In the lead up to Christmas what a fantastic idea from the John Lennon Estate to mark the 50th anniversary of the release of the Plastic Ono Band song, ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’.
They have sent selected record stores and charities across the UK a very, very limited edition 12″ single of the song in the form of an acetate, each individually cut at Abbey Road Studios.
Only 50 of these have been produced – so they are instant rarities and valuable collectors items. The outer sleeve is stamped with the signature of Yoko Ono, and each recipient received a letter signed by Sean Ono Lennon outlining the Estate’s request that they use the disc (in which ever way they please) to help raise much needed funds for charity. Brilliant!
The entire idea is fully outlined on the John Lennon official site.
That got us curious to see how many of the 50 individually numbered acetates we could track down in the wild. We’ve pulled together these images of the discs – and sometimes their new owners who are charged with on-selling them for charity. Each recipient is doing this in their own way – so check out their details for how you could possibly secure one of these 50 rare acetates for yourself. You’ll be helping a good cause along the way!
21/50 Spillers Records – Cardiff, Wales. Spillers have given their record to Oasis, a charity doing good work with refugees and asylum seekers in Cardiff. They in turn are holding a raffle by donation. i.e. you make a donation and go in the draw to win! Details here.
31/50 Collage Arts is in London. It works in the community and offers artist studios, creative enterprise training, young people’s arts programmes, live music and events. They joined in a group of seven other recipient charities and used Crowdfunder to raise £13,720!
32/50 went to Earth Percent, a charity set up in part by Brian Eno to raise awareness of climate change. Watch their Twitter account for plans on how they’ll use the gift to raise funds.
33/50 Glasgowbury – Northern Ireland’s emerging music festival, established from a need to support and develop homegrown artists. They’re HQ is located in Draperstown and they’re taking bids via email.
34/50 This acetate went to Help Musicians UK, an independent charity that provides support and opportunity for professional musicians of all genres and career stages. They also joined in a group of seven other recipient charities and used Crowdfunder to raise £13,720!
?/50 Sister Ray Records – Soho, London (Not sure of what number these guys got, but they decided to hold an auction across their various social media sites – for example Instagram). It raised £2,300. Not bad!
39/50 Moving On Music – Located in Belfast, this is an independent, not-for-profit and registered charity. It provides an eclectic mix of music and education services to the entire community in Northern Ireland. See their eBay auction here.
41/50 The Music Venue Trust is a London-based registered charity which acts to protect, secure and improve grassroots music venues. They have uploaded a Facebook unboxing and appear to be totally surprised by what they find in the package! See their ticket raffle here.
42/50 Music Place North-West is a music therapy charity from Liverpool’s Merseyside and they are auctioning their acetate through Bonhams. It will be auctioned in the new year so watch their Twitter account for details.
45/50 Phoenix Arts Club is also located in London and they too have done a Facebook video unboxing in which they are absolutely bowled over by the generosity of Sean and Yoko in choosing them. Watch it. It’s great!
46/50 SWIM stands for Scottish Women In Music. It is a collection of music creators and industry professionals who identify as women working in all music industries. It’s committed to achieving a level playing field for women, pushing for gender equality. They’ve decided on an eBay auction for their acetate.
47/50 The Brain Charity is based in Liverpool and does amazing work helping those affected by neurological conditions to live longer, healthier, happier lives. They also decided to auction their ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ acetate disc on eBay – and it sold for £4,900. Wonderful effort!
?/50 The Coda Club in London seems to be associated with the Phoenix Arts Club (see 45/50 above) because their acetate disc is mentioned and seen still sealed in the Phoenix Arts Club Facebook video. The Coda Club is a meeting and support network for retirement-aged classical/jazz/session musicians to reconnect and meet and combat loneliness.
We reckon this is a fantastic initiative by Yoko Ono, Sean Ono Lennon and the John Lennon Estate to do some good in the world this holiday season. In it’s 50th anniversary year good on them for having the vision to use ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ in this creative way.