New app chronicles John Lennon's sailing trip

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NEW YORK — Six months before he died, John Lennon set sail from Newport, R.I., on an ocean adventure to Bermuda that awakened his desire to make music again and is now being chronicled in an electronic format he could not have conceived of.

A new app, "John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes," is being offered for sale on Apple devices for $4.99. It's loaded with interactive features, music, photos and interviews that detail a relatively unexamined slice of the former Beatle's life.

More important, it opens the door to a potentially potent new creative outlet for musicians and the struggling industry.

Users of the app can simulate the six-day journey through the recollections of two crew members and Lennon himself, in a Playboy interview conducted shortly after the trip. They can virtually visit the disco where Lennon heard a recording of The B-52s' "Rock Lobster," which reminded him of his wife Yoko Ono's music and coaxed him back to work. They can eavesdrop on the creative process as Lennon's last recordings took shape.

The project's director, "LennonNYC" filmmaker Michael Epstein, said he wanted to recreate the experience of becoming immersed in a record album, which he feels is lost in a world of electronic music files.

"That relationship that MP3s have severed, we tried to put back together," he said.

Lennon's wife had encouraged John to take the Bermuda trip in June 1980, which turned into a deeply cathartic experience.

The app is for use just on Apple devices at this point.