A few years ago, I was doing some research about The Beatles. One story about Yoko that sticks with me comes from a book by Peter Brown, a Beatles insider who was the best man at John and Yoko’s wedding.
After reading that story, it’s pretty clear that, if Yoko pursued John these days the way she did in the ’60s, it seems nearly certain she’d be arrested as a stalker. The sad irony of course is that Lennon was murdered by a stalker and crazed fan outside his apartment house in New York years later.
Peter Brown, along with journalist Steven Gaines, wrote the best book I’ve ever read about The Beatles titled “The Love You Make” and the first chapter tells the sad story of Cynthia Lennon, John’s first wife, coming home to her mansion to find she’d been supplanted in John’s life by none other than Yoko Ono.
What shocked me was Brown’s recounting of how Yoko won John’s heart. “Yoko had something all the [other women] did not: perseverance that bordered on obsession.”
That’s an understatement. Once Yoko met John and after he supported one of her art projects, she began an all-out campaign to wind up with him. According to Brown’s book, Yoko went to the Apple offices in London day after day in an attempt to see him again. When that didn’t work, she went to Abbey Road studios so often that the security guards “used to joke that she was part of the fence and once she threatened to chain herself to the gates in an attempt to get in to see John.”
Then, Brown writes, Yoko began showing up at John’s house. First came phone calls, then letters, then she showed up in person and stationed herself in the driveway. As Brown recalls in his book, “She sood there from early in the morning until late at night, no matter what the weather, wearing the same scruffy black sweater and beat-up shoes, so intense and scowling that the housekeeper was afraid to go near her.”
At that point in his life, Lennon wanted no more to do with Yoko but she persisted and one night caught up with John and Cynthia as they were leaving a London lecture on transcendental meditation. “When [the lecture] was over,” Brown and Gaines wrote, “[Yoko] followed them out of the lecture hall and into the backseat of John’s psychedelically hand-painted Rolls-Royce limousine and sat herself down between them.”
The couple dropped Yoko off at the home she was then sharing with her husband! Reading stories like this makes me shake my head in wonder. Can you imagine anyone pulling a stunt like that today? But Yoko did get what she wanted and certainly became Lennon’s muse as well as his wife. I recently visited with Brown who, despite these revelations, maintains a close friendship with Yoko.