Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Ballad of John and Yoko

Yoko Ono met then-Beatle John Lennon at the Indica Gallery in London, at a preview of her exhibition. She gave him a card that said simply, "Breathe." He found her intriguing, and they remained acquaintances until 1968, when they had an affair (John was still married to first wife, Cynthia Powell). They created "Unfinished Music No.1: Two Virgins." Cynthia walked in on them one morning, and soon after John was divorced. He and Yoko soon became inseparable, and John even brought her into the studio, much to the annoyance of the other Beatles. He wrote many songs about and in reference to her; "Julia" (ocean child), "Happiness Is A Warm Gun," "I Want You (She's So Heavy)," and "Don't Let Me Down." Yoko's introduction of John to avant-garde led to "Revolution 9." They married in 1969 in Gibraltar-- the song "The Ballad of John and Yoko" and "Give Peace A Chance," spawned from that. They released "Unfinished Music No.2: Life With The Lions" later that year, along with "Wedding Album." John changed his middle name to Ono, though his full name legally remained John Winston Ono Lennon. At the Toronto Rock and Roll festival, the couple collaborated with Eric Clapton, longtime friend to the Beatles Klaus Voormann, and Alan White to create the Plastic Ono Band, of which a live album was released, "Live Peace In Toronto." John and Yoko would collaborate on three more albums-- "Some Time in New York City," "Double Fantasy," and the posthumous "Milk and Honey." Soon after "Live Peace", in 1970, the Beatles effectively disbanded, leaving John to go solo. 
John left Yoko for a period of 18 months in 1974, called his "Lost Weekend." He partied with the likes of Harry Nilsson, Ringo Starr, and Keith Moon for a while, but missed Yoko and reconciled with her in 1975. That year on John's birthday, his son with Yoko, Sean, was born. John became a house-husband while Yoko pursued her career until 1980, when he recorded and released "Double Fantasy" with her. Three weeks after it was released, John Lennon was murdered in front of the Dakota in New York City.
John's  solo songs refer constantly to Yoko as his love (perhaps with the exception of "Walls and Bridges," and "Rock 'N' Roll,"), in the following songs: "Hold On," "Well Well Well," "Oh My Love," "Oh Yoko!," "Aisumasen (I'm Sorry)," "One Day (At A Time)," "Out The Blue" (my absolute favorite Lennon solo song!), "You Are Here." (These do not contain songs about Yoko from aforementioned collaboration albums.) Yoko referred to John quite a bit, especially in "Mrs. Lennon," "Goodbye Sadness," and "I Don't Know Why."
I know, this is a very long post, but John and Yoko have such a story... And let me be one of few hardcore (or at least, I think I'm hardcore) Beatles fans who say that they like Yoko Ono. The Beatles would have broken up with or without her, she was just one factor of many. Also, I always get her in those "Which Beatle Wife Are You?" quizzes!

(Photos from F*** Yeah John & Yoko)

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