Yoko Ono’s Music of the ’70s is Back

Yoko Ono and John Lennon in a film still from “Imagine,” 1972 (photo by Peter Fordham, ©Yoko Ono)

If the decade of the1960s was a period in which many bands helped expand rock’s expressive language, the following decade, at least in the United States, was dominated by singer-songwriters voicing personal takes on life and love, and on a range of social and political issues, too.

Reaching beyond familiar be-my-baby, my-baby-left-me clichés to plumb more complex emotional depths, singer-songwriters of the 1970s were legion: Laura Nyro, Janis Ian, Carole King, Carly Simon, Roberta Flack, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Marvin Gaye, John Denver, Jim Croce, Todd Rundgren, Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen, Randy Newman, Neil Young, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen…

…and Yoko Ono.

Yoko Ono record-album covers: “Fly,” 1971; “Approximately Infinite Universe,” 1973; and “Feeling The Space,” 1973 (cover photos, left to right: John Lennon, © Yoko Ono; © Bob Gruen; collage photos © Bob Gruen)

Yes, Yoko, who in the early 1970s composed and recorded a series of albums whose technical innovations, narrative themes, and emotional temperatures were as wide-ranging as those of many of her chart-topping peers. Now, these stylistically diverse Ono albums, including Fly (1971), Approximately Infinite Universe (1973), and Feeling the Space (1973), have been jointly re-released by Secretly Canadian and Chimera Music. They constitute the second batch of newly re-mastered Ono albums from past decades that have been jointly issued by these two U.S.-based labels since late last year. Over the next few years, they will continue re-releasing all of the albums Ono made through the mid-1980s as vinyl LPs, compact discs, and digital downloads.

For their joint re-releases of Yoko Ono’s albums, the record companies Secretly Canadian and Chimera Music have created new vinyl-LP and CD labels inspired by Ono’s book, “Grapefruit,” 1964; they recall the…

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