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Lot 173: John Lennon


December 4, 2006
New York, NY, US

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A lithographic print on BFK Rivers paper, signed by John Lennon in pencil and inscribed in pencil lower left H.C. VIII/VL [Hors Commerce], the lithograph additionally signed and inscribed in black felt pen Woman Is The Nigger Of The World, John Lennon 23/9/72 and annotated by Lennon with two musical notes -- 22 3/4 x30in. (57.8x76.2cm.)


The vendor purchased this lithograph from a charity auction in aid of the National Organisation For Women. John Lennon and Yoko Ono donated it to the auction together with the note in the previous lot.

Lennon rarely signed anything with a song lyric. Woman Is The Nigger Of The World was released as the opening track on the 1972 album Sometime In New York City. Yoko Ono originally coined the phrase in the late 1960s and the track was intended as a negation of sexism. It was also issued as a single in the US but the reaction was controversial and the single was subsequently banned although many prominent blacks including Dick Gregory spoke out in defense of the song. Lennon and Ono held a press conference to explain that the word "nigger" was allegorical and not intended as a racist comment but nevertheless the phrase was considered by many to have over-stepped the mark. The b-side to the single was Sisters O Sisters, Yoko Ono's equally feminist song.

During the "One to One" benefit concert on 30 August, 1972, Lennon introduced the track Woman Is The Nigger Of The World and commented ...the next song is one of those many songs of ours that get banned. It's something Yoko said to me in 1968. It took me till 1970 to dig it...

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Rock and Pop Memorabilia

December 4, 2006, 12:00 AM EST

New York, NY, US