Culture / Film

A new documentary telling the story of a fabled John Lennon performance is in the works

I can't imagine I'm alone in that any mention of the Beatles makes my ears prick up. It is simply not possible to overstate how the band reshaped celebrity, music, culture, all of it. So when we heard news that there may be a documentary in the works about John Lennon, well, it certainly stole out attention.

Ron Chapman, who you may know as director of The Poet of Havana, has taken on the almighty task of directing a documentary following John Lennon's fabled solo performance at the 1969 Toronto Rock & Roll Revival festival. From what we can tell, Rock & Roll Revival, currently a working title, will tie together all the nitty gritty details of that fateful evening.


What will Rock & Roll Revival be about?

The year was 1969, what we now know as the hot bed for a cultural revolution. John Lennon was in the studio recording Abbey Road with Paul, Ringo and George, in what would be his last days in the band. Meanwhile, John Brower was wondering if he'd have to cancel his music festival because ticket sale were low. The festival in question would take place at the University of Toronto 20,000 seat stadium. Set to play were Chuck Berry, The Doors, Little Richard, Chicago, Alice Cooper, Jerry Lee Lewis among others. It was only when Brower invited Lennon to play at the festival and Lennon arrived at the stadium with Yoko Ono, that all the tickets completely sold out.

On stage with Lennon, was a quickly assembled band of Yoko Ono, Eric Claption, Alan White and Klaus Voorman. What I'm sure was a goosebump-inducing sight. Together they covered songs like Blue Suede Shoes, Yer Blues and Dizzy Miss Lizzy. 

Luckily for us, D.A Pennebaker caught this all on 16mm film. Previously unreleased, the footage will be be used in the 90-minute documentary along with a mix of accounts from those who saw it all firsthand. Pennebaker, known for his film on Bob Dylan Don't Look Now, will be executive producing the film through his production company Pennebaker Hegedus Films. Production began this month, taking place in Toronto, Los Angeles, New York, London and Berlin. No release date has been confirmed yet.

All we know is we're itching to see it.

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