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If John had never met Yoko...
31 July 2012
3.52am
Dipsy
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So I got to do some serious thinking about this a couple of days ago: what if John had never met Yoko?

As discontent as he seemed to be with his marriage to Cynthia, would he have gone through with a divorce? It has been noted that he was in a state of emotional turmoil during his trip to India because he was tortured by his love for Yoko and his moral responsibility of having a wife and child. If Yoko--a woman whose level of infatuation could never be matched by another--had never been in the picture, do you think John would have let his moral obligations get the best of him and consequently choose to stay in an unhappy marriage? Or would he have gone through with a divorce and gone through life (for a time) as a single man?

Would his music be different? It is well known that his musical style and direction changed drastically after the band’s break-up, but could this possibly be accredited solely to Yoko? They recorded the avant-garde atrocity Two Virgins in May of 1968 directly before the recording of The Beatles (The White Album); would the avant-garde experimentation used on "Revolution 9" even exist had Yoko never been present in John’s life? Would he have ever gone through Primal Scream Therapy, an experience that heavily inspired the solo album Plastic Ono Band, had the two never met? And what about his last two studio albums, Double Fantasy and Milk And Honey? Without Yoko’s contributions, what kind of songs—if any—would have been used to fill their spaces? How would the overall mood/message of the albums differ?

And what about his styles of protest? Would he have gone through with his famous “Bed-In For Peace” had it not been for Yoko: would he have even given the idea consideration? Better yet, would he have even thought of that bizarre means of protest without his bizarre artist of a wife? And what about Bagism? Would the world have ever been introduced to such an eccentric and abstract approach to interrogation if not for their combined power?

What about his personality? Do you attribute his progression in personality to personal maturation, or do you consider it to be directly swayed by Yoko's ever-steady influence upon him?

*It should be noted that this topic is in no way meant to be associated with Yoko bashing: it was simply created to be a consensus of what we all believe John may have been like in his later years had he never met the love of his life.*

"I'm not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I've always been a freak. So I've been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know? I'm just one of those people."
31 July 2012
4.41am
mr. Sun king coming together
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He doesn't get shot by Mark David Chapman.
I say this not as a "Yoko Basher", but as a man who knows international law. Chapman bought the Lennon killing gun in Hawaii (if I remember correctly). Lennon wouldn't have moved to New York if not for Yoko. The UK has stricter gun laws, so it would have been too much effort.
He would have divorced Cynthia at some point, maybe after the band broke up.
They would have broken up after the White Album. John would have been tapped, and they would have broken up amicably.
White Album would have been a single album (not enough songs)
Lennon and McCartney would have reunited in 1975.

I tried to think of something powerful and moving… and failed.  "You were given a choice between war and dishonor - you chose dishonor, and you shall have war" - Winston Churchill
31 July 2012
5.56am
unknown
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He would have stayed In India longer and Cyn would not have missed the train. The White Album sessions might have been a little less tense, and John would not have given Ringo Good Night. Let It Be would not have happened how it did with the film and all that. John would stay woth Cyn and Julian until well into the seventies and John's relationship with Paul would have been a bit better post-Beatles. They would have broken up about the same time they did break up, maybe a year afterwards or something. John also would not have been shot. Not only because he would have stayed in England, but also because he would not have been quite as mad about the whole peace idea.

All living things must abide by the laws of the shape they inhabit
31 July 2012
9.09am
kedame
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If John hadn't met Yoko and things had gone the way they were from 1966 on, he would have probably died a lot sooner. I say that not as a negative thing about John or a positive thing about Yoko. John seemed to be severely depressed in the mid to late 60s. He was in the dumps and out of his mind a lot. Though I'm not much of a Yoko fan, I have to admit that she energized John.

John was notorious for needing something to believe in, and he needed someone to focus all his/her attention on him. It's not so surprising that he brags about Paul choosing him over Paul's own father. When Paul no longer needed John as much as he had before, I think John saw that as a complete betrayal. He needed someone else to fill that role, and Yoko was more than willing to. They had the clingiest relationship I believe I've ever heard about, and it's no surprise that Yoko needed a break by 1973. May, while nice, wasn't as strong as Yoko when it came to John. She couldn't provide the security that John seemed to need. I like May better, but she just wasn't what John needed.

I differ from you, Sun King, in that I don't think John and Paul would have ever formed a successful writing partnership again. They may have written together occasionally, but John wouldn't have had Paul's full attention. You can hear it in that interview John did when he said something to the effect of Paul having a million kids and a million albums...when would he have had time to talk to him? He was a Jealous Guy, and I don't think he could have stood seeing Paul manage a fairly successful career, as well as a happy family, while John was not able to, without resenting it sooner or later.

