The story of John Lennon's Bermuda connection, including sailing through a mid-Atlantic storm in June, 1980 and his creative renewal, is commemorated in a new interactive app coming in November, “John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes,” with proceeds to be used to combat hunger, it was announced Sept. 23. The app is to be released Nov. 5.
“John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes” features the story of how Lennon’s creativity was reignited in conjunction with his wife Yoko Ono, who was at home in New York. The app, to benefit WhyHunger and the Imagine There's No Hunger campaign supported in the past by Ono, will also commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the release of “Double Fantasy: A Heart Play” and include excerpts of Lennon’s demo tapes recorded in Bermuda, game play and documentary storytelling.
“Writing Double Fantasy was a very exciting time creatively for both John and me,” said Ono in a statement. “I think the album app captures the sense of discovery and the artistic dialogue that John and I shared at that time and provides a new way to help us imagine a world without hunger.”
On the “play” side of the app, fans can find Lennon's Bermuda journey. On June 6, 1980, John Lennon sailed from Newport, Rhode Island for the island of Bermuda. The journey began under calm seas, but 30 hours in, Lennon and the small crew aboard the Megan Jaye were overwhelmed by a mid-Atlantic storm. As 25-foot waves and gale-force winds smashed the boat, the three-person crew fell violently seasick, followed by the captain succumbing to exhaustion, which ultimately left John Lennon alone to sail the Megan Jaye safely through the storm. Users guide the Megan Jaye through the mid-Atlantic storm while John, Captain Hank Halsted, and Tyler Coneys narrate their story.
App users can also visit the Forty Thieves Disco in Bermuda where Lennon first heard the B-52’s “Rock Lobster,” which he later compared to his work with Yoko Ono. Included are interviews with B-52 band members. Users can also create interactive illustrations of John and Yoko as they listen to their creative back and forth.
The “listen” side of the app contains demo tapes of several Lennon songs written while in Bermuda including “Woman,” “Starting Over,” “I’m Losing You,” “(Just Like) Starting Over,” “Nobody Told Me,” and “Dear Yoko.” The app edits together early versions of each of these songs for a look at Lennon's songwriting process. Lennon sang each new song over the phone to Yoko Ono. She was in turn inspired to write her own set of songs, including “Kiss, Kiss, Kiss,” “Moving On,” “Hard Times are Over,” among them. The demo tapes are complimented by visual materials provided by Yoko Ono, including John’s original hand-written lyric sheets and newly discovered photographs of John aboard the Megan Jaye.
“John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes” will conclude in Bermuda’s Botanical Gardens, where Lennon found a fressia labeled Double Fantasy. “I just thought, ‘Double Fantasy, that’s a great title!” Lennon said in the fall of 1980. In a nod to Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree, the app will allow users to create their own “Double Fantasy” flower. After making a wish, using the iPad’s microphone, fans will plant a seed in the app’s virtual Botanical Garden. Each wish will then blossom into a beautiful, unique flower that can be shared on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with #imaginenohunger.
All revenues for “John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes” will support the nonprofit WhyHunger and the Imagine There's No Hunger campaign's efforts to combat hunger and poverty. The Hard Rock Cafe will also offer limited-edition Imagine There’s No Hunger merchandise, including a bracelet, scarf and t-shirt, available exclusively at Rock Shops at Hard Rock Cafe, Hotels and Casino properties around the world and online at www.hardrock.com, beginning Nov. 4. All proceeds from the bracelet goes directly to WhyHunger’s grassroots partners and 15 percent of net revenue from the additional products will be donated to WhyHunger.
The album app is directed by Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Michael Epstein (“LENNONYC”) and veteran digital artist Mark Thompson. It was produced by Andrew Banks. eyeball, a New York-based strategic design agency, and interactive media studio Design I/O, are producers and creative directors for the app.
The app's website is www.lennonbermudatapes.com.
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