Lennon and Yoko Liked Charlottesville!

When a delusional fan shot and killed John Lennon outside his home in New York in 1980, his family lost a father and husband; the world lost a visionary. But what has never been confirmed until now is that Charlottesville lost its chance to be Lennon and Yoko Ono's summer home.

In an interview with the Hook this week to promote the upcoming show of Lennon's art, the avant garde artist and Beatle widow Yoko Ono reminisced about driving through Charlottesville looking for real estate. Ono says she didn't remember the Charlottesville trip until very recently, a lapse she attributes to the timing of the trip, which occurred shortly before her husband's murder.

If the details of their Virginia visit remain hazy, Ono, now 74, says she now recalls that she and Lennon came away from the area with a positive impression.

"We were looking for a nice summer house," she says. Despite the fact that they didn't tour Monticello or check out other local attractions, she says the spirit of the area affected the artistic couple.

"It was almost like being in touch with the true history [of America]," Ono says.

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11 comments

In early 1979 I was selling real estate in Northern Virginia and had lunch at a little restaurant in Leesburg. When I went to pay, the cashier showed me the charge card slip (come on - nobody called them "credit cards" back then!) from a couple who had dined a little earlier that day - John Ono Lennon. They were definitely touring the region looking at property. They were rumored to have been very interested in a farm near Middleburg.

LOL!

Yacht Captain jr. (what a sissy name!) might miss C-ville, but C-ville doesn't miss yacht captain jr. We already have plenty of your kind around here 9 months out of the year. They're called little-dick uva frat boys and they're like gerbils in a cage, making messes all up and down Rugby Road and 14th Street and running around on their wheels, waiting for somebody to throw some fresh cedar shavings in there. Ha!

John Lennon wrote beautiful songs and held a deep personal conviction that individuals could makea difference to improve the world. Mocking people for admiring a man like that is like going into a chrich or synagogue and farting loudly during the benediction.

In other words, only a jackass would do it, little yacht captain.

How cool would it have been to come across a wizened Lennon, who would have turned 67 this year, enjoying a Chaps ice cream cone on the Downtown Mall? Or to bump into a Beatle amongst the stacks at Daedalus Bookstore?

Given the disparate talents of the street musicians hanging downtown, I should have liked to see Lennon with his acoustic guitar and an upturned hat on the pavement -- he might have done it just for grins and giggles -- and he'd play a few notes, lilting, and settle down thus...

Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup
They slither while they pass
They slip away across the universe...
Pools of sorrow waves of joy
are drifting thorough my open mind
Possessing and caressing me...

Jai guru deva om

Nothing's gonna change my world.

...Then he might riff on his famous comment at the coda of the documentary film Let it Be, when the boys finish their rooftop performance and Lennon says with self-deprecatory charm, "I'd like to thank you on behalf of meself and the band, an' I hope we pass the audition."

That would be at least as transcendent as another monument to Mistah Jefferson, and certainly more scintillating than a Grisham sighting.

Peace.

-- CC

There used to be an inn over in Nellysford, called the Rodes Farm Inn. They had a guestbook that included the signatures of John Lennon and Mick Jagger on a single page. The owner's mother had, helpfully, labeled each of the signature - "Beatle" and "Rolling Stone".

The story was that Yoko had sent John on a trip from New York to Nelson County to inspect some cattle that she was buying. John didn't know anything about cattle, but was told that he only had to make sure that they were alive before they got on the truck. Mick agreed to go along with John for the trip and the two of them had a good family-style dinner at Rodes Farm.

His son also seemed to enjoy Charlottesville...

2007-04-07 Sean Lennon - Starr Hill Music Hall, Charlottesville, VA

Sean Lennon blew the roof off the joint at Starr Hill Music Hall in Charlottesville, Virginia Saturday, April 7, 2007. After a beautiful and inspired six song set by the lovely, talented and funny Kamila Thompson, daughter of folk-rock music legends Richard and Linda and an equally intriguing set by the multi-instrumentally dexterous and aptly named ââ?¬Ë?Women and Children', Sean and his band took the stage by storm. His very presence sent shivers through the spines of hundreds of girls in the audience who attended solely to hear and see him play songs from his phenomenal and critically acclaimed new album ââ?¬Ë?Friendly Fire', which is rapidly becoming an underground indie ââ?¬Ë?must have' masterpiece.

As Sean unassumingly started the song ââ?¬Ë?Spectacle', which he has previously described as ââ?¬Ë?a song about people who always need attention', the audience was a little rowdy and wildly cheering, but respectful for the most part. The noise level only increased when he launched into ââ?¬Ë?Dead Meat', the first single off the album and the song he recently played on the Conan O'Brien show. This song gets stronger and stronger in concert each time he plays it.

ââ?¬Ë?Parachute' was the first song where the crowd really went wild and lost control, but as the mesmerizing melody and deeply heartfelt lyrics filled the hall from Sean's languid and sonorous voice, which has never sounded better, people started singing and swaying quietly along, apparently lulled into a hypnotic trance altered ever so subtly by Sean's every gesture and every note sang and played. ââ?¬Ë?Wait For Me' elicited a somewhat more reticent response, but was nicely done as well.

