey Road, was released in May 1970.) The Beatles, then, was strictly a 1960s band.  The last time they were together as a quartet was on August 22, 1969, when they attended a photo […]

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Music History Monday: John, Yoko, and Strom

On February 4, 1972 – 47 years ago today – Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina sent a memo to John Mitchell, the Attorney General of the United States, in which he demanded that John Lennon be deported! Why would the not very nice Mr. Thurmond want to do such a thing to nice Mr. Lennon?  Therein lies a remarkable story! The story begins with the poet, cultural revolutionary, political activist and pothead John Sinclair, who was born in Flint, Michigan in 1941. Sinclair was the chairman of the “Rainbow People’s Party” of Ann Arbor and a founding member and chairman of the “White Panther Party” (which he created in support of the Black Panther Party). He was, by every measure, one of the major “hippie-dippy agitator-types” operating during those troubled days of unrest over the Viet Nam War. “The Man” (meaning the law enforcement community) decided that Sinclair needed to be silenced. A sting operation was put together, and on January 27, 1967 Sinclair was arrested after passing two joints (marijuana cigarettes, for you youngsters) to two undercover Detroit narcotics police: Patrolman Vahan Kapagian and Policewoman Jane Mumford Lovelace. The trial that followed was marked by what are now […]

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