The U.S. Army shirt/jacket worn by John Lennon on the cover of the “Live in New York” album has to be the second most famous article of clothing that he ever wore. In my opinion, his U.S. military shirt comes in right behind John Lennon’s Famous New York City Shirt.
The infamous photo for the cover was taken at the “One To One” Benefit Concert on August 30, 1972 at Madison Square Garden, New York. Here are some other photos of Lennon on stage with the shirt that night.
The shirt was one of Lennon’s favorites to wear in the early 70′s. He not only wore it on stage at Madison Square Garden but he also wore it for photo shoots and casually around town.
Lennon, also wore it to the Dick Cavett show where he explained where and how he got the now famous Army issued shirt…
“It’s very funny, I was in the German Airport, I had an American Army mac on and a guy came up and said, I just got out of the Army in Vietnam and if you’d like these clothes I’d love to give them to you, ‘I said alright’, and he sent me all these Army clothes in the post, A few years ago it was.” – John Lennon – September 11, 1971
The shirt is an OG-107 fatigue utility shirt issued to all U.S. Army soldiers circa 1970. Lennon must have been confused as this shirt was not used during the Vietnam War, rather it was used during the Korean War as you can tell by the patches.
It has the soldier’s name “Reinhardt” above the right pocket and the U.S. Army patch over the left pocket.
The patch on the top left shoulder is a “2nd Infantry Patch“. The 2nd Infantry Division is a formation of the United States Army. It’s current primary mission is the defense of South Korea in the initial stages of an invasion from North Korea until other American units can arrive.
The patch on the right breast pocket is a “Imjin Scout Regiment Patch”. The Imjin Scouts, are part of the 2nd Infantry Division and were active in Korea patrolling the area along the Imjin River from 1967 to 1994. A soldier would receive the patch after 20 patrols in the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) near the river.
Unless these were added by Lennon, soldier “Reinhardt” must have had the rank of “Sergeant” because the jacket has the Sergeant Chevron stripes on each sleeve.
Why Lennon, who had strong anti-war feelings chose to wear U.S. Army gear while he was pushing the “War Is Over” slogan could be a sign of his rebellious attitude. For the concert Lennon even wore a United States Army t-shirt under his shirt as well as the Army fatigue pants. Here are some photos of John arriving backstage at the concert…
The REAL coat was given to girlfriend May Pang in 1975. John wrote a love message to May on the inside of the coat and the coat is now on display in the John Lennon Museum in Japan.
UPDATE: We noticed that on the cover of the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, “Power To The People” (Apple R 5892) the “Reinhardt” patch is white instead of green and it is missing the patches. Did he have 2 of these jackets from the same soldier???