1969: Plastic Ono Band relax after their debut in Toronto

1969: Plastic Ono Band relax after their debut in Toronto

On this day in 1969, John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band relaxed in Toronto after making their debut at the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival festival the day before

The gig itself nearly never went ahead after difficulties assembling the musical giants of the group like Eric Clapton and Lennon himself. Ritchie Yorke joked in his book that he was responsible for the breakup of The Beatles by encouraging and eventually convincing John and Yoko to show up and play in Toronto. As Lennon arrived at the airport in Britain, he was quoted as saying “I’m going to Toronto to play in a great rock and roll show with all the greats, and it’s the first gig for The Plastic Ono Band”.

The debut performance of The Plastic Ono Band was the surprise headliner of the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival festival, a one day, 12 hour gig organised by famed Canadian promoters John Brower and Kenny Walker, with Ritchie’s help. Also in attendance were Alice Cooper, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and The Doors, amongst others. This came at a very reasonable $6, bringing forth an audience of over 20,000. Interestingly, this performance also spawned the popular audience reaction of lighting matches and lighters and waving, created by famed record producer, and the Plastic Ono Band’s introducer, Kim Fowley as a means to ease Lennon’s nervousness.

In the day following the gig, the group retired to a private estate owned by businessman John Eaton, where they relaxed and toured the grounds in golf carts, enjoying some of Canada’s scenery.