"You can manicure a cat but can you caticure a man?" John Lennon- Skywriting by Word of Mouth
31 July 2012
12.22pm
GeorgeTSimpson
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I think John would have very few songs for the White Album and so I think paul would have recorded a solo album, which would have made john very angry and he would quit the band then. They would replace him with eric at first, would record let it be and Abbey Road with him (the White Album wouldn't exist, george would also record a solo album soon after with his White Album songs, nit guilty, sour milk sea, circles and songs played during the get back/let it be sessions) after Abbey Road they would have broken up, because John had drunk in a swimming pool (brian jones didn't quit the rolling stones and were still their multi-instrumentalist although mick taylor would join them as a second guitarist)

Once there was a way to get back homewards. Once there was a way to get back home; sleep pretty darling do not cry. And I will sing a lullaby
31 July 2012
7.57pm
minime
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John and Cynthia would live separately after John finally being fed up ( although it's Cynthia who should have felt that way), I don't see them having a divorce in a long time. John seems to be kind of lazy in that sense; why bother divorcing when you can have a steady, loving little wife and as many lovers as you care for to boost? The drifting apart from Cynthia is caused mainly by his increasing drug use and psychedelic "hobbies".

Granting Paul will still meet up with Linda, rifts are bound to happen in the band. John is likely to feel insecure without a "companion" ( how many Paul McCartneys and Yoko Onos are there in the world?) and will probably suffer from some sort of depression considering the lack of support and the amount of pressures he has to withhold as a beatle. It is possible, though, that Brian will dot die from sleeping pills overdose if John will have more time in his hands to encourage him ( although his relationship with Yoko wasn't as intense in the beginning so this theory is left open for much speculation). In any case, should Brian continue managing the Beatles, the group dynamism may hold better than it did. With the possible aid of Brian and lack of Yoko Ono, the Beatles will continue longer to be a "band", resulting in possible return to live stages, and, unfortunately, less experimental music. George does want to get his compositions in the limelight, though, so White Album may happen- but not as we know it today.

The Beatles will probably break up sooner or later, perhaps a year later than it actually did. McCartney's involvement in the happy family life with Linda and kids is likely to be the last straw-for John, at least.

John will not die from a gunshot since there is no reason for him to move to New York but his drug addiction might go from bad to worse if there is no one to guide him; Julian might be the one who will waken him from his torpor if his father instincts kick in. 

31 July 2012
8.16pm
vonbontee
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It's a certainty that many of John's greatest songs would never have been written; as a result, he would've left the Beatles in '69 due to a temporary lack of inspiration. I think John might still have gotten involved in the visual art world, although probably not the conceptual bagism/bed-in stuff. He found filmmaking a bore so he wouldn't have gone that route - at least not as an actor - but I can see him wanting to work in television, he loved it so. (Imagine him appearing on "Sesame Street"!) I'd say his marriage to Cynthia would've lasted until, I dunno, 1973 or so. I can't imagine who his next love interest would've been; I'd like to imagine it'd be someone with whom he could collaborate and not just some supermodel. Would he have still discovered heroin? Yes, same as his Dirty Mac bandmates Keith and Eric and too many other musicians in those days. Fortunately, he'd later conquer the addiction (as well as a 1980s flirtation with cocaine.) Despite their historic reunion performance at Live Aid in '85, The Beatles would never reform, but John and Paul would make occasional appearances on each others albums, as well as co-starring in a memorably funny sketch on the "Kenny Everett Video Show" in 1979. In 2000, John's "In My Life: A Musical Memoir" would become a #1 bestseller, and eventually the world's best-selling musical autobiography. Following a 2004 cancer scare, John would finally successfully quit smoking.

I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
1 August 2012
12.53am
meanmistermustard
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Personally i think John would have remained secluded with Cynthia and Juliian becoming more and more detached from the world and everybody with Paul, George and Ringo trying to get him to come out. John didnt have the desire or drive to be on his own nor the guts to walk out on Cynth without there being another woman to go to. Maybe in time he would have found someone else. He was bored senseless living in Weybridge.

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
1 August 2012
4.23pm
The Walrus
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The White Album would be a very different beast, I reckon it would still be a double album, but much of John's input would be different without the songs about Yoko or heroin. It would probably contain Mean Mr Mustard and Polythene Pam (as they are in the Anthology series), and several other acoustic numbers John wrote in his extended stay in India, as well as Dear Prudence, Sexy Sadie, Glass Onion, Monkey (maybe), Cry Baby Cry, Bungalow Bill, and probably some slight variation on Revolution I. I don't know if John would have been interested in writing some "dirtier" songs to "replace" Yer Blues and such. Not Guilty would have had John's full attention and would probably have made the album.

There are, as I see it, two possibilities- John continues taking LSD heavily, and ends up down the Syd Barrett route, or he moves onto cocaine and then heroin, introduced by Clapton or Richards. I don't think he'd be able to cope with addiction as "well" as those two did and he'd probably have died in the 70s anyway.

If he had survived/stayed sober for long enough to have a solo career, then it would probably be unrecognisable. Remove songs about peace and Yoko, or songs written with Yoko, and very little remains.

