This shot is worthy of some further detailing that has gradually emerged over the years culminating in Yoko’s fairly recent acknowledgement of the part Paul had played in the John and Yoko reunion later in 1974.
It is taken, of course, during the famous ‘Lost Weekend’ period in Los Angeles when Lennon is with Yoko-appointed ‘minder’. May Pang while reliving his bachelor life before The Beatles’ success in the company of famous drunks including Ringo, Harry Nilsson, Keith Moon and others.
The photo is taken the morning after Paul shows up as a complete surprise at a studio in Los Angeles and jams with John, Stevie Wonder and sundry others (bootlegged on ‘A Toot and A Snore in 74′), the first time Lennon and McCartney have seen each other for several years amid bitter fallings-out which have now faded.
Paul has just received his US Visa finally after several years of being denied because of his erstwhile pot-busts in Europe and the UK.
He’s just collected a load of awards for ‘Band on the Run’ on which Lennon has issued a strong approval, (describing it as ‘great Paul music’ and saying that Wings is as conceptual a band as The Plastic Ono Band had been).
It is also just following a visit by Paul and Linda McCartney to New York where they have seen and had a long reunion with Yoko at the Dakota at the end of which Paul has asked her if she still loves John.
Having sensed and received a firm confirmation of ‘Yes’ from Yoko, he has come to deliver the terms to John she has described for taking him back.
lennon, meanwhile, having not spoken directly to Paul in privacy the night before at the studio, has just got up, Paul having been around for a while in the ‘madhouse’ playing piano.
It is clear that Paul wants a private talk, which they have just after the ice-breaking chat pictured.
By McCartney’s account they retire to a side room where he passes on the information about Yoko.
Yoko has stated that John was bowled over by this gesture by Paul and the fact that he had delivered it when he was back on full-power after the critical and commercial success of Band on the Run, which had taken Paul out of the dark tunnel of infamy and hatred following the Beatles’ split.
The meeting itself leads to an idea of John travelling down to a studio where Paul will be recording with the tacit possibility of him becoming involved.
But as Yoko’s later account comfirms, John knew that at the same time as Paul was getting to the point of his own personal wish-fulfilment (a personal and artistic reunion with John), he had also simultaneously sacrificed it selfishly in order to act as an intermediary for the reunion that would prevent it….John and Yoko’s reunion.
‘I’ll never understand why Paul did that’ Yoko reports John as saying.
By all accounts now, it was an act of love for both John and Yoko, made when Paul was in a position of some power which he could have used otherwise.
That’s an excellent account and interpretation of events. Many thanks for sharing it with us.
Beautifully said Michael K!!
For the record (pardon the pun)That studio you mention John travelling down to was no doubt in New Orleans for the Venus and Mars sessions with Paul and Linda. Rock on lovers everywhere, because, basically, that’s it.
Yoko Ono was an extremely conniving woman. She only wanted John back to save her own career, which was failing miserably, while John was making a come back. What he ever saw in that woman, I will never understand. She had complete control over him, he was at her mercy.
Why didn’t she leave him alone? He was so much happier without her, & was happy with May Pang, who got him involved with his son Julian. She also encouraged him to get back in touch with Paul McCartney. If he hadn’t gotten back with her, I definitely think John & Paul, possibly Ringo & George, would have recorded again together. I also believe that John Lennon would still be alive if it wasn’t for Yoko. She was an extremely selfish woman. I don’t think she truly loved him, & in my heart of hearts, I don’t think John really wanted to go back to her. So, why did he? Did she brainwash him, or was it the so called “Mother complex?”. Will we ever learn the truth?
Oh Suzy Q…Ohhhh Suzy Q,
Your response to Michael K was so typical. In your heart of hearts, does it really matter what YOU think JL wanted?
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