June 6, 2018
In 1969, an eager young woman made her way into the office of the most famous band in the world and asked for a job opening.
During the 1960s and 1970s, when “Beatlemania” dominated the world, May Pang landed a spot in the royalty department for the company that managed the band that created a musical “Revolution” and took the world by storm: the Beatles. She was excited to take on this position and was enthusiastic to be learning on the job. In addition to the Beatles, the company she worked for also managed another group you might have heard of, the Rolling Stones.
After the Beatles’ breakup in 1971, John Lennon and Yoko Ono chose Pang to be their production coordinator and personal assistant. Pang booked the musicians, the studio, and did whatever was necessary to make the recording sessions run without a hitch. While working for Lennon and Ono, Pang said there were “no set rules” to what her job could entail. It was possible for her to do “anything and everything.”
Pang, who has been in the music industry since 1969, has enjoyed her time working at different music studios, including Island Records and United Artists Music Publishing. At Island Records, she handled Robert Palmer and Brian Eno. While at United Artists Music Publishing in Los Angeles, New York, and Nashville, she was given the opportunity to work with both known and unknown artists. Pang helped Jon Bon Jovi, who was unknown at the time, find songs to create a CD. In the late 1970s, she worked with Third World, as well as other Reggae bands. “Each situation was unique, and I enjoyed all of them,” said Pang.
Another influential artist of the late twentieth century was David Bowie, also known for a time as Ziggy Stardust. Bowie was very influential in the music industry and asked Pang to participate in his music video for “Fashion.”
Lennon wrote “Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird of Paradox)” for Pang, as she was his girlfriend when he was separated from Ono. Lennon and Pang began their relationship in 1973. She also sings on his track “#9 Dream.” In addition to “Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird of Paradox)” and “#9 Dream,” Pang also enjoys Lennon’s song “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night.” This was Lennon’s “only #1 single” throughout his entire musical career. These three songs can be found on Lennon’s album, “Walls and Bridges.” Out of the vast collection of music Lennon wrote, the album “Walls and Bridges” was Pang’s favorite.
Music in general can impact a community, but the Beatles impacted a generation. They experimented with different sounds, lyrics, and looks, significant to the art of music. During his solo work, Lennon wrote lyrics that “were so profound,” people could genuinely relate to his music.
Even though she is currently “semi-retired,” Pang continues to work with musicians, producers, and songwriters. Pang made a career out of music, as she has always loved it. To her, musicians have that ability to connect with people and put their emotions into words so others can relate.