Personnel: John Lennon (vocals, guitar); Bob Harris (vocals, keyboards); Yoko Ono (vocals, drums); Howard Kaylan, Mark Volman (vocals); Frank Zappa (guitar, background vocals); Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Wayne Gabriel (guitar); Stan Bronstein (flute, saxophone); Ian Underwood (winds, keyboards); Bobby Keys (saxophone); Adam Ippolito (piano, organ); John La Bosca (piano); Nicky Hopkins, Billy Preston (keyboards); Don Preston (synthesizer); Jim Pons (bass instrument, background vocals); Gary Van Scyoc (bass instrument); Jim Keltner, Rick Frank (drums, percussion); Keith Moon, Aynsley Dunbar (drums).
Recording information: Abbey Road, London, England (1971).
While Lennon claimed to have always been politically minded, given his working-class upbringing in class-conscious England ("I've been satirizing the system since my childhood," he once mused), rock-pop sensibilities, clever wordplay, or matters of the heart usually took precedence in his musical output. But here Lennon and Yoko, accompanied by New York's Elephant's Memory, sing and scream freely against sexism in "Woman Is the Nigger Of The World" and "Sisters, O Sisters." They protest incarceration in "John Sinclair," "Attica State," and "Born In A Prison," colonialism in "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "The Luck Of The Irish," and racism in "Angela."
The richness of Phil Spector's production fills out the danceable grooves on nearly every track. Also featured is Lennon's paean to his adopted home, "New York City," with allusions to doping clerics and transsexual rockers as well as the highly quotable line, "What a bad-ass city!" On the bonus disc, Lennon and Ono get it on with Zappa and the Mothers in live sets from London and New York. Things heat up considerably with "Cold Turkey," freak out with "Don't Worry Kyoko," and veer into the ridiculous with audience participation on "Scumbag." SOMETIME IN NEW YORK CITY is some of the groovin'-est, most tuneful agit-prop ever committed to disc.