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Songs of the day.

John Mooney bluesful solo

On this day in music January 22nd.

1981
The John Lennon tribute issue of Rolling Stone is published with the famous Annie Leibovitz photo of a naked Lennon embracing a fully-clothed Yoko Ono. Lennon’s full interview is not published by the magazine until 2010.

John and Yoko first made the cover of Rolling Stone with the November 23, 1968 issue celebrating the one-year anniversary of the magazine. As on the cover of their album Two Virgins, they were naked for the cover as well, along with a quote from the Bible: “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” That photo was also shot by Leibovitz.

Lennon had done an interview with the magazine to promote his 1980 album Double Fantasy, his first since 1975. For the cover photo, he insisted Yoko join him. Leibovitz was dispatched to their apartment in the Dakota building in New York, where she showed them a sketch of the pose she had in mind. John and Yoko gave it a go, he wearing nothing and she fully clothed. When Leibovitz showed them a Polaroid, Lennon said it captured their relationship exactly. That night, Lennon was shot and killed outside the building.

When the issue arrives, it’s dedicated entirely to Lennon. The cover is simply the photo and magazine’s logo.

More news at Music History Calendar