Following the opening of Yoko Ono's art exhibition This Is Not Here at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York, a party was held at a nearby hotel room in celebration of John Lennon's 31st birthday.
Before the guests arrived, however, Lennon began composing Attica State, which would later appear on the Some Time In New York City album. "It was conceived on my birthday," he later explained. "We ad libbed it, then we finished it off."
Ono had ordered a cake for her husband, which was decorated with the words: "To John from Yoko and the whole world". Much of the party was recorded for posterity on audio tape, as were much of the couple's activities at this time.
The all-star cast sang drunken versions of songs including What'd I Say, Yellow Submarine, On Top Of Old Smokey, Goodnight Irene, Take This Hammer, He's Got The Whole World In His Hands, Like A Rolling Stone, a medley of Twist And Shout/Louie Louie/La Bamba, Bring It On Home To Me, Yesterday, Tandoori Chicken, Power To The People, Maybe Baby, Peggy Sue, Bring Out The Joints (a Lennon-Spector composition), My Baby Left Me, Heartbreak Hotel, Blue Suede Shoes, Crippled Inside, Give Peace A Chance, Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey, My Sweet Lord, Imagine and Oh Yoko!.
Also during the party, a Japanese reporter interviewed Lennon and Ono. The recording, which featured a high degree of tension between the couple, became known as The Argument Interview, and was later aired on the US radio series The Lost Lennon Tapes.
Following the event, Lennon and Ono sent a postcard to Ringo and Maureen Starkey thanking them for attending. The card, which was later reproduced in Starr's book Postcards From The Boys, featured Arnold Bocklin's picture Spring Evening 1879, which had been customised to show Ono's head on the body of a naked nymph, and Lennon-style glasses drawn on a panpipe-playing satyr.
Dear hello Ringo and More-Reen
thankx a lot for coming to my birthday chaos, looks like some good things will come from the Museum Show too!
lost of love to you and yours
from bonnie John + Yogurt
Mrs. Lennon and her husband
Also on this day...
- 2015: Ringo Starr live at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
- 2013: Paul McCartney live at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, New York
- 2011: Sir Paul McCartney marries Nancy Shevell
- 2010: Photograph of John Lennon is projected onto Liverpool’s Albert Dock
- 2010: “And the world will be as one”: Global tributes take place for John Lennon’s 70th birthday
- 2010: Yoko Ono requests a million tweets for John Lennon
- 2009: Yoko Ono unveils Imagine Peace Tower in Second Life
- 2000: Tributes for John Lennon’s 60th birthday
- 1998: Yoko Ono dedicates a tree to John Lennon in Strawberry Fields
- 1990: Imagine is broadcast around the world
- 1988: John Lennon tributes are broadcast on US television
- 1985: Strawberry Fields is opened in Central Park, New York City
- 1984: Yoko Ono donates $90,000 to Strawberry Field in Liverpool
- 1981: John Lennon statue is unveiled in Los Angeles
- 1980: John Lennon’s 40th birthday
- 1979: John Lennon’s 39th birthday party, Tavern On The Green, New York
- 1978: John Lennon’s 38th birthday party, Tavern On The Green, New York
- 1976: John Lennon’s 36th birthday
- 1975: Sean Lennon is born
- 1971: Yoko Ono’s art exhibition This Is Not Here opens in Syracuse, New York
- 1970: Recording: Remember by John Lennon
- 1970: John Lennon sees his father Alf for the final time
- 1969: Yoko Ono is taken to hospital in London
- 1968: Recording, mixing: The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill, Long Long Long, Why Don’t We Do It In The Road
- 1967: John Lennon’s 27th birthday
- 1966: John Lennon celebrates his 26th birthday in Spain
- 1965: The Beatles celebrate John Lennon’s 25th birthday
- 1964: Live: Gaumont Cinema, Bradford
- 1963: Radio: The Ken Dodd Show
- 1962: The Beatles promote Love Me Do in London
- 1961: John Lennon celebrates his 21st birthday with Paul McCartney in Paris
- 1960: Live: Kaiserkeller, Hamburg
- 1956: John Lennon’s 16th birthday
- 1940: John Lennon is born
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.