Why Yoko Ono Helped The Beatles More Than She Hurt Them
To say that The Beatles are one of the most highly-recognized, popular bands of all time is putting it mildly. From their many memorable live performances in the sixties, over a dozen chart-topping albums and their movie careers, the fab four have made their place in both pop culture along with a permanent place in rock-and-roll history.
With the recent release of Yesterday, a movie that looks at a world where only one man remembers the music of this signature band, fans recall a great many things about The Beatles especially their most famous groupie, Yoko Ono. As a matter of fact, it’s been fifty years since John Lennon and Ono were wed on March 20, 1969, and they decided to use the publicity from this union to promote world peace.
A musician and artist in her own right, Yoko has amassed a small fortune over the decades. When she first hooked up with Lennon, rumors were running rampant about feuds within the group. Some believed Yoko was at least partially to blame for the break-up of the band while others are sure The Beatles had pretty much run their course by the time she came into the picture.
How Yoko Ono helped The Beatles
Without opening the “break-up” can of worms, did the appearance of Yoko into the picture actually hurt or help The Beatles? There’s an old saying that goes “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” and there was plenty of hoopla and paparazzi surrounding the coupling of Lennon and Ono.
This brings us back to their historic and highly-publicized “Bed-In For Peace” and since it was one of the original frontrunners of The Beatles at the cornerstone of this event, this topic was a bright one for the band overall. Even though it was meant to be a politically-motivated protest, it was still perceived as a positive experience.
John Lennon wanted Yoko Ono in the band
It’s pretty much common knowledge the appearance of Ono into the world of The Beatles caused friction with the lads from Liverpool as it was Lennon who insisted she become a part of the band. Not just a groupie, follower or assistant to the bunch, but a full-fledged member of the band. Before Ono and Lennon hooked up, guests were rarely allowed inside the recording studio and in the past when their manager spoke up during a session, Lennon humiliated him in front of the entire group.
Not so much for Ono, who not only sat in during performances while the group was recording, she literally sat on the floor with Lennon and spoke to him in a calming voice almost continually and accompanied him every time he left the room. When Paul McCartney questioned Ono’s comments about a vocal segment he said: “Did somebody speak? Who the (bleep) was that? Did you say something George (Harrison)? Your lips didn’t move!”
Yoko Ono had a big influence on John Lennon
McCartney admitted the influence Ono had over Lennon was powerful and she drove him to become an even better performer. McCartney summed it up pretty well when he described how Ono inspired Lennon,
“She wanted more, do it more, do it double, be more daring, take all your clothes off. She always pushed him, which he liked. Nobody had ever pushed him. Nobody had ever pushed him like that. We all thought we were far-out boys, but we kind of understood that we’d never get quite that far out.”
As a matter of fact, when the group began working on their only double album, entitled The Beatles (better known simply as The White Album), Lennon and McCartney had mostly drifted away from directly collaborating and composing music together. Still, the band was able to produce some of their most unique, diverse, powerful singing and writing which led to the best selling album the group would ever record.
Whether or not The Beatles would have broken up with or without Ono’s presence remains to be seen. Either way, the members of this memorable group all went on to have somewhat successful solo careers and stand out as talented musicians in their own right.