oh yoko!
November 27, 2018 7:20 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for memoirs and autobiographies of people who knew John Lennon in the 70s that are sympathetic to Yoko Ono.

This is research for a fiction project. I've recently been diving deep into memoirs/autobiographies of those who knew John Lennon personally. So far, I've read Cynthia Lennon's John, Robert Rosen's Nowhere Man (not precisely a memoir but purportedly a summary of Lennon's 70s diaries), Julia Baird's Imagine This, and the Jonathan Cott interview compendium Days that I'll Remember. It's only the Cott work that's at all sympathetic to Yoko; the others paint her in a very poor light. I want to pick up May Pang and Frederic Seaman's books but I don't imagine they'll be much better. Are there any other memoirs of those who knew John and Yoko that present a more nuanced view of their relationship? I'm not interested in broader biographies, just recollections of people who actually knew them.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Pang got along wirh Cynthia but not with Yoko.
posted by brujita at 7:34 AM on November 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


Lennon's maternal 1/2 sisters didn't get along with Yoko either according to Julia Baird's memoir.
posted by brujita at 7:36 AM on November 27, 2018


Begin Again: A Biography of John Cage discusses his friendship with both of them
posted by canoehead at 7:48 AM on November 27, 2018


John Cage was a key member of the Fluxus movement with Yoko and other conceptual artists during the 60s, many of whom moved in the same circles as Lennon. Cage did know him and they famously got on well despite noise disagreements when they were neighbours in New York. I haven't read any biographies of Cage but they'd likely be positive about Yoko - his published letters might be worth a nosy.
posted by freya_lamb at 7:48 AM on November 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


John & Yoko: A New York Love Story is a photography book, but has some writing about the couple as well.
posted by betweenthebars at 8:11 AM on November 27, 2018


I knew Elliot Mintz when he was a talkshow host in L.A. and just getting close to John & Yoko. He became a publicist, with both of them as his main clients when John died and Elliot worked with his estate thereafter. No books from him, but he has an 'old school' Flash-heavy website at ElliotMintz.com with a bunch of radio interviews and audio documentary material. Hard to get through the interface but for a positive (maybe too positive?) POV, Elliot is a good source.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:40 PM on November 27, 2018


iirc the filmmaker Jonas Mekas likes her.
posted by brujita at 4:20 PM on November 27, 2018


Channel 4 in the UK screened an excellent film last Saturday about their relationship circe 1970, during the recording of Imagine, with plenty of contemporaneous footage and present-day interviews with friends of the couple. It's called John And Yoko: Above Us Only Sky. The film-makers conclude that Yoko regarded John both as a soulmate and as an artist's tool: she used him to make her own art.

As well as giving you a clear insight into the dynamics of the relationship (Yoko is apparently able to withstand unlimited emotional smothering from John), it might suggest potential sources for you. Ray Connolly participates, and he has written extensively about Lennon.
posted by MinPin at 9:42 AM on November 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


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