It's clear Sean and keyboardist/musical director Yuka Honda, both formerly of Cibo Matto, have fine-tuned the set and now play it with a precision that other bands can only dream of. Cameron Greider's guitar solos have now been brought forward, extended and are much more of a focal point during the show, which has brought an entirely new dimension to the songs that was somewhat lacking in the album versions.

Perhaps the hugest surprise of the evening was Sean's rendition of a brand new song ââ?¬Ë?Smoke and Mirrors' which demonstrated that his immense songwriting abilities have continued to mature. Although Sean's forum fans from www.seanlennon.com were not quite as surprised as the rest of the near capacity crowd, this song proved to be an early high point of the show. ââ?¬Ë?Friendly Fire' followed to great applause and was played, for the most part, by the book.

The stunningly beautiful ââ?¬Ë?Falling Out of Love' featured some of the best guitar work of the evening and even Yuka got into the act by playing a rock guitar solo on her synthesizer. Her keyboard work is a very subtle underpinning of the songs that Sean relies on to give his music a deeper sonic texture than the average rock band, but here she really let it loose and the audience was thrilled, as always, by her mastery, particularly in the mystically entrancing coda ââ?¬Ë?Piano Epic', which is her trademark.

ââ?¬Ë?On Again, Off Again', a nice enough song, is now a sing-a-long and this was also the case tonight. ââ?¬Ë?Headlights', another crowd favorite, was transformed from the clapping and stomping psychedelic pop song to a much more upbeat and interesting folksy ballad, whose opening chords are slightly reminiscent of the Grateful Dead's ââ?¬Ë?Uncle John's Band'.

At this point Sean's pedal broke and he said, ââ?¬Å?I think I broke the Hog. Just give me the distortion and I can do it." He filled the time with a hot Jimi Hendrix-style rock guitar solo that was blazing fast. It took everyone by surprise. Soon enough, the rare technical glitch was fixed and Sean launched into a memorable version of his wholly transformed Marc Bolan T-Rex cover ââ?¬Ë?Would I Be the One', which was played to great cheers and applause. Sean's guitar solo was magnificent here and improves with each new show.

After approximately one hour the band left the stage, but shortly Sean returned with his acoustic guitar and played a scintillating version of ââ?¬Ë?Tomorrow' which had couples moving closer together, kissing and slow dancing in the back of the hall. When the entire band returned, Sean gave yet another example of his spontaneous off-beat flights of imagination when he said: "This song is from way back, in the 1700's, actually 1769, when I was a goat on a farm and the farmer fed me green mystery juice. That's what it's about, but that was a long time ago. I have been reincarnated as a frog seven times and am now Sean. It's all just karma. That's all it is."

The song, ââ?¬Ë?Mystery Juice', was a first for me and highlighted how much tighter the band, particularly the rhythm section of drummer extraordinaire Bill Dobrow and bassist Brad 'The Handsomest Man in Show Business' Albetta, has become since I last saw them on December 18, 2006 at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA and also the incredible skills Cameron Greider is now displaying on guitar, bringing a much more rock and roll feel to the music.

As the last notes of ââ?¬Ë?Mystery Juice' filled the air, I left the hall feeling electric, euphoric, satisfied and as if I had been part of something special, a once in a lifetime performance of something only Sean Lennon could bring ââ?¬â?? a new kind of music for new kind of world. Music that has something for everyone.

John and Yoko owned many dairy cows, some of which were kept in Virginia. A friend of mine is a vet and his dairy-farming parents hosted John and Yoko at their home in 1979 in the Shenandoah Valley. Yes, John and Mick dined in Nellysford. As we all know, there are many celebrities who have or have owned rural properties in the Charlottesville area and it is quite likely that John and Yoko had an interest in joining that list. Would've been cool.

How cool! I have family in Charlottesville and Virginia is always a place I loved to go on vacation. I've been to many states in the US of A but Virginia always "grabbed" me with its beauty. Mountains, ocean, not too cold, not too hot, just seems about perfect to me. And I always found the people very friendly and pleasant too. So I guess I know what they saw there because I saw it too.

And just to add, it brings up the age old question, "What if"? Maybe if they HAD moved there, that scumbag who calls himself a human being wouldn't have found them.

A pity more superbly rich folks hadn't moved here. That would have made this a much better place.

Sometimes I miss CVL so much that I want to move back, but then I read this and realized that CVL is still full of sycophantic remoras who are actually "bummed" about not getting the chance to eat a piece of gum that John Lennon spit into the toilet at Blue Light. Lame! Ha ha ha ha ha!

Yes, that's a good idea: don't move back here. Whether there are sufficient interesting people in Charlottesville remains an open question. But the area does not need yet another asshole, little captain junior, so crawl back into your dung hole and while you're at it, enjoy a nice tall glass of shut the fu*ck up.