Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band

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Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band
Yoko Ono POB.jpg
Studio album by Yoko Ono
Released 11 December 1970
Recorded Early October 1970 (except "AOS", February 1968)
Studio Ascot Sound Studios, Berkshire; Abbey Road Studios, London
Length 40:29
Label Apple
Producer Yoko Ono, John Lennon
Yoko Ono chronology
Live Peace in Toronto 1969
(with The Plastic Ono Band)
(1969)Live Peace in Toronto 19691969
Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band

Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band is the avant-garde debut studio album by Yoko Ono. The album came after recording three experimental releases with John Lennon and a live album as a member of The Plastic Ono Band.


With the exception of "AOS", a 1968 live recording, the entire album was recorded in one afternoon in October 1970 during the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band sessions at Ascot Sound Studios and Abbey Road Studios, using the same musicians and production team.[1][2] Also recorded on this day were "Don't Worry Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow)" which ended up on the next album Fly, and "Between the Takes" which was released on Fly's 1998 CD reissue.[1] "Greenfield Morning I Pushed an Empty Baby Carriage All Over the City" was based around a sample from a discarded tape of George Harrison playing a sitar and a Ringo Starr drum break with an added echo effect[3] plus Ono's vocals with a lyric referencing a miscarriage.[4] Ono's vocalisations on tracks such as "Why" and "Why Not" mixed hetai, a Japanese vocal technique from kabuki theatre, with modern rock 'n roll and raw aggression influenced by the then-popular primal therapy that Lennon and Ono had been undertaking. According to Ono, the recording engineers were in the habit of turning off the recording equipment when she began to perform-- which is why, at the end of "Why", Lennon can be heard asking "Were you gettin' that?".[3]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[5]
Rolling StoneNo rating [6]

Initially on Apple Records, through EMI, Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band was released to considerable critical disdain in 1970, at a time when Ono was being widely blamed for disbanding The Beatles. Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band failed to chart in the UK but reached number 182 in the US.[2] Notable exceptions were the estimations of Billboard who called it 'visionary' and critic Lester Bangs who supported it in Rolling Stone. More recently, the album has been credited (like those of The Velvet Underground) with having an influence, particularly on musicians, grossly disproportionate to its sales and visibility. Critic David Browne of Entertainment Weekly has credited the album with "launching a hundred or more female alternative rockers, like Kate Pierson & Cindy Wilson of the B-52s to current thrashers like L7 and Courtney Love of Hole".

The covers of Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band and John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band albums are nearly identical; Lennon pointed out the difference in their 1980 Playboy interview ("In Yoko's, she's leaning back on me; in mine, I'm leaning on her"). The photos were taken with a cheap Instamatic camera on the grounds of Tittenhurst Park (their home at the time) by actor Daniel Richter—best known for playing Moon-Watcher, the head apeman of Stanley Kubrick's science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey. At the time, Richter lived with Lennon and Ono and worked as their assistant.

The album was reissued on CD by Rykodisc in 1997 with three bonus tracks from the era[8] ("Open Your Box", "Something More Abstract" and "The South Wind")[2] and an "LP replica" special edition was issued by V2 Records in Japan in 2007.[9]

The album was reissued on LP, CD, and digitally by Secretly Canadian on November 11th, 2016 with bonus tracks and rare photos.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Yoko Ono.

Side one
  1. "Why" – 5:37
    • An edited version became the B-side to Lennon's single "Mother"
  2. "Why Not" – 9:55
  3. "Greenfield Morning I Pushed an Empty Baby Carriage All Over the City" – 5:38
    • The title and lyrics come from Ono's book Grapefruit
Side two
  1. "AOS" – 7:06
    • Featuring Ornette Coleman, recorded on 29 February 1968, predating the rest of the material
  2. "Touch Me" – 4:37
  3. "Paper Shoes" – 7:26


Technical personnel[2]


  1. ^ a b Miles, Barry; Badman, Keith, eds. (2001). The Beatles Diary After the Break-Up: 1970-2001 (reprint ed.). London: Music Sales Group. ISBN 9780711983076. 
  2. ^ a b c d Irvin, Jim, ed. (2009). The Mojo Collection the Ultimate Music Companion. Edinburgh: Canongate. p. 228. ISBN 9781847676436. 
  3. ^ a b Spinning On Air, Yoko Ono & Sean Lennon Interview, May 12th 2012 Spinning On Air, Yoko Ono & Sean Lennon Interview, May 12th 2012
  4. ^ Blaney, John (2005). John Lennon: Listen to This Book (illustrated ed.). [S.l.]: Paper Jukebox. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-9544528-1-0. 
  5. ^ Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band at AllMusic
  6. ^ Bangs, Lester (4 March 1971). "Yoko Ono and Plastic Ono Band | Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  7. ^ http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/22393-unfinished-music-no-1-two-virgins-unfinished-music-no-2-life-with-the-lions-yoko-ono-plastic-ono-band/
  8. ^ Yoko Ono / Plastic Ono Band, The - Yoko Ono / Plastic Ono Band (CD, Album) at Discogs
  9. ^ Yoko Ono / Plastic Ono Band, The - Yoko Ono / Plastic Ono Band (CD) at Discogs