11th December 1968 was the first time John Lennon played publicy in a band without The Beatles. It was a fractious time for the Fab Four.  During the recording of the ‘White Album’ tensions flared – Lennon and Paul McCartney recorded their songs separately; George Harrison worked with Eric Clapton as guitarist on ‘My Guitar Gently Sleeps’; while Nicky Hopkins played keys on Lennon’s ‘Revolution’; and Ringo Starr had quit the band in August, then rejoined in September, just in time to form a united front for the famous ‘Hey Jude’ promo. The Beatles were changing, as their personal lives had greater influence on their individual creativity.

This was particularly true for Lennon, who was about to start one of his most prolific, creative and headline-grabbing phases.

In October, Lennon and new love, Yoko Ono were busted in a set-up raid at their London flat.

In November, the ‘White Album was released., and Lennon was officially divorced from his wife, Cynthia.  Ono and Lennon released ‘Two Virgins‘, a farting soundscape created by naivety and love.

That same month, Ono suffered a miscarriage, but not before Lennon recorded the unborn baby’s heartbeat and released this unsettling murmur on the couple’s next album ‘Unfinished Music No 2: Life With the Lions‘.

Ten days after the ‘White Album’ hit the UK No 1 spot, Lennon guested on ‘The Rolling Stones’ Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus‘, with a hastily assembled supergroup, he called ‘The Dirty Mac’, in snide reference to latest chart flavour of the month, Fleetwood Mac.

The Dirty Mac consisted of Cream’s Eric Clapton on lead guitar, The Stones’ Keith Richards on bass, Mitch Mitchell, from The Jimi Hendrix Experience on drums, and Lennon as Winston Leg-Thigh on rhythm guitar and vocals.

The Mac should have been the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band ever.  But this was just a one-off gig, where they performed a Beatles’ cover, Lennon’s ‘Yer Blues’ and gave a backing jam to Yoko Ono’s improvised warbling.

This odd mix of good and bad performance revealed some very unique talent at its height.  But, it was also tarnished with a self-indulgence that meant such supergroups, such artists, were soon to be out of touch with a younger generation who sought their lead and aural pleasures with The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, David Bowie, Marc Bolan, Roxy Music and The New York Dolls.

Lennon tried his hand at another supergroup the following year, this time with Clapton, Ono, Klaus Voorman, and Alan White, performing a Live Peace gig in Toronto.

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