Entertainment behind the scenes
Stars, stores align for Lennon’s 70th birthday
What do Lady Gaga, Yoko Ono, Iggy Pop and Bloomie’s have in common? This week: They are all singing John Lennon’s praises. Well, Bloomingdale’s isn’t — not exactly. But you can buy apparel from Lyric Culture, which is featuring John Lennon’s songs, this week at the department store. Their t-shirts caught our eye as Oct. 9, what would have been the Beatle’s 70th birthday, draws near.
Numerous events are planned around the world. Lady Gaga, Yoko and Iggy played in L.A. and, of course, there is a lot of merchandising — record reissues, DVDs, Beatles and Lennon memorabilia. The Lyric Culture clothing comes from company founder Hanna Rochelle, also a singer-songwriter.
She was working on an album a few years ago with music producer Jack Douglas, who had been in the studio with Lennon on the day he was murdered in 1980. She dreamed up some lyrics and, lacking paper, wrote them on her jeans. A fashion idea was born. “I got inspired. When I got home, I pulled out a pair of old jeans and wrote the lyrics to ‘Dirty Laundry’ by Don Henley on them,” Rochelle told Reuters. She went to the studio the next day wearing them, and Douglas grew excited. He shot a photo of the jeans and e-mailed it to his friend, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, who Douglas knew would “flip” over the idea.
So, sensing she had a winner, Rochelle sought licensing rights from rock stars and launched the clothing line featuring lyrics by Bob Dylan, Joan Jett, Carly Simon, the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and others. “I started…offering this up as a new way to create revenue streams for songwriters,” said Rochelle, the 33-year-old daughter of classical conductor Eduard Schmieder.
Where Lennon is concerned, Rochelle obtained rights to the Beatles music, but Lennon’s solo works proved more elusive until Douglas, who worked on the re-issue of “Double Fantasy” with Ono, introduced the concept to Ono’s attorney. Ono fell in love with them and approved the line, Rochelle said. The Lennon collection includes scarves, cufflinks, necklaces, and bracelets ranging from $45 to $75. One t-shirt features Lennon playing piano with lyrics to “Imagine” placed above him. Cufflinks sport lyrics to “Instant Karma”.