Thursday, June 13, 2013

John Lennon's Menlove Ave, by Andy Warhol

Menlove Avenue, named after the street where he grew up, was John Lennon's first posthumous solo release (it was preceded by Milk & Honey, a collection of outtakes from the Double Fantasy record he made with Yoko Ono). It consisted of outtakes from his Walls and Bridges (1974) and Rock N Roll (1975) albums, featuring both alternate versions of songs from those albums ("Bless You", "Nobody Loves You When You're Down and Out", etc.) and never before heard tracks ("Here We Go Again", "Rock and Roll People", etc.). 

It sold poorly, failed to chart in the UK and only reaching 127 in the US. 

The record was compiled by Yoko Ono, who, at the request of Capitol Records, also supervised the cover design. She invited her friend Andy Warhol to design the LP graphic and stories differ as to whether this is a new work, or one dating back from 1980, around the time that Warhol worked with Beatle portraits for a book published by Rolling Stone Press (a copy of which, signed by Warhol, sold at Christies last year for $4700 US). A differing account comes from the book Andy Warhol: The Record Covers 1949 - 1987 Catalogue Raisonne, which details Ono entrusting Warhol with two photographs of her late husband from her personal collection. 

The photograph Warhol used is by Iain Macmilan, who also took the Beatles' Abbey Road cover shot. He died in Scotland in 2006. Warhol used the same shot for both orange portrait on the cover and the pink one on the verso. The record was released in November 1986 and Warhol died three and a half months later in February of 1987. 

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