New York City

    Newer Older

    PART TWO NEW YORK CITY

    It was July, 1971 in New York City. We were having our morning coffee in
    a hotel room facing the park. Two things were upsetting John . One was
    he had learned that his manager suggested that the other Beatles use the
    same bank that he used. A big faux pas on the part of the manager as far
    as John was concerned. To John, that meant that he was not special to
    the manager. He was just part of the package deal. The other was that
    George was doing a Bangladesh Concert at Madison Square Garden, and
    because of that, many musicians from India had been put up in the same
    hotel as us. John had so many years of being bundled together with the
    other Beatles in a hotel, with hangers-on of the famous and near famous,
    that he was particularly sensitive to those situations. “It’s getting
    mighty crowded," he said, wiggling his nose.

    Then, still in the middle of our breakfast, we got this idea to write an
    Xmas song. We were fast workers, so the song was born by the time we
    finished our last morning coffee. That made John feel better.” This is
    going to be bigger than White Xmas, you’ll see." He wiggled his nose
    again, this time with satisfaction. Then a phone call came and John
    picked it up. He was saying "Yeah....yeah.....yeah," I saw
    that he was getting very upset. He hung up the phone without saying a
    word. “What was that?" "Oh, that was George." A long pause.” He’s
    saying. 'Join the Bangladesh concert,' and all that. Dylan is coming.
    too. I'm not going." "Why? I think we should go. It's a charity. It's
    for a good cause." I said. “We’re not doing it." "Why?" "Because it's
    George's little thing. We’ll do our own. you and me." "I think we should
    go", I said. "Does it matter that it's George's?" John was getting angrier
    and angrier. I was getting angry. too. I thought John was being
    big-headed about it. “Okay. if you don't want to go I'll go. I'll go
    alone." I said. John flipped out. "You want to be a performing flea, go
    ahead! You'd perform with a drop of a hat with any excuse, anywhere...!"

    Well, it was true that before I got together with John. I was an
    avant-garde performer. who believed in performing in situations that
    most people would not even consider. It was also true that I was
    beginning to miss those days when I used to perform all the time as a
    performance artist. But this was something else. altogether. “I think we
    should go." "I'm leaving!" John left the room in a huff. I just sat
    there. Then after quite a while. I called D's room. D was our assistant.
    John called him Dracula behind his back because he looked pale during
    the day and bright at night.” Is John there?" I asked. D said "Wait."
    and obviously went to another room. “Yes, he is," he said in a
    whispering voice.” Well. is he okay?" "Yes, he is. He is fine. He wants
    me to take him to the airport. He wants to leave New York. It'1I be fine.
    My suggestion is that you shouldn't worry. I'll take care of it."
    D sounded like he couldn't hide his excitement about all this.
    "Oh. okay then." I couldn't think of what else I could say or do.

    I got a call from John's manager the next morning. ”Come to my office".
    As I opened the door to the office, the manager was sitting behind a huge
    desk. He gestured to me to sit on the chair opposite to him. I sat and
    waited for what he had to say. The manager seemed like he was searching
    for the right words. and then gave up and just said. "John's waiting. He
    kept calling me all night. You've got to go to him right away." "Why
    should I? He walked out on me." "I know. He told me everything. You've
    got to go to him. He's waiting." I started to tell him about how
    New York was my town, and it would be good if I could stay around here
    for awhile... to think what I'm doing with myself... with my life...
    "I need a rest from all this, you know." I said. The manager was
    looking at me like he couldn't believe his eyes, like what is this woman
    talking about! JOHN LENNON is waiting for her. "John is not sleeping
    well. He didn't stop talking to me all night. You gotta go to him right
    away." He looked at his watch. "I gotta go now. Patti Harrison is in
    town. I have to take her to George. He's on the boat. There's a party."
    It seemed like there was a Bangladesh bash. Patti was a strikingly
    beautiful blonde woman, and I always wondered why when New York
    businessmen talked about Patti, their voices went a notch higher. “You
    gotta go. John's waiting." The manager stood up and left me there.

    I went back to my hotel room. I thought of calling my friends in New
    York from the old days. But when I tried to think who, I went blank.
    I couldn't think of anybody I wanted to talk to at that very moment.
    I started to miss John. I called D and asked him to escort me to the
    airport. I expected John to be at the London airport waiting for me.
    He was not there. Only Les Anthony, our driver was standing there with
    a grim face. Maybe John is standing at the entrance of Tittenhurst
    (our home in Ascot), I thought. John was not. I went inside the house
    and asked the maid where John was. "He's upstairs." "Oh." I was really
    upset by then. I went to our bedroom and opened the door in a huff.
    There on the floor John was kneeling inside the black bag. "I'm sorry"
    he said.