And I neeeeeeeeed her all the time
1 August 2012
4.29pm
fabfouremily
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Exactly, as much as some of us may dislike Yoko or the impact that she had on John and therefore, some may say, the outcome of The Beatles, they were in love very much and if it wasn't for her then a) we wouldn't have some brilliant songs that are among Lennon's best and b) we wouldn't have many other epic Beatles songs because I think that they would've split up sooner, among other things. That's what I think anyway.

''We're just knocked out. We heard about the sell out. You gotta get an album out, you owe it to the people. We're so happy we can hardly count.''

2 August 2012
12.48pm
Ben Ramon
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The Walrus said
There are, as I see it, two possibilities- John continues taking LSD heavily, and ends up down the Syd Barrett route, or he moves onto cocaine and then heroin, introduced by Clapton or Richards. I don't think he'd be able to cope with addiction as "well" as those two did and he'd probably have died in the 70s anyway.

If he had survived/stayed sober for long enough to have a solo career, then it would probably be unrecognisable. Remove songs about peace and Yoko, or songs written with Yoko, and very little remains.

I agree with this. John's dependent and addictive tendencies would certainly have gotten the better of him had Yoko not coaxed him out of the psychedelic phase and into the peace craze, and I feel he wouldn't have had the strength to leave Cynthia and would have remained in the unhappy marriage, doing nothing but sitting about eating acid every day. Hopefully the trip to India and time with the Maharishi would help, but I feel that the disillusionment with the Maharishi's ethic after they left Rishikesh would plunge him straight back into that destructive lifestyle of constant tripping and his work with the Beatles would consequently have diminished.

SHUT UP - Paulie's talkin'
3 August 2012
5.22pm
vonbontee
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Well, I'd say his LSD days were numbered no matter what; he quit taking it because he was sick of the bad trips. It's not like anyone gets "addicted" to acid.

I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
5 August 2012
2.15am
robert
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John would still be alive and if I were Julian that would be enough.

"She looks more like him than I do."
5 August 2012
8.04am
fabfouremily
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How can you back that up? Why was it Yoko's fault that he died? He was killed by a mentally disturbed man, that's nobody fault.

''We're just knocked out. We heard about the sell out. You gotta get an album out, you owe it to the people. We're so happy we can hardly count.''

5 August 2012
11.23am
robert
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fabfouremily said
How can you back that up? Why was it Yoko's fault that he died? He was killed by a mentally disturbed man, that's nobody fault.

Well, fabfouremily, I think we need to accept from the outset that the question is a hypothetical, so any answer is speculation. In the same way if a person said John would still have died - that would be speculation - because no one knows for sure what would have happened if John had never met Yoko. That's the point of the question - that we speculate.

My answer is based on that it is reasonable to assume that they had never met, the trajectory of John's life would have been so drastically altered that it would have significantly reduced the likelihood that John and his killer would ever crossed paths on that fateful day.

I believe that to be a reasonable assumption, thus if he was still alive, Julian who lost his father (remember if John had not met Yoko there would be no Sean) Julian would still have his dad. Just my 2 cent answer to the question.

"She looks more like him than I do."
5 August 2012
1.04pm
mr. Sun king coming together
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I'll agree he doesn't get killed by Chapman. However, between the cocaine/heroin and all the shit he smoked, he'd probably die before now anyway.

I tried to think of something powerful and moving… and failed.  "You were given a choice between war and dishonor - you chose dishonor, and you shall have war" - Winston Churchill
5 August 2012
5.27pm
fabfouremily
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Yeah, It's hard to tell what would've happened but I think he was always going to die an early death.

''We're just knocked out. We heard about the sell out. You gotta get an album out, you owe it to the people. We're so happy we can hardly count.''

5 August 2012
7.51pm
Dipsy
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robert said
John would still be alive and if I were Julian that would be enough.

I am very confused as to what you mean by "...and if I were Julian, that would be enough". Can you please explain what exactly it is that you're trying to say?

And as for the whole theory of John not dying the way he did if he had never met Yoko, I'm not so sure about that likelihood...Because Chapman lived in Hawaii, he had to purchase a plane ticket to New York in order to carry out the assassination. Therefore, I think there's a high probability that he would have attempted to kill John no matter where he lived. Because he had to travel to get to John, Mark David Chapman--if he was dead set on going through with the murder (which, based on the fact that he had traveled to NYC in October of that same year with the intention of carrying out his bloody scheme, he was)--would have been liable to buy a plane ticket to any place John was. Consequently, I believe John might have died at Chapman's expense no matter where life led him. 

"I'm not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I've always been a freak. So I've been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know? I'm just one of those people."
5 August 2012
8.17pm
vonbontee
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He'd have a harder time getting guns into England. Maybe he'd simply have gone after Todd rundgren instead.

I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
5 August 2012
8.29pm
Dipsy
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Good point about the gun control thing, Von. But--then again--nothing says that he would have stayed in England had he not made his home in New York...However, regardless of the actual cause of death, I still agree with the majority of posters in this thread that John was bound to die an early death somehow: it is highly likely that it would have been the result of some kind of OD.

"I'm not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I've always been a freak. So I've been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know? I'm just one of those people."
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