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"Some Time in New York City" was released in 1972 as John Lennon's third post-Beatles album (and his fifth with Yoko Ono). Critically and commercially the album didn't do well, especially compared to Lennon's previous albums. "Imagine" had just come out in the 1971, and comparatively this one was brash, loud and more reflective of his political and new geographical surroundings at the time, in Greenwich Village.

As documented in The US vs John Lennon, when Lennon and Ono moved to Manhattan in 1971 they were confronted with many political issues and almost immediately contacted by activists Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman. Within a year, the FBI had opened a file on Lennon, certain he would do something to humiliate President Nixon. The couple's every move was documented as they tried to find grounds for deportation. According to Wikipedia "'Some Time in New York City' was packaged like a newspaper [specifically The New York Times] of the events covered in the album, causing even more consternation with an altered photo of Richard Nixon and Mao Tse-Tung dancing nude together. (The photo was stickered over on many of the issued copies, with a non-removable seal.)"

A second bonus live disc called "Live Jam" was added to the album, performances with Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention from a Fillmore East show in 1971 were included. The inner sleeve of the album features Zappa's album cover for "Fillmore East: June 1971," with Lennon's own red-ink credits and doodles over the original art.

One of the only times any of the songs from this album were performed live was on August 30th, 1972 at MSG when Geraldo Rivera invited Lennon and Ono to play a charity show called "One to One" (then New York mayor John Lindsay declared the date "One to One Day").