Happy Birthday, Yoko Ono

Few performers are as perfunctorily dismissed as Yoko Ono. Whether it’s her perceived role in the breakup of The Beatles, her Fluxus art/performances, or the admittedly difficult and often banshee-like caterwauling, that accompanied some of her avant garde rock experiments, few names elicit such vehemently negative appraisals. Undoubtedly her connection to the biggest band in the world exposed her to a wider audience, and one that was not entirely prepared for such challenging music, making her much more of a target than say the similarly styled Linda Sharrock, whose work graced the free jazz recordings of her husband, Sonny Sharrock’s, work.
The sad fact is that most people’s disregard goes without further investigation than these deliberately anti-commercial recordings. Yoko produced a varied body of work, which included subtle ballads, dance floor funk, straight rockers and the occasional nod to 60’s Japanese Pop, in addition to her experimentation with vocals, tape collage and electronics.
In honor of her birthday, I ripped the longest original mix of her mutant disco classic, Walking On Thin Ice, taken from the John Lennon bootleg, Yin Yang. This version clocks in at 8 minutes, and features amazing lead guitar all over it. I seem to remember a rumor that the guitar work was courtesy of Robert Fripp or Adrian Belew (which would make sense as fellow King Crimson member, Tony Levin, is the track’s bassist). Lennon does play guitar, quite possibly the lead, and it’s a tragic footnote, that this is his last recording. His fatal shooting occurred on the way back from the studio following the sessions for this track.

and onto the Avant Bluez Rock of her 1971 LP, Fly. Heavy Beefheart/Magic Band influence on display