John Lennon has two live albums in his solo catalogue, the Live Peace In Toronto 1969 with the Plastic Ono Band and another that was recorded three years later in New York City. Whereas the first came out contemporaneously, the Live In New York City album was released posthumously in 1986.
Recorded on August 30, 1972, at Madison Square Garden, Lennon performed two shows, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, to raise money for children with mental health issues. Released in February 1986, the album made the US charts on March 22 and peaked shortly after at No.41.
Live In New York City was John Lennon’s last full-length concert performance, shortly after the release of Some Time in New York City. The concerts, billed as “One to One,” also featured Stevie Wonder, Roberta Flack, Melanie Safka, and Sha-Na-Na, but none of their performances are featured on the album or subsequent video release.
Backing Lennon and Yoko Ono were Elephant’s Memory, who played on Some Time in New York City. The material that was performed was largely drawn from John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, Imagine, and Some Time in New York City, but also included “Come Together” from the Beatles’ Abbey Road and covered Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog” before finishing with, “Give Peace a Chance.”
There is a poignancy to this album as it was the only rehearsed and full-length live performances of John’s solo career, and his first – and last – formal, live concerts since the Beatles retired from the road in 1966.
Yoko produced the album, and, sadly, these two concerts also marked the last time that John and Yoko performed together on stage.