    We compared notes. At the hotel, John thought I would run after him as
    soon as he had left our room. He waited for me at the elevator for
    awhile, but I didn't come after him. So he went to D's room since he
    couldn't think of anywhere else to go. "I called D's room, you know,"
    I said. "I thought you might want to talk to me." "He didn't tell me
    that!" John said, "I thought of ways to go back to our room, like open
    the door and say, 'Oh, did I forget something?' but I thought, 'Sod it',
    because you were so angry." "Oh, alright so I was angry." "Damn right
    you were." We laughed. I told John that I nearly turned around and went
    back to New York when I realized that he wasn't waiting for me at the
    airport. "Good thing you didn't. It was getting hot inside the bag,"
    he said. It was nice to relax in each other's arms, listening to our
    heartbeat. But then I suddenly felt very sad. "We're probably going to
    lose each other... you know... if we ever separate... because nobody
    wants us to be together... and you're so emotional and I'm so proud."
    "Well, we'll be careful, won't we!" John said in his sleepy voice.

    John and I totally forgot about the Xmas song we wrote in the hotel room
    because of what happened that morning. in November, John remembered the
    song and called the manager to release it as a single for Xmas.

    "John, it's too late... printing the cover... advertising." "Well, try."
    The single was out, but the manager was right: it was too late for
    anything and it bombed. Happy Xmas only became big after John's passing
    in 1980.

    There is a twist to the story of "that morning." I heard much, much
    later, that George Harrison told John to come alone to the Bangladesh
    show, without me, that is. Was that the real reason John did not want
    to do the show? I guess I will never know.

    Yoko Ono Lennon
    NYC 1998

    Illustration "Power To The People" by John Lennon, colored by Yoko Ono Lennon.

    from John Lennon Anthology CD box set booklet.

    aimee.fausser, and 18 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. sherryfrachey 73 months ago | reply

      I love this story, Yoko! It is touching and sad in a beautiful way.
      i
      ii
      iii

    2. Tammy Tingles 73 months ago | reply

      Wow .. i'm glad you've found an outlet for your side of these stories Yoko, dont stop as it's illuminating, i mean i never really thought until i read the above where you said you'd probably lose each other because no one wanted you together, i think many many people have been in a situation where they have felt the pull of people around them trying to seperate them from those they love ..

    3. amyhatch2001 73 months ago | reply

      Hello Yoko,

      I've been a fan of yours and John's since birth (I'm 28 and from Toronto, Canada) In fact Sean was in the area a couple of years ago to preform at a concert with Esthro? And I saw him in front of the Roy Thomson Hall, but wasn't 100% sure it was him.. Had I known it was, I would have said "Hi".. But that night he played piano for her, and it was a great concert. Also I have your Walkng On Thing Ice CD, and I love it! :) And just recently I purchased "Memories of John Lennon" and I'm looking forward to reading that when I have the time. Thank you for posting these stories, it shows your side which is not always listened to by the public.. Thank you!

      Take care,

      Amy

    4. pshisbey 70 months ago | reply

      Thank you Yoko. I am a tall caucasian man and my wife is a short asian lady. She has been away visiting her mother in Hawaii but will return tomorrow. So I get a special pang in my heart for her when I see how much John loved you. When I see him lying with you, kissing you, loving you, through him I am reminded of my love. I tease my wife saying I never knew small brown women could be so potent. To which she calls me "naive". How true! Thank you again for sharing the touching story. God bless.

    5. woodstock1997 60 months ago | reply

      yoko
      i am sure that is why john didn't want to go. he was sick of hearing that kind of talk from his friends

    6. tastes like doggerel 44 months ago | reply

      Thanks for sharing beautiful memories.

    7. 79Lennartney 32 months ago | reply

      Lovely

      Alfonso Romero V. from México, D.F.

    8. The Paul Miller 27 months ago | reply

      It goes without saying how much you and your husband meant to me. I would be honored if you would take a look at my photos and tell me what you think. I spent much time thinking of you all, in the park, listening to music and sharing such a wonderful city.

    keyboard shortcuts: previous photo next photo L view in light box F favorite < scroll film strip left > scroll film strip right ? show all shortcuts