Richard Neville, the rebel journalist who inspired two songs by John Lennon, has died in Sydney at age 74.
Richard Neville started ‘Oz’ magazine in 1963. The radical publication was an immediate hit with university students. Neville and his co-founder Richard Walsh were shortly after charged with printing an “obscene publication” after publishing a photograph of themselves appearing to be urinating in a Sydney fountain. Neville received a prison sentence for the second charge but was acquitted on appeal due to public protest.
Neville relocated to London in 1967 and started an English ‘Oz’. His writers included Germaine Greer, Clive James and Lillian Roxon (who would later write the first Rock Encyclopaedia).
The UK ‘Oz’ championed legalised usage of marijuana and magazine started to hold “pot parties” in Hyde Park. John Lennon and Yoko became huge fans and supporters.
In the UK Neville was again charged, this time with “conspiracy to corrupt public morals”. Lennon leapt into action. H John Lennon wrote ‘God Save Oz’ and marched with Yoko Ono in the streets of London.
John Lennon God Save Oz
‘God Save Oz’ was recorded in Mya and June of 1971. He features John Lennon on vocals and electric guitar, Klaus Voorman and bass and Ringo Starr on drums. It was released as a single to raise money for Neville and the Oz founder’s legal fees. ‘Do The Oz’ on the b-side.
John Lennon Do The Oz
The songs failed to chart for Lennon in 1971 but were later reissued on the 1998 John Lennon Anthology box set.
‘Do The Oz’ was remixed in 2000 and now appears on the expanded edition of the ‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’ album along with ‘Power To The People’.
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