Ultimate Insult: Somewhere In NYC

In the first video, Frank Zappa tells the story of how the Fillmore East incident involving John Lennon and Yoko Ono started from an exciting jam between two musical iconoclasts, to a matter to be decided between opposing lawyers.

The second video is footage of Lennon’s and Yoko’s 1971 guest appearance at the Mothers of Invention gig at the Fillmore East.

Finally, as a point of historical interest, the following is an original vinyl version of Jamrag (anyone with even a passing affinity for Frank Zappa and the Mother’s music will quickly identify this song):


Author: urbangraffito

I am a writer, editor, publisher, philosopher, and foole (not necessarily in that order). Cultural activist and self-described anarchist.

8 thoughts on “Ultimate Insult: Somewhere In NYC”

  1. It’s a damn shame. That collaboration could have led to so much more fruitful material. I know in both his colossal, fuck-everything-the-Beatles-have-ever-done-but-buy-my-new-record interview with Jann Wenner in 1970 and his 1971 appearance on Dick Cavett Mr. Lennon had nothing but good to say about FZ. He even said he wished he’d been more like Zappa than a Beatle in the former.

  2. “Sometimes In NYC” with the live section Lennon / Ono / Zappa / Mothers was a sort of final kick to listen to FZ (after I listened to “We´re only in it” and “200 Motels” in 1971). And being familiar to “King Kong”, it was easy for me to spot this one. Btw FZ cut this part out on his release “Playground Psychotics”. I read before, that FZ gave the tapes to Lennon, so that the both of them were able to release it (their way), and that Lennon never gave royalities to FZ, but I didn´t know that lawyers were involved. A bit sad I think. Anyway, I always hated Yoko Ono´s screaming through “Well (Baby Please Don´t Go”)! This imho minor Lennon release (apart from very few songs on it) was always heaven for me, because my two heroes made music together.

  3. Yes. A damn shame. As evidenced by these two videos, FZ was both the more attentive businessman of the two (obviously, Lennon had little or no idea of the business-side of music and let others handle that end of it, while FZ was intimately involved with the day to day business of his career). This collaboration could have been epic. As it was, though Lennon had nothing but good to say about FZ, his people (managers, producers) didn’t think so. Why else would they have attempted to swipe publishing rights for King King under the title, Jamrag? FZ was no idiot. He had been publishing and protecting his musical rights since before the founding of the Soul Giants/Mothers.

  4. And who was it FZ had to deal with? Our dear old friend Allen Klein, who is remarkably not dead yet…

  5. Perhaps Lennon thought too highly of the Mothers and assume they were tight enough to spontaneously compose this song… or it could have been a sleazy business move, like Elvis refusing to sing other people’s songs unless he had full publishing rights, such was the case why he never performed “Wind Beneath My Wings”.

    Surely there’s a way to mix down Ono…

    Do you guys think Zappa edited the track in “Playground Psychotics” to highlight the fact that Ono really fucked up this collaboration: (“Aawk”).

  6. [quote comment=”4515″]
    Do you guys think Zappa edited the track in “Playground Psychotics” to highlight the fact that Ono really fucked up this collaboration: (“Aawk”).[/quote]

    When you compare the vinyl release of “Sometimes In NYC” and FZ´s “Playground Psychotics”, you can clearly hear the totally different mix of the source tapes. FZ´s mix is clear and very good and one can even hear Flo & Eddie sing “Yoko´s in a scumbag”, which was mixed away on Lennon´s release. Lennon´s release is somehow muddy.

    But when I heard this collaboration on vinyl in 1972, it was so powerful, so different to all I´ve heard before. Probably a bit far fetched, but punk music was still to come in 1977, but to me – with hindsight – it was a foreplay to it. Things to come.

    It would be really a gem to me, to know why FZ cut the “King Kong” phrase out of his release – it´s his tune.

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