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'John Lennon, Songwriter' exhibit will open Oct. 4 at Grammy Museum

September 23, 2010 |  4:00 am

John Lennon 1975-Tony Barnard L.A. Times John Lennon's history and legacy as a composer and lyricist will be explored starting next month in conjunction with what would have the former Beatle’s 70th birthday in “John Lennon, Songwriter,” a new exhibit coming to the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles.

Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, is loaning the museum a number of items used by him, including several guitars, a pair of his signature round wire-rimmed glasses, the typewriter he wrote on early in his career, original drawings and handwritten lyrics to songs such as “Imagine” and his musical paean to their son, Sean, “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy).”

The exhibition opens to the public on Oct. 4, but Ono will attend a members-only preview a day earlier. 3, following her first-ever concert appearances in Los Angeles on Oct. 1 and 2 at the Orpheum Theater.

It also will feature rare film footage of Lennon, mementos from his pre-Beatles Liverpool band, the Quarrymen, the uniform he wore on the cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and a previously unreleased interview with Ono on the subject of his songwriting.

It’s one of myriad activities recognizing the 70th anniversary of Lennon’s birth. On Oct. 5, EMI and Capitol Records will reissue remastered editions of all of his post-Beatles recordings, on individual CDs and in an 11-CD box set with considerable bonus materials, along with a “Double Fantasy -- Stripped Down,” a newly remixed version of the final album released before Lennon was killed in 1980. A new book chronicling those recording sessions, “Starting Over -- The Making of ‘Double Fantasy’,” by musician and author Ken Sharp, is set for publication next month. Fans will gather for a birthday vigil at his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Oct. 9, and in November, PBS’ “American Masters” series will air “LennoNYC,” a new documentary covering Lennon's and Ono's years in New York, although the Grammy Museum will host an advance screening on Oct. 4.

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: John Lennon in 1974. Credit: Tony Barnard / Los Angeles Times