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The Plastic Ono Band

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The Plastic Ono Band

This article is about the band. For the album with Lennon, see John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. For the album with Ono, see Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band.

Plastic Ono Band
Plastic Ono Band, 1969. L-R: Klaus Voormann, Alan White, Yoko Ono, John Lennon, and Eric Clapton.
Background information
Also known as John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band, Plastic Ono Nuclear Band, Plastic U.F. Ono Band, Plastic Ono Mothers
Origin London, United Kingdom
Genres Rock, experimental music, art rock
Years active 1969–1975
Labels Apple
Chimera Music
Associated acts The Beatles, The Yardbirds, Manfred Mann, Yes, Elephant's Memory, Cibo Matto, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, The Who, Mothers of Invention, Wilco, Iggy & the Stooges, The Flaming Lips
Members Yoko Ono
Sean Lennon
Yuka Honda
Keigo Oyamada
Shimmy Hirotaka Shimizu
Yuko Araki
Past members John Lennon
Klaus Voorman
Alan White
Ringo Starr
Phil Spector
Billy Preston
Bobby Keys
Jim Keltner
Jim Gordon
Chris Osbourne
George Harrison
Nicky Hopkins
Keith Moon
Delaney Bramlett
Eric Clapton
Stan Bronstein
Wayne 'Tex' Gabriel
Richard Frank Jr.
Adam Ippolito
Gary Van Scyoc
Aynsley Dunbar
Bob Harris
Howard Kaylan
Jim Pons
Don Preston
Ian Underwood
Mark Volman
Frank Zappa

The Plastic Ono Band is a conceptual supergroup formed by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1969 before the dissolution of the Beatles. Among the various other members of the band were artist Klaus Voormann, future Yes drummer Alan White, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, the Who's drummer Keith Moon, New York band Elephant's Memory, Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins, Phil Spector, drummer Jim Keltner and, in a 2009 revival, Sean Lennon.

The name

In 2010, Yoko Ono discussed the origin of the Plastic Ono Band name: "As I was asked to do a show in Berlin before John and I got together, I wanted to use four plastic stands with tape recorders in each one of them, as my band. I told that story to John, and he immediately coined the phrase PLASTIC ONO BAND."[1]

On record labels it appeared variously alone or as John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band, John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band, etc., and later with further variations as described below.

Original versions

In 1968, John Lennon began his personal and artistic relationship with Yoko Ono by collaborating on the experimental album Unfinished Music No.1: Two Virgins. After a second volume, Unfinished Music No.2: Life with the Lions appeared in the spring of 1969, Lennon and Ono decided that all of their future endeavors would be credited to the Plastic Ono Band. Its credo, "YOU are the Plastic Ono Band", implied that everyone was part of the group. In fact, the Plastic Ono Band was an identity to describe works by Lennon and Ono and whoever happened to be performing with them. Lennon and Ono would both use the name for years on their future solo albums. The single release of "Give Peace a Chance" in July 1969, recorded in a hotel room in Montréal, Québec with many participants, was the first release to bear the credit of Plastic Ono Band.

Lennon tried to release the unfinished Beatles songs, "What's the New Mary Jane" and "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)" as Plastic Ono Band recordings, until he was stopped by Paul McCartney.[2] The only album solely credited to the Plastic Ono Band, Live Peace in Toronto 1969, was recorded during the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival on September 13 that year and featured Klaus Voorman on bass, Eric Clapton on lead guitar, and Alan White on drums.[3][4] Fronting the group, naturally, were Lennon and Ono.[3] Lennon's performance has been cited as giving him the confidence to tell the other Beatles a few days later that he was leaving the band.[5]

Just after its recording, "Cold Turkey", Lennon's tale of breaking his brief heroin addiction, was released as a single under the banner of the Plastic Ono Band, again featuring the Live Peace In Toronto 1969 line-up except Ringo Starr plays drums instead of White. By early 1970, Lennon and Ono had begun adding their names to their releases, "Instant Karma!" coming out as "Lennon/Ono with the Plastic Ono Band",[6] and their two proper solo debut albums as John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band. By 1971 the name was being used as a secondary credit, with Lennon's and Ono's names more prominent on their solo ventures, and with variations, e.g., "Plastic Ono Nuclear Band" and "Plastic U.F.Ono Band". They played with Elephant's Memory as the "Plastic Ono Elephant's Memory Band" and with Frank Zappa as the "Plastic Ono Mothers".


The 2009 album Between My Head and the Sky is credited to Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band. It is the first use of the Plastic Ono Band name since the 1975 compilation Shaved Fish. The new line-up includes Sean Lennon, Cornelius and Yuka Honda, among others. Production credits are shared by Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon, with remixes produced by Bill Kates, Billy Martin, Damien Price, DJ Chernobyl, Jorge Artajo, King Louie & Mighty Jay, Konrad Behr, Mabarak, Madeon, Nick Vernier Band, Pedro Vainer, Posterboys, Rondo Brothers, Shuji Nabara, Technobears, Tiger et Ghost, Vivada, and Whiton. Between My Head and the Sky was released on 29 September 2009 to generally positive reviews from Rolling Stone, Mojo, Spin, Uncut, Q, NME, Nylon, Pitchfork, and others. In early 2010, the new Plastic Ono Band reunited in concert with original members Jim Keltner, Klaus Voormann and Eric Clapton, with guest artists Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Bette Midler, Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Scissor Sisters, Harper Simon, Paul Simon, and Gene Ween.


DVD releases

Shout! Factory released the concert film Sweet Toronto on DVD in June 2009, under the title Live in Toronto ’69. This set included the live release of "Come Together", in addition to famous Beatles covers. Also included on the disc was an interview with Yoko Ono from 1988.


External links

  • Official site of the Plastic Ono Band
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