Monday, 7 June 2021


Оn one night in 1971, at New York’s Fillmore East, Yoko Ono was matched by another peculiar musician who demanded the same values of creative innovation; Frank Zappa. One of the madmen of rock and roll, Zappa made a name for himself living on the cutting edge of experimental rock.

It all came about in very strange circumstances. “A journalist in New York City woke me up – knocked on the door and is standing there with a tape recorder and goes, ‘Frank, I’d like to introduce you to John Lennon,’ you know, waiting for me to gasp and fall on the floor,” Zappa recalled on his 1984 Interview Picture Disc. “And I said, ‘Well, okay. Come on in.'”

Adding: “And we sat around and talked, and I think the first thing he said to me was, ‘You’re not as ugly as I thought you would be.’ So anyway, I thought he had a pretty good sense of humour, so I invited him to come down and jam with us at the Fillmore East. We had already booked in a recording truck because we were making the Live at the Fillmore album at the time.” It would end up being one of the most notable moments in rock history on the stage.

Zappa and The Mothers of Invention welcome the rock and roll royalty Ono and Lennon on stage at Fillmore East, New York, to an open-mouthed audience. A gaggle of musicians worthy of paying very close attention to. The pulsating group would not disappoint.

The ensemble, as large as they are, get set to perform Walter Ward’s ‘Well (Baby Please Don’t Go)’, with Zappa leading the charge, shouting the key of the track above the crowd, reiterating, “Not standard blues changes,” John steps up to the mic. He eyes the room with his mischievous grin and introduces the song, saying: “A song I used to sing while I was in the Cavern in Liverpool. I haven’t done it since.”

What follows is a complex concoction of Zappa wailing with his axe like the true guitar hero he is, and Yoko Ono doing her own kind of wailing.
The follow-up jams of ‘Jamrag’, ‘King Kong,’ and ‘Scumbag’, all allow Ono’s experimental side to come to the fore. Below, all of the pieces of the puzzle come together as the group deliver an astounding performance.

John later told the BBC of the show: “It was a 12-bar kind of thing I used to do at the Cavern. It was pretty good with Zappa because he’s pretty far out, as they say – so we blended quite well.”
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