In one of their more peculiar publicity stunts, John Lennon and Yoko Ono exchanged a bag of their shorn hair for a pair of Muhammad Ali’s bloodstained boxing shorts on this day.
The exchange happened on the rooftop of a single-storey workshop at the back of The Black Centre, situated at 95-99 Holloway Road, London. The centre was the headquarters of a number of committees and movements, headed by activist Michael X, born Michael de Freitas in Trinidad in 1933, and also known as Michael Abdul Malik and Abdul Malik.
Lennon and Ono had had their hair shorn in Denmark on 20 January 1970. Lennon had hoped that the haircuts would allow them to travel incognito for a time, but the news leaked within days.
Interviewed by journalists on the rooftop, the couple announced that the boxing shorts would be auctioned to raise money for their peace campaigning, although there is no evidence to suggest this ever happened. Similarly, the hair was to be auctioned to raise money for The Black Centre.
The Black House closed in autumn 1970. It later burnt down in mysterious circumstances. Michael X was convicted of murder in 1972, and was hanged in Trinidad three years later.
Also on this day...
- 2009: Beatles silent Scottish film fails to sell
- 1968: Recording: Across The Universe
- 1965: Paul McCartney and Jane Asher holiday in Tunisia
- 1964: Live: Olympia Theatre, Paris
- 1963: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
- 1962: Live: Casbah Coffee Club, Liverpool
- 1961: Live: Lathom Hall, Liverpool
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.
What ever happened to the hair?
Worth mentioning in this context, perhaps, is the film, “Bank Job” (2008), starring Jason Statham. The film includes a slightly fictionalised depiction of Michael X and the murder which led to his conviction and execution, with minor scenes wherein Alan Swoffer plays the small part of John Lennon. (Swoffer also impersonates Lennon in the 2003 film, “Janis et John”.)
(Those two had some really odd ideas).
The disrespect I know exactly your trying to do and tarnished their good reputation! You sir are wrong about it being for “publicity” or trying to point finger like the “peace auction” was a scam. If you were a true Beatles fan you would know better! They Paid for Micheal X lawyer!