Sunday, March 25, 2007

Up On The Roof

April 22, 1969:

John and Yoko would have celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary on March 20th. So much has been written concerning their wedding in Gibraltar, as well as their subsequent Bed-Ins for Peace in the Amsterdam Hilton, and then later in Toronto. I admire what John and Yoko were doing with peace activism--using the press their honeymoon would naturally generate to make a blatant commercial for peace. Though some may call it naive, I call it brilliant and genuine; being the "world's clowns" for the sake of social change. Patti Smith remarked backstage at the RRHoF that some of the best art comes from a naive idealism, and I certainly agree with her observation. (Probably a reason I admire Patti so much--she is one of those great idealists, too.)

Yoko will always be a controversial figure within the world of Beatledom. But nevertheless, the intense relationship that John and Paul had could not sustain the presence of their female soul mates, Yoko and Linda--it was perhaps too much. There was a sort of possessiveness between John and Paul--a great amount of love and, conversely, jealousy. I can only imagine the hurt that both of them experienced during the "divorce" of the Beatles. (Of course, this is all just my opinion, which I have developed through years of loving the Beatles.) John noted that he never expected that it would end in such an acrimonious way. I suspect no one ever did.

I thought I would commemorate a special ceremony that illustrated how deeply John had been affected by Yoko's presence in his life. This former Liverpudlian teddy boy, "rough and ready with a look that said 'kill'," as his former wife Cynthia described him, now saw this woman, an artist and writer, as an equal--so much so that he was willing to take her name.

On the roof of the Apple headquarters in London, during a ceremony officiated by Commissioner of Oaths Bueno de Mesquita, John's official name was changed to "John Ono Lennon." (John later learned that he could not eliminate the "Winston" from his name.) John's comment concerning the name change: "Yoko changed her name for me, I've changed mine for her. One for both, both for each other. She has a ring, I have a ring. It gives us nine 'O's between us, which is good luck. Ten would not be good luck." Quite a poignant and chilling observation in hindsight, knowing how devastating the turn of events would be in the future.

(References: Lennon: A Journey Through John Lennon's Life and Times in Words and Pictures by John Robertson, p. 69)