John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band: “Power To The People” (1971)

power to the people record sleevePower to the people, right on! Not the people in power, or the people who voted for the people in power, but those other people. No, not the lazy ones who didn’t vote. To the right of them. The malcontents who voted for the wrong guy last time. Those people. Seems like a good idea in theory, and then one day you wake up and pumpkinhead is president. I never liked the politics of this song. Power is a gun, and you can argue endlessly that it’s a deterrent and not a weapon, but no one ever uses it that way. Musically, this song is another of John’s anthems, and I didn’t enjoy any of those except “Woman Is The Nigger of the World.” Brilliant track, that. The B side was Yoko Ono’s controversial “Open Your Box,” which was banned in the UK. The US single featured a different song in its place, “Touch Me” from Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band. “Open Your Box” and “Touch Me” are both pretty amazing avant-garde compositions and make a strong case for considering Yoko as a serious artist. It’s too bad she began writing pop songs instead, since her strengths clearly lie in the field of musique concrète.

Original 7-inch single
A1. Power To The People (John Lennon) (3:15)
B1. Open Your Box (Yoko Ono) (3:25)

Original 7-inch single (US)
A1. Power To The People (John Lennon) (3:15)
B1. Touch Me (Yoko Ono) (3:40)

The Players
John Lennon (vocals, guitar), Yoko Ono (backing vocals, piano), Rosetta Hightower (backing vocals, handclaps), Bobby Keys (saxophone), Billy Preston (piano, keyboards), Klaus Voormann (bass), Alan White (drums). Produced by Phil Spector & John & Yoko (A1), John & Yoko (B1).

The Plastic
Released on 7-inch single on March 12, 1971 in the UK and Denmark (Apple, R 5892), on March 22, 1971 in the US (Apple, 1830) and in 1971 in Argentina (Odeon, 8702), Australia (Apple, 9488), France (Apple, 2C 006-04766 M), Israel (Parlophone, R 5892), Japan (Apple, AR-2773), Spain (EMI Odeon, J 006-04.766) and Sweden (Apple, E006-04766) with picture sleeve; reached #7 on the UK charts and #11 on the US charts (charted on April 3, 1971 for 9 weeks).

  1. Re-issued on 7-inch single in the US (Capitol, 1830).

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