John Lennon's Most Revolutionary Songs Collected for Documentary
‘The U.S. vs. John Lennon’ CD Features 19 Original John Lennon Tracks
(BI) Susanna Daniel
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Capitol/EMI Music will release the original soundtrack album to the highly-anticipated feature length documentary film, “The U.S. vs John Lennon.”
The soundtrack, available on CD and digitally on September 26, collects John Lennon's most evocative songs, including "Imagine," "Nobody Told Me," "Instant Karma (We All Shine On)," "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," and "Power To The People," as well as two previously unreleased tracks, "Attica State," recorded live at 1971's "John Sinclair Freedom Rally" benefit concert in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the film's instrumental version of "How Do You Sleep." The CD and digital album packaging will include a liner notes essay written exclusively for this release by Yoko Ono Lennon.
The controversial film, distributed by Lions Gate Films (Crash, Fahrenheit 9/11), will open in New York and Los Angeles theaters on September 15, followed by wide release at the end of September.
"Never in a million years, did we think that promoting World Peace could be dangerous. Were we naive? Yes, on that account, we were. John sings: 'Nobody told me there'd be days like these.' That was his true confession," says Yoko Ono Lennon, "These songs have become relevant all over again. It's almost as if John wrote these songs for what we are going through now."
“The U.S. vs John Lennon” follows Lennon's artistic and personal evolution between 1966 and 1976 as he broadened his personal and artistic scope, launching from his Beatles-rooted music legend pedestal into powerful, globally-resonating antiwar and social justice activism.
As the Vietnam war exploded and America's youth was increasingly under attack at home for expressing its discontent, Lennon's counter-cultural activities were increasingly monitored by the FBI on behalf of President Richard Nixon's administration (Nixon himself was briefed on Lennon's activities).
The film, through its captivating exploration of the government's ongoing efforts to silence John Lennon, also clearly illustrates certain parallels to today's political landscape, through insightful interviews with those who knew him best.
Living in New York City during this highly-charged period of his career, Lennon wrote many of his greatest, most culturally vital songs as he and Yoko Ono battled a constant and threatening veil of U.S. government scrutiny with inspired determination.
The government's intimidating and ongoing surveillance campaign was coupled with threats of deportation for the Visa-carrying Lennon, aggressive tactics that he and Ono met with creative and more reasoned responses.
In 1969, they staged their legendary 1969 "Bed-In" antiwar protests during their March honeymoon in Amsterdam and two months later in Montreal, where they were joined by friends to record "Give Peace A Chance."
On December 10, 1971, Lennon and Ono headlined the "John Sinclair Freedom Rally" benefit concert in Ann Arbor, Michigan with a lightning-rod performance that turned the world's attention to the plight of John Sinclair, an American sentenced in July 1969 to nine years and six months to 10 years in prison for possession of two marijuana cigarettes.
Three days later, Michigan's Supreme Court ordered Sinclair's release, and subsequently overturned his conviction. Together, Lennon and Ono personified the struggle for freedom and compassion through this fractured and wounded period of American history.
“The U.S. vs John Lennon” is co-written, directed and produced by LSL Productions' David Leaf and John Scheinfeld. Leaf wrote and directed the critically-acclaimed and Grammy-nominated documentary Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson & the Story of SMiLE, which premiered on Showtime last fall. Scheinfeld wrote and directed the feature-length documentary Who is Harry Nilsson (and Why is Everybody Talkin' About Him)?, currently screening at film festivals across the U.S.
The story of The U.S. vs John Lennon is told with archival film clips, illuminating interviews and Lennon's original music. David Leaf says, "We were allowed to 'strip' lead vocals from Lennon's original recordings, so that we could use his own instrumental work as the score for the movie. I think it's the first time that John's solo catalog can be heard in this way."
"I believe John would have loved this film," says Ono Lennon, "It's the kind of cool film he would have liked even if it were about somebody else. It's not tabloid, but rather it tells it like it was. 'Gimme Some Truth,' indeed. If John were here today, he would have felt good about being represented by such a film, and the fact that we took the chance to make it and present it to the world. War Is Over (If You Want It)."
Reprising John Lennon and Yoko Ono's original 1969 holiday season World Peace movement marketing campaign, fans will find "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" messages appearing on billboards in some of the world's largest cities this fall.