If this year-long blogging project I started was good for nothing else, it was to educate me on the story of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Not being a Beatles fan I only knew that Yoko Ono is often blamed for breaking up the Beatles. But when I read that this album was pretty much half an album that she and John recorded together and named them the same and had almost the exact same cover art, I was intrigued. I thought it was sweet that their covers were exactly the same except in John’s Yoko is holding him and in Yoko’s John is holding her.
So of course, I turn to Wikipedia for the Readers Digest version of Yoko and John. Here is what I found out:
In May 1968, while his wife Cynthia was on holiday in Greece, Lennon invited Ono to visit. They spent the night recording what would become the Two Virgins album, after which, he said, they “made love at dawn.” When Lennon’s wife returned home, she found Ono wearing her bathrobe and drinking tea with Lennon who simply said, “Oh, hi.” Ono became pregnant in 1968 and miscarried a male child they named John Ono Lennon II on 21 November 1968, a few weeks after Lennon’s divorce from Cynthia was granted.
Um… ouch!! Not a very nice way to leave your wife!!! And they posed naked for their Two Virgins album cover. I won’t post it here since I like to keep my blog ‘G’ and all.
So I keep reading and the crazy ride of this couple continued!
During Lennon’s last two years in The Beatles, he and Ono began public protests against the Vietnam War. They were married in Gibraltar on 20 March 1969, and spent their honeymoon in Amsterdam campaigning with a week-long Bed-In for peace.
I would get bored laying in bed all day! Anyway, to continue this crazy ride;
Lennon changed his name on 22 April 1969, adding “Ono” as a middle name and used the name John Ono Lennon thereafter. After Ono was injured in a car accident, Lennon arranged for a king-sized bed to be brought to the recording studio as he worked on The Beatles’ last recorded album, Abbey Road.
In 1971, Ono’s second husband, Anthony Cox, lost custody of their daughter Kyoko and in violation of the order, he took Kyoko and disappeared. Ono then launched a search for her daughter with the aid of the police and private investigators. Ono wrote a song about her daughter, “Don’t Worry Kyoko (Mummy’s Only Looking For Her Hand In The Snow),” which appears on Lennon and Ono’s album Live Peace In Toronto 1969 and her album Fly.
The couple separated in 1973 but reconciled in 1975. Their son, Sean, was born on Lennon’s 35th birthday, October 9, 1975. After Sean’s birth, the couple lived in relative seclusion at the Dakota in New York.
On the afternoon of 8 December 1980, Annie Leibovitz went to the Lennons’ apartment at 2:00 pm to do a photo shoot for Rolling Stone magazine. Leibovitz promised Lennon that a photo with Ono would make the front cover of the magazine, even though she initially tried to get a picture with just Lennon by himself.Leibovitz: “Nobody wanted [Ono] on the cover”. Lennon insisted that both he and his wife be on the cover.
John Lennon was murdered that night. (OMG!) Mark David Chapman was waiting as Ono walked ahead of Lennon and into the reception area. Within seconds, Chapman took aim directly at the center of Lennon’s back and fired five bullets at him in rapid succession. Lennon, bleeding profusely from external wounds and also from his mouth, staggered up five steps to the security/reception area, saying, “I’m shot, I’m shot”. He then fell to the floor, scattering cassettes that he had been carrying.
Lennon was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. Dr. Lynn remembers that Ono lay down and began hitting her head against the floor, but calmed down when a nurse gave Lennon’s wedding ring to her. She was led away in a state of shock.
Ono released a solo album, Season of Glass, in 1981. The cover of the album is a photograph of Lennon’s blood-spattered glasses. A 1997 re-release of the album included “Walking on Thin Ice”, the song the Lennons had mixed at the Record Plant less than an hour before he was murdered.
Wow!!! Can you imagine what taking all this in is like for someone who has never heard any of this? Mind you, this is all a quick overview, but to me this is one of the most compelling love stories I have ever heard. Suck it Romeo & Juliet! Or to be more modern, Bella & Edward! Everyone hates her for breaking up the Beatles, but John chose love over fame and stuck with his wife which I find so beautiful.
The story really does overshadow the album. But here are my thoughts anyway.
I though opening with the slow-paced and melancholy Mother was a poor choice. It wasn;t a great start for this album. A few songs such as Hold On and I found Out had lyrics about moving on and not needing others and it makes me wonder if those were directed at the other Beatles members. I did like Working Class Hero especially the verse that went “They’ve tortured and scared you for 20-odd years, Then they expect you to pick a career, When you can’t really function, you’re so full of fear.” I always think that I was taught more about picking a job and less about picking a fulfilling career that suited my personality and lifestyle. If they had taught me to think about the daily life of certain jobs (such as sitting on my butt indoors all day every day) I would have chosen a different career path.
All in all, this album gets a C- from me. It’s not bad but I wasn’t digging it either. But I do thank this album for getting me investigating the story behind these two that everyone knew about but me.
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