Tittenhurst Park

This Tittenhurst Park blog is dedicated to John Lennon's home in Sunningdale, near Ascot, Berkshire between 1969 and 1971. The aim is to gather as much material relating to the estate as possible - obviously with the emphasis on the Lennon-era, but also concerning Tittenhurst Park as it was before and after John Lennon's ownership. In addition, there will be posts about and associated with the Beatles, plus any other rubbish I feel like. The blog is purely meant for the entertainment of anyone (assuming there is actually anyone) who, like me, has an unhealthy interest in one particular Georgian mansion. Those with anything interesting to contribute in the way of links, photos, scans, stories etc. please do contact me: tittenhurstlennon@gmail.com
(Legal: this blog is strictly non-commercial. All material is the property of the photographer/artist/copyright holder concerned. Any such who wishes a picture etc to be removed should contact me and I will do so. Alternatively, if someone is happy to see their photo on here, but would like a credit/link then let me know and I'll be happy to provide one).


John Lennon: The Dakota, New York City 1973 - 1980

In 1973 John Lennon and Yoko Ono moved into The Dakota 1 West 72nd Street, New York City Perhaps, at least in part, a bid to re-focus their relationship and start afresh, John & Yoko decided to move to a new home. Built in 1888, the Dakota was New York’s first luxury apartment building and had become known as the first block of flats in the city to incorporate a lift into its building. Residents over the years have included Boris Karlov, Leonard Bernstein, Rudolf Nureyev, Paul Simon and Lauren Becall. The Dakota was also the location for the Polanski Horror classic, “Rosemary’s baby”. Initially renting apartment 72 from the actor Robert Ryan (Since the death of his wife, Ryan had not felt comfortable in the flat), John and Yoko lived here from May/June 1973 having got the keys to the property about a month prior. On 18th September 1973 John moved out, Yoko stayed.

Between 1973-75 John Lennon had various homes in Los Angeles* & New York City. This was the 18 month period that John himself later dubbed as his “lost weekend” during which, at Yoko's suggestion, May Pang (one of the Lennon's team of assistants) would look after John to the point of being his companion in all senses of the word. John decided to go to Los Angeles and upon arrival, checked into the Beverly Hills Hotel under the name of Mr. Corey. Next, John & May stayed at Lou Adler's mansion, 622 Stone Canyon Road, Bel Air. As the largely drunken sessions for a Rock 'N' Roll covers album stumbled to an unsatisfactory close, John sent a postcard to Derek Taylor in December 1973 which read:- "I'm in Lost Arseholes for no real reason . . . Yoko and me are in hell, but I'm gonna change it... probably this very day. Anyway, I'm still famous. He who laffs last is often hard of hearing.". On 18th February 1974, John and May Pang visited the Dakota to help celebrate Yoko's 41st birthday, returning to LA two days later. On 22nd March 1974, following some embarrassing press coverage over a drunken incident at a club, they then took up residence at the home of the record executive Harold Seiders, a beach house at 625 Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica which had been built in the 1930's by M.G.M. Studio's mogul Louis B. Mayer. It was later occupied by actor Peter Lawford and his wife Patricia Kennedy, sister of John (then President) and Robert. JF Kennedy had spent time with Marilyn Monroe here. Regular guests of John and May at this property included Ringo, Keith Moon, Harry Nilsson and Klaus Voorman, many other pop stars of the day also dropped by including Paul and Linda McCartney. On April 27th, John and May decided to return to New York, taking up temporary residence at the luxurious Pierre Hotel on Fifth Avenue before moving into a small apartment at Eddie Germano's two-storey building on East 52nd Street on 16th July 1974 where they were again visited by the McCartneys. 1974 was also the year in which John was reunited with his son (having not seen him since the summer of 1971). In November 1974 John was back at the top of the US charts (both album and single making #1) but the underlying misery and hopelessness expressed in many of the lyrics on the otherwise commercially minded Walls and Bridges LP made it clear that John was desperately missing Yoko. The reconciliation process began with a back stage meeting at Madison Square Garden where John was making a guest spot appearance at Elton John's Thanksgiving concert.
*John and Yoko stayed at The Chateau Marmont, 8221, Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood at some point. And John (probably with either Yoko or May) also stayed at 8818 Thrasher Avenue, Los Angeles.

John Lennon with Sean Lennon and Yoko Ono in October 1975

In 1975 John Lennon returned to The Dakota 1 West 72nd Street, New York City Picture from NY Beatlefest 2003 Although May Pang claims that Yoko somehow had John tricked, hypnotized and brainwashed into returning to the Dakota on 31st January 1975, the interviews he gave following the announcement of the failed separation clearly give the impression of a man who had his life firmly back on track. On John’s 35th birthday Yoko finally gave birth to their first child, Sean Taro Lennon, at the New York Hospital, but the joy quickly turned to anxiety as doctors insisted on carrying out highly dangerous and questionable tests on the child which eventually led to John and Yoko taking Sean and discharging themselves.

No longer under contract to produce any further product for EMI and now fully aware of his shortcomings as a father to his elder son Julian, John slowly withdrew from public life to become a househusband (long before the role of full-time Daddy was considered to be anything but a necessity in exceptional circumstances). A 1976 recording session for a song he had written for Ringo proved to be Lennon's last studio work for 4 years. With the threat of deportation finally lifted in the form of a "Green Card", John was able to travel beyond American borders for the first time since 1971, trips abroad included family holidays in Japan (where, in 1977, he made a rare public appearance in the form of a press conference) and sole sojourns to such places as Hong Kong and South Africa. John continued to write and he recorded numerous home demo's, one of which included a chilling passage with John declaring "I'm bleeding now, I'm bleeding now, stop the bleeding now, stop the bleeding now, oozing out, dripping down tables, silent shout".

John and Yoko bought a number of holiday homes as well as farm land during the late 1970's into 1980. In 1980, John was inspired to make a comeback and in the summer recorded the Double Fantasy album with Yoko in what was evidently a refocusing of their love for eachother following another testing period, but tragically their Dakota home was to be the scene of Lennon's terrible and shocking murder near the guard stand outside The Dakota’s 72nd Street entrance at 10:52pm on Monday 8th December 1980, John was shot five times from behind at point blank range by a deranged fame seeker. After bleeding to death, John Lennon was officially pronounced dead at 11:07pm at the St.Luke‘s Roosevelt Hospital on West 59th Street.

On March 21st 1984 Yoko, flanked by both Sean and Julian, officially opened New York's version of "Strawberry Fields", a teardrop shaped memorial garden dedicated to John in Central Park which now serves as a focal point for fans wishing to reflect on the life of the world's most celebrated Rock star. Yoko and Sean still live in the Dakota whilst offices on the ground floor administer the Lennon estate.

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