There was an invite-only screening on Wednesday night (March 6th) for the latest John Lennon and Yoko Ono documentary, John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky, which is set to air on A&E on March 11th, at 9 p.m. The film, which produced by Britain's Channel 4 with the cooperation of Yoko Ono and the Lennon estate, aired to raves last fall in Britain and features “unheard audio including the first demo of 'Imagine,' as well as never-heard-before interviews with one-time Beatle Lennon. Previously unseen footage shows him and Yoko working together in London.”
Above Us Only Sky was helmed by Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated director Michael Epstein — best known for the 2010 LennoNYC documentary — who was on-hand at the Manhattan screening with legendary producer Jack Douglas — who was among the engineers on the 1971 Imagine album as well as the Grammy-winning producer for John & Yoko's 1980 “comeback” album, Double Fantasy.
Imagine holds the distinction of being the only album in John Lennon's catalogue to have been recorded both in England at his home studio in Ascot and at New York City's Record Plant. The sessions can be seen as the overlapping of two major historical eras in the Lennon's lives. We asked Jack Douglas how New York City changed John Lennon: “When he was in New York he was 'John' — he wasn't a Beatle any more. He could never escape that in England. And the other thing was Yoko was a New Yorker already, and so, she made him feel really at home there in New York. I mean, you could see it in his face, he felt this, like, incredible freedom. And I think that's reflected in the music. The rhythm of the city, he loved it. He loved everything about it. He loved being in the Village.”
Drummer Alan White, who formed the rhythm section with bassist Klaus Voormann for the Imagine sessions, recalled the pair sharing an immediate musical chemistry: “I guess I'd been playing with a lot of different bass players and stuff, and it seems like Klaus and myself hit it off straight away — which was very lucky. It's good to play with professional people like that, and then you just know when people know what they're doing.”
Imagine remix engineer Paul Hicks told us that despite the fact that Imagine was recorded in John Lennon's home studio, Ascot Sound, which was still a work-in-progress, the sound produced in the room remains state of the art: “It was obviously quite a big undertaking at the time. Y'know, it was probably one of the first sort of, quote 'home studios' to be built. I think there was (laughs) a lot of late nights sorting things out and getting things working. I mean, obviously, I can't speak for (engineer) Phil McDonald, but, y'know, I would imagine — certainly at the time — it was probably an interesting, nice challenge, I would imagine.”
Source: Pulse of Radio