There is no pretence at journalistic objectivity in this report by Lillian Roxon about John Lennon and Yoko Ono ‘mingling with the citizens’ of New York. From her decisive ‘Well, it’s about time’, Roxon asserts her approval.
She recounts the famous couple’s wanderings about town, from shopping for antiques with Andy Warhol to seeing David Peel and the Lower East Side, a group that only performs in parks.
In accord with the style of ‘New Journalism’ popularised in the late 1960s and 70s, Roxon inserts her opinion into the story by saying, ‘The news that John was out and about was the best I’ve had in years’. Her personal but authoritative delivery adds to the sense that we are hearing news as it happens from a trustworthy source.
Watch and listen to clips about John Lennon and The Beatles in The Beatles curated collection.
This is an episode of the radio show Discotique – a two-minute ‘daily newscast from the world of music’ produced in 1971 and syndicated on 250 radio stations in the United States.
The cover image for this title is from 'John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono on their honeymoon in Amsterdam held a press conference in the Hilton Hotel' (1969). Published under Creative Commons 1.0. Photographer: Eric Koch.
Notes by Beth Taylor
Lillian Roxon (1932–1973) was an Australian journalist who lived in New York in the 1960s and 70s. Dubbed ‘the mother of rock’, she wrote the iconic Lillian Roxon's Rock Encyclopedia, which was published in 1969.
In the 1970s Roxon documented the emerging rock revolution and later the birth of punk from her haunt – the New York city music club Max’s Kansas City – which was frequented by Iggy Pop, Andy Warhol, Lou Reed, Debbie Harry, Alice Cooper, Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie.
During 1971 she wrote and presented a show called Discotique – a two-minute ‘daily newscast from the world of music’. The shows, which ran from March to October 1971, were recorded and then pressed onto vinyl LPs (20 shows fitted onto one LP) and syndicated on 250 radio stations in the United States. At the time, her voice would have been a curiosity for listeners unaccustomed to hearing Australian accents.
Roxon died tragically at the age of 41 from a severe asthma attack.
The Discotique recordings in our collection date from 28 June to 23 July 1971 and appear on an LP that the Roxon family donated to the NFSA in 2013. Given Roxon’s significance to the history of rock music, Radio Archivist Maryanne Doyle had long been looking for radio recordings of Roxon reporting on the music scene.
Maryanne first heard about the Discotique recordings thanks to Robert de Young, producer of the documentary Mother of Rock, about Roxon’s life. Mother of Rock (2010) is preserved in the NFSA collection as part of the National Documentary Program funded by Screen Australia.
Notes by Beth Taylor