Island’s Lennon Tribute Split Into Three Events

April 9, 2012

The upcoming Bermuda John Lennon tribute event — saluting the former Beatle’s 1980 visit to the island when he polished the songs which appeared on the last album released during his lifetime — has been split into three separate parts.

On June 21 the unveiling of a sculpture  by local artist Graham Foster commemorating the singer/songwriter’s time here will take place at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art in the Botanical Gardens [John Lennon is seen here at a Bermuda beach with his son Sean, who spent the summer with him on the island].

There will also be the opening of Bag One Arts Lennon Lithographs display in the museum’s Rick Faries Gallery. Former art student Lennon rediscovered the visual arts in the 1960s and worked on lithography up until the time of his death at the hands of a deranged fan in December, 1980.

The June event will culminate with the opening of the Botanical Gardens’ “Double Fantasy” Labyrinth — named after the album Lennon and wife Yoko Ono released following his Bermuda sojourn. The album took its title from a flower Lennon saw at the 36-acre gardens.

A four-song EP featuring cover versions of Lennon’s solo work and Beatles songs will be released at this time along with a music video of  his anthemic 1967 classic “All You Need Is Love” featuring local performers that was shot at the Botanical Gardens.

In July a full John Lennon tribute CD made up of material by local performers and international artists with strong Bermuda connections will be released.

Finally, a  tribute concert originally scheduled for June 21 — with a line-up which includes local entertainers and performers with close Bermuda ties including Maxi Priest – has been moved back to September 21st or October 12. Confirmation of the date is pending.

Maxi Priest arrives at London’s Abbey Road studios — where John Lennon and the Beatles recorded some of their most famous tracks — to mix his contribution to the Bermuda tribute CD

Liverpool-born John Lennon spent six weeks in Bermuda in 1980 editing, reworking and producing demonstration tapes of the songs which appeared on “Double Fantasy” and “Milk & Honey”, a posthumously released 1984 album.

He sailed here in June, 1980 from Rhode Island, a near-fatal experience which reconnected the singer/songwriter with his muse  after six years of semi-retirement in New York.

“They got in this big old storm. This old sailor got really sick. He told John to take the wheel. Torrential rains and waves pounded the boat …,” producer Jack Douglas — who worked on “Double Fantasy” — has said. “Right after this transformative, emotional and physically exhilarating experience on the sailboat, he arrived [in Bermuda] with this quiet and this space and it all came through him. John Lennon started making music again.”

Members of the 43-foot ketch “Megan Jaye’s” crew have talked about the severe gale the yacht ran into during its six-day crossing to Bermuda. saying novice sailor Lennon grasped the fundamentals of weathering the storm with  an ”intuition [that] was remarkable.”

While he claimed to have written all of the songs on “Double Fantasy” and “Milk & Honey” on the island that summer in a whirlwind burst of activity, much of the material long pre-dated his Bermuda visit. Most of the songs had in fact been works in progress since the mid-to-late 1970s.

Although he composed little new material on the island, the classic “Double Fantasy”  track “Woman” — described by critics as one of his most mature and enduring works — does appear to have been written in its entirety while he was in Bermuda.

John Lennon demo tapes of “Woman” recorded in Bermuda

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