Toronto Rock and Roll Revival 1969

Since I posted Paul McCartney’s Concert for Kampuchea yesterday I thought I would concentrate on the festival John Lennon popped up at in 1969… The Toronto Rock and Roll Revival. Unlike Kampuchea which was spread out on multiple days and nights, this festival was held on one day September 13, 1969.

John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band just played fifties songs plus John’s new song that Beatles rejected…Cold Turkey. The reason for the fifties’ songs was because the band had limited time to rehearse and they wanted to do songs they all knew.

It was a great festival lineup but it’s remembered mostly by John Lennon’s participation. The Doors were the headliners and John only agreed to do it

The concert was conceived by promoters John Brower and Ken Walker with financial backing from Eaton’s department store but stymied by poor ticket sales, the venture began to lose support. The festival was almost canceled but Brower called Apple Records in the UK to ask John Lennon to emcee the concert. Lennon agreed to appear on the condition he would be allowed to perform.

The Lennons flew in from England with a makeshift band that included Eric Clapton, Klaus Voormann, Alan White, and Yoko. They arrived at the backstage area at about 10 p.m, while Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys were singing Good Old Rock ‘n’ Roll to an audience of about 20,000.

Lennon was quoted as saying “I threw up for hours until I went on” because it had been three years since he played live in a concert setting. The band went on and did a good job…ragged but it was a hastily assembled band with only a rehearsal on the plane ride and backstage.

John Lennon:  “The ridiculous thing was that I didn’t know any of the lyrics. When we did Money and Dizzy, I just made up the words as I went along. The band was bashing it out like hell behind me. Yoko came on stage with us, but she wasn’t going to do her bit until we’d done our five songs….Then after Money there was a stop, and I turned to Eric and said, ‘What’s next?’ He didn’t know either, so I just screamed out ‘C’mon!’ and started into something else.”

Little Richard: “I remember the show that people were throwing bottles at Yoko Ono. They were throwing everything at her. Finally, she had to run off the stage. Oh, boy, it was very bad.”

John Lennon: And we tried to put it out on Capitol, and Capitol didn’t want to put it out. They said, ‘This is garbage; we’re not going to put it out with her screaming on one side and you doing this sort of live stuff. And they just refused to put it out. But we finally persuaded them that, you know, people might buy this. Of course it went gold the next day.”

John Lennon and Yoko’s setlist

  • Blue Suede Shoes.
  • Money (That’s What I Want)
  • Dizzy Miss Lizzy.
  • Yer Blues.
  • Cold Turkey.
  • Give Peace a Chance.
  • Don’t Worry Kyoko (Mummy’s Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow)
  • John John (Let’s Hope for Peace)


John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band

Whiskey Howl

Bo Diddley


Junior Walker and the All Stars

Tony Joe White

Alice Cooper

Chuck Berry

Cat Mother and the All Night News Boys

Jerry Lee Lewis

Gene Vincent

Little Richard

Doug Kershaw

The Doors

Kim Fowley The Master of Ceremonies

Screaming Lord Sutch


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

49 thoughts on “Toronto Rock and Roll Revival 1969”

      1. Yes they did…Excuse me for getting on a soapbox but in todays time it’s boring. People dress a like, houses look alike, and cars look alike…Individualism is needed more now. For goodness sakes people…as the song goes…express yourself.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha…I was thinking the same thing earlier and almost wrote express yourself. Great minds think alike! I don’t mind you getting on your soapbox. There needs to be more individualism and imagination. People need to remember to just be themselves. Everyone else is already taken. I agree about the cars and the way people dress. I don’t see it changing anytime soon! 😖

        Liked by 1 person

      3. No I don’t see it changing either. It’s like people are scared of being different. I don’t mind being diferent at all.
        Thinking outside of the box is something peole need to learn.
        Hope you and your family are doing well.


      4. I agree with you on that one. It’s time more people learn to embrace who they are, their differences and stop worrying about what the world is going to think. I love being different.
        My family and I are doing well, just finding lots of projects to do while we are quarantined. I hope you and your family are doing well.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Being different is not a crime…people should learn that.

        I’m glad you and your family are doing well. Jennifer and I are working from home and Bailey is here so we are not choking each other so that is a positive sign!
        Martha is living up to that commercial…a 80 LB puppy with no impulse control.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Oh Martha is happy alright…into everything possible…we are getting stir crazy but so is everyone else. We are lucky.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. She is and is disguised as an artist. She did have some exhibits that were clever but there are some rotten things about her. Manipulation and sometimes just downright rude.
        I don’t blame her for breaking up the Beatles…it was going to happen…. but I still don’t like her. The way she treated Julian after John died was not good either.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I think so. At least I’m not aware of anything comparable Ringo. Well, at least we still got him tour with his All-Starr Band. Though thanks to fucking COVID-19, I will have to wait until next year. He’ll be close to 80 by then – knock on wood!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh man that is right you were going to see him. When I saw him in 2012 he was all over the stage…it’s a great idea that he has with the all stars taking a turn. You get your moneys worth.

        Man this virus sucks…I’m a huge baseball fan and that is not going to happen either I don’t think. It has stopped the world.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. As much as it stinks, believe it or not, my concern actually is that there’s going to be pressure to reopen things too quickly once the curve is trending down. If that happens, the country better be prepared for a second wave, which I’m afraid won’t be the case – not even close!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yes I agree… they need to take this very easy. Like restaurants with a certain seating capacity along with everything else. They do need to wait as long as humanily possible. You know what would help? More tests available so we know who has it and who doesn’t.
        Heck we could have it and not know it.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. The damn governments stopped the world using a flu bug as an excuse. Our bodies are crawling with viruses, all day, every day. They started running psyop commercials (“social distancing”…”wash your hands”…) and, then, let the sheep police themselves (“go home”…”flatten the curve”).

        Our economy was going to crash, anyway…now, the damn flu gets the blame for it when it was actually a bunch of sociopaths/psychopaths.

        Now that they know this sort of thing works, they will roll it out…over and over, again. The seasonal flu will now be re-classified as the “New Black Death”. Watch.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. The world is stopped no doubt. What sucks is before everything stopped everyone was hiring…I mean everyone. I was getting call after call. Hell it’s going to be forever before it’s like that again.

        I don’t watch the news anymore…


  1. Those are both really cool and very long videos, but I wanted to see the part where the crowd throws things at Yoko but that must have been cut out of the video. I think that I might have thrown something at her when she was making those cat in heat noises.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. helped put Toronto on the music map! I thought I had read the Doors didn’t show up for it, but I may be entirely wrong about that. But it was Lennon that stole the show and made it remembered.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just checked because you had me wondering but apparently they did play… from Wiki…”The Doors closed the festival and Morrison begins their song “The End” by telling the audience he was honored to be on the same stage as the “illustrious musical geniuses” who had preceded the group that day.”

      But they were not recorded…thats probably the reason why you don’t hear more about them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes a really good lineup. That is why it is kind of surprising that John is what is known about the festival. I bet the Doors record company so no to recording. That would have made it a little more famous.


    1. I have a friend named Dave that is Canadian and he has taught me a lot about Canadian music with his posts. Bands that were huge in Canada but never heard from here like the Tragically Hip and other bands.

      Plus you gave the world Neil Young…it doesn’t get much better than that man.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The HIP was and is Mega here. Great no frills live band especally back in the early days.
        Actually Neil Young lived here in Thunder Bay for about 5 minutes lol before he went south forverer.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I would have loved to see it! It’s quite a lineup they had there.
      I know…it’s variety for sure. Chuck and Alice and Jim Morrison.


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