One of the most famously infamous couples that have braved the backlash of an audience and the consequences of uniting themselves with one another is the legend John Lennon and the thunderous Yoko Ono. Though famed for having been the woman to break up the Beatles, John Lennon’s adoring words prove otherwise. Having already achieved a supreme success as one of the four founders of the tidal wave that was Beatlemania, John Lennon was not only a living legend but an idol. The Beatles had been a tight knit musical powerhouse, creating album after album of unforgettable material and not only living through changing trends in music and fashion but setting the precedent for others to follow. But in 1966 that small world which had nurtured, as well as stagnated, John’s growth and artistic exploration was about to explode.
It was in 1966, at an avant-garde exhibit in London’s Indica Gallery that the two met. Yoko Ono, a dark haired beauty in her own right, was the exhibiting artist, and John Lennon the little amused rock star patron of the arts. Scattered everyday objects filled the room, and one particular plank of wood with an attached hammer and bunch of nails caught Lennon’s attention. He asked Yoko if he could hammer a nail, the initial answer was “No.” In the 1980 interview with Playboy Lennon said, “So there was this little conference and she finally said, ‘Okay, you can hammer a nail in for five shillings [60 cents].’ So smart-ass here says, ‘Well, I’ll give you an imaginary five shillings and hammer an imaginary nail in.’ And that’s when we really met. That’s when we locked eyes, and she got it and I got it, and that was it.”
That’s singular interchange was the perfect representation of the relationship that would ensue. The two were a perfect intellectual match. John Lennon had been married to his first wife, Cynthia Lennon, but by the time he and Yoko met the marriage had already reached a dead end, neither party fully satisfied, Cynthia compromising herself for Lennon’s success and Lennon unable to meet Cynthia on the same plane. In her book A Twist of Lennon Cynthia said “I understood their love. I knew I couldn’t fight the unity of mind and body that they had with each other.” Cythia granted him a divorce and on March 20, 1969, he and Yoko Ono were married, becoming Mr and Mrs. Ono Lennon. The wedding was followed by a week-long honeymoon, turned protest, in Amsterdam, referred to as the “Bed In.”
The two were a radiant force of art, music and peace. Obsessively enamored with one another, the two spent every waking moment together; having waited for his soul-mate for so long Lennon had little desire to spend any time apart. Unfortunately the Fab-Four, who had enjoyed secluded and singular music making sessions were put off by the sudden intrusion of an outside force. A woman who refused to be quelled by anyone wouldn’t allow herself to become a Mrs. Lennon. Her and Lennon’s collaborations began to supersede any other work. While many blame the famed union as the driver for the digression from The Beatles it was in fact a relief for Lennon and an opportunity to explore his own musings and imaginations, most notable in the hauntingly poetic lyrics of The White Album, including “Glass Onion” and Let it Be’s “Across the Universe.”
“Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup
They slither wildly as they slip away across the universe.
Pools of sorrow waves of joy
Are drifting through my opened mind
Possessing and caressing me.”
Lennon who had began to deviate in style and form from the rest of the group finally released his first ‘solo’ album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band; Later followed by his most important and successful post-Beatles project, Imagine.
The controversial couple, while attracting negative attention from every avenue, media, fans, family and friends had finally discovered a love worth leaving the rest of the world behind. Against the odds and to the chagrin of others they lived and loved together until 1980, the year of his tragic assassination. Yoko still honors his memory with the Lennon Ono Grant for Peace inaugurated in 2002 and the couple has become not a footnote but a chapter in the history of pop-culture.