Slideshow, Podtalk: Johnny Brower on ‘Rock ’n Roll Revival' 1969, featuring John Lennon

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The Plastic Ono Band Models the Tee Shirts (l-r) ... Klaus Voormann, Alan White, Yoko, John and Eric Clapton.

CHICAGO – During the year 1969, in the midst of Woodstock and Summer of Soul, was the Rock ’n Roll Revival, taking place in Toronto, Canada. What makes this concert as significant as the other two – astoundingly, all three shows took place within three months of each other – is that a Canadian rock promoter named Johnny Brower snagged the biggest act of all for the show… John Lennon. The story of this amazing coup would make a great film, and that is what Brower is angling to create, along with Executive Producer Kristi Dunn Kucera.

The origin of the “Rock ’n Roll Revival’ lies with Johnny Brower, a young adult in the 1960s looking to participate in his passion … rock music. He began in a band, as most do, but his ability to book gigs expanded with other groups, and suddenly he was a promoter/organizer of shows, while barely being out of his teen years.

After scoring with a couple big rock shows in Toronto, his club The Rock Pile opened, and became a stop on the circuit of clubs in North America for acts like Led Zeppelin, The Who and Rod Stewart. After promoting a show with Chuck Berry, the idea came for a “Rock ’n Roll Revival” – set for September 13th, 1969 – with some of the great 1950s/60s acts like Berry, Little Richard, Bo Diddley and Jerry Lee Lewis. But ticket sales were lax, even with modern groups like The Doors and Chicago on the bill. Something had to be done to escalate sales. That something was John Lennon.



“The Rock ’n Roll Revival was named by Rolling Stone Magazine as the second most important festival show in rock history,” said Kristi Dunn Kucera, the Executive Producer for the feature film version. “But there is a better human angle because of the tortuous circumstances of the concert almost being cancelled, and Johnny Brower saving it through John Lennon.”

The rest … as they say … is rock and roll history, as promoter Johnny Brower relates below in three separate stories about the show, as told to Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com.

In PART ONE, Brower relates how John Lennon got involved …





In PART TWO, with Lennon in place, suddenly the pieces fall in place, or begin to fall apart (NOTE: Anthony Fawcett was John and Yoko’s assistant in 1969, CHUM is a Toronto radio station and “Edge-jo” was the leader of the Vagabond Motorcycle Club, the security and escorts for the bands) …





IN PART THREE, two rock ’n roll traditions – one infamously attached to Alice Cooper (Shep Gordon, Manager) – that had their origins at the Rock ’n Roll Revival …

In a Slideshow with photos contributed by Johnny Brower, the atmosphere of the Rock ’n Roll Revival in 1969. Click “Next” and “Previous” to scan through the slideshow or jump directly to individual photos with the captioned links below. All photos © Johnny Brower, Used by Permission.

  1. ROCKREVIVAL1: John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Johnny Brower (right of Yoko) meet the press.
  2. ROCKREVIVAL2: Poster for Rock ’n Roll Revival, Toronto, 1969.
  3. ROCKREVIVAL3: Yoko Ono, John Lennon and Johnny Brower.
  4. ROCKREVIVAL4: John Lennon performs at the Rock ’n Roll Revival.
  5. ROCKREVIVAL5: The Plastic Ono Band.
  6. ROCKREVIVAL6: The Plastic Ono Band Models the Tee Shirts (l-r) … Klaus Voormann, Alan White, Yoko, John and Eric Clapton.

For inquiries, contact Kristi Dunn Kucera KristiDunnKucera@gmail.com

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

By PATRICK McDONALD
Editor and Film Writer
HollywoodChicago.com
pat@hollywoodchicago.com

© 2021 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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