Yoko Ono on the John Lennon Book That’s Like ‘Bad, Bad Espresso’

There are numerous books about John Lennon — and Yoko Ono wrote about her feelings on one of them. She had a mix of kind and critical things about how her husband carried himself in an interview that was published as a book. In addition, she offered some pointed criticisms of herself.

John Lennon with his arm around Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono and John Lennon | Jack Mitchell/Getty Images

Yoko Ono on an interview where John Lennon wasn’t ‘particularly clever’

According to Ultimate Classic Rock, John had a longstanding connection to Rolling Stone. His picture was on their first cover. Later, Rolling Stone published the nude picture of John and Yoko from the cover of their album Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins. Many retailers sold the album in a paper bag to prevent people from