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John Lennon




John Lennon


1940 - 1980



John Lennon Remembered





Yoko Ono's battle over Beatle booty ends

A bitter 20-year battle between Yoko Ono and a former assistant of John Lennon ended Friday when the two reached a settlement over hundreds of photos and other items the assistant stole from the family during the Beatle's final years.


As part of the settlement, Frederic Seaman, 49, who worked for the Lennon’s between 1979 and 1981, relinquished his copyright claim to 374 photos he took of the family and issued a public apology to Ono and her son Sean Lennon, who accompanied his mother to court each day of the four-day trial.


"After more than 20 years, it is time for me to ask your forgiveness for my actions. It is impossible to undo what has taken place but it stops here and now," Seaman said in a statement read in court by Ono's lawyer, Paul LiCalsi.


After LiCalsi read the terms of the settlement into the record, U.S. District Judge Leonard Sands asked Seaman and Ono each to take the stand to confirm they agreed with the deal. Seaman issued curt responses to Sands' questioning, and Ono nodded politely. She left the stand in tears.


"I feel very very happy and satisfied with the results," said Ono, 69, outside the courtroom. "It was difficult for me to sit through, but it was something I had to do."

Some of the most emotional moments of the trial came when Ono's lawyers showed photos and video of John during his last year. The courtroom caught rare glimpses of the Lennon’s most private and final moments together. During the playing of one video, shot by John and showing Ono and a then-5-year-old Sean playing in the grass, the mother and her son, now 26, locked eyes.


LiCalsi said that the smoking gun in his case was Seaman's own diaries from the time he worked for the Lennon’s. In the diaries, he meticulously detailed his intention to exploit his job for future profit, through sale of a book on the family and publication of Lennon's personal manuscripts, letters and diary entries.


Ono obtained Seaman's diaries in 1982 from an anonymous source, along with copies of the diaries he had stolen from John, in exchange for "a large sum of cash," LiCalsi said. "Luckily we had the originals for 20 years."

According to LiCalsi, the lawyers worked on the deal until 2:30 a.m. Friday and didn't finalize it until 10 minutes before it was announced.


If the case had gone to the jury, as it was expected to Friday, Seaman could have been forced to pay Ono $74,000 in profits he gleaned from sale of Lennon memorabilia and photos.


"I feel that Mr. Seaman has made a career out of exploiting this family," said juror Anna Crafton, 27, a graduate student in Manhattan and an admitted Beatles fan. "I'm very pleased with the outcome."


In 1983, Seaman pleaded guilty to larceny for pinching the diaries and other items from the Lennon home, and received five years' probation on the condition that he return the stolen goods.


Seaman's lawyer, Glenn Wolther, said outside the courthouse that the settlement was a fair one given the circumstances. "The judge's decision yesterday dealt a critical setback to our case," he noted, referring to two rulings in which Judge Sands validated a confidentiality agreement Seaman had signed with the Lennon’s, and ruled that he had breached it.


Seaman did win two minor victories, however, in an otherwise lopsided deal. As part of the settlement, Ono will return Seaman's original diaries to him but will be permitted to keep copies. Seaman will also receive a photo credit each time one of his best photographs — a shot of John and Sean Lennon on the beach in Bermuda in 1980 — is used.


Seaman will also be prevented from exploiting, commercially or otherwise, any "information, fact, anecdotes or other statements relating in any way to John Lennon, Yoko Ono Lennon, Sean Lennon," the settlement reads.


Sands told the jury he didn't think there would have been a settlement if the case hadn't gone to trial. "Hopefully this is the end of a bitter chapter in their lives" said the avuncular jurist.


After court adjourned, Ono ducked into the jury room to personally thank each of the eight jurors, until a court deputy ordered her to leave. "That's the kind of thing you could be arrested for," said the deputy, who later smiled as Ono offered her, too, a personal thank you.


Sean Lennon, who entertained courtroom observers Thursday by making sketches of some of the witnesses, said he was relieved to have the case settled. "It dragged on longer than I ever could have imagined. I'm just glad it's over."




Lennon Still Rocks The Music World


Two remarkable albums by John Lennon are to be reissued on October 9, 2000, on what would have been his 60th birthday. The two albums initial release dates were separated by a decade, but their emotional resonance shows no sign of abating with the passing of time.


Rather, like much of Lennon's work, they have gained in stature and, although they were each released at the dawning of a new decade and at times of great social change - the 1970s and 1980s respectively – they are truly timeless. The reissue of these albums brings together John's first post-Beatles solo album with his last.

John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band is seen by many as John Lennon's masterpiece, offering a disquieting, riveting insight into a life spent in exploration and illumination. Containing many of his most incisive and harrowing songs, like 'Mother,' 'Working Class Hero' and 'God,' John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band was originally released on Apple on Dec 11, 1970.


Now re-mixed and digitally re-mastered under the supervision of Yoko Ono, the album is augmented by two bonus tracks - 'Power To The People,' a single originally released after the album, and 'Do The Oz,' originally the b side of the 'God Save Oz (Us)' single which was covered by Bill Elliott and The Elastic Oz Band. 'Power To The People' was originally released in the UK on March 12, 1971.


Packaging for the album will feature the original cover art and photographs for the album, plus rare pictures from the era and John's hand-written lyrics. 'Double Fantasy', by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, was released in the UK on November 17, 1980.


Announced in the press release as "a dialogue between men and women, and their fantasies," the album was released amidst a barrage of publicity; it was John Lennon's first studio album for 5 years and as word spread, excitement was palpable.


In 1970, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band had begun with the sound of a tolling bell. Ten years later, in a deliberate echo, John opened what was to be the final album of his life with another bell. This time it was no slowed-down harbinger of doom, but the benevolent tinkling of a traditional Japanese wishing bell and the track it introduced, '(Just Like) Starting Over' was a message of hope, of renewal, a message not lost on Lennon fans over the world.


By the beginning of December 'Double Fantasy' was in the US Top 10 and climbing to No. 1, and John and Yoko were working on a new Yoko track, 'Walking On Thin Ice' that had been finished too late for inclusion on the album. The track was finished on Dec 8th and is now inextricably linked to the events of that night, the night John Lennon was killed.


Its inclusion on the new version of 'Double Fantasy', along with two other bonus tracks, seems to complete a very powerful lyrical cycle, as it is now impossible to listen to 'Double Fantasy' as a record isolated from the events surrounding it.


Now digitally re-mastered, 'Double Fantasy' features 3 bonus tracks - the previously unreleased John Lennon song 'Help Me To Help Myself,' Yoko's 'Walking On Thin Ice' and 'Central Park Stroll,' a short dialogue of John and Yoko walking in Central Park. These tracks continue the duality of the original album, which is comprised of consecutive John Lennon and Yoko Ono tracks. 'Central Park Stroll' unites the two at the end of the album. Retaining the original artwork, 'Double Fantasy' also includes additional photographs from the era.


In the 20 years since his death, John Lennon's music has reached out to new generations of artists and fans alike. He has inspired countless musicians who have used his music as a springboard for their own creativity and helped take his message to a new audience.


It came as no surprise that Oasis ended their recent shows with his image projected onscreen behind them; they will not be the last to acknowledge their debt to who is seen by many to be the most important singer/songwriter of the last 50 years.


On October 9 in Tokyo the world's first permanent John Lennon Museum will open. Later that month there will be a major John Lennon exhibition at The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland.


Amongst the retrospectives, it is strange to relate that, to a lot of people over the world, John Lennon has never really gone away. The music on these two reissued albums helps us understand why.


John Lennon Remembered

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John Lennon Index




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