By John Curley
Above Us Only Sky, a new documentary from director Michael Epstein that concerns the recording of John Lennon’s landmark 1971 album Imagine, has its American premiere on A&E on Monday night, March 11th at 9 p.m. Eastern. Mixing vintage footage from 1971 with new interviews with some of the people who were on the scene, including bassist Klaus Voorman, drummer Alan White, engineer Jack Douglas, Yoko Ono and Julian Lennon, the film provides a very comprehensive overview of how the album was put together. Much of the vintage footage was shot at Lennon’s estate at Tittenhurst Park in Ascot, England. Ono’s influence on the album, particularly in regard to the title track, is discussed in the film. There is also an interesting segment in the film about how the album’s cover art was created. And the segments showing Lennon and George Harrison working together are pure gold.
One of the most moving segments in the film concerns a troubled Vietnam vet who has turned up at Lennon’s estate. Rather than telling the man to leave or calling the police on him, Lennon shows respect for him by speaking with him calmly, trying to explain to the man that he doesn’t have the answers that he’s seeking. In a nice gesture, Lennon asks the man if he is hungry and then invites him into the house for some food. It’s quite remarkable to witness, and Lennon’s empathy really comes across in the segment. Part of the segment can be seen below:
Another excerpt from the film can be seen below:
Additional information on the film from A&E’s Web site can be found at https://www.aetv.com/specials/john-and-yoko-above-us-only-sky.
The film aired in the UK on Channel 4 in November 2018. It is available to UK viewers on demand from Channel 4 and on the Channel 4 Web site at https://www.channel4.com/programmes/john-yoko-above-us-only-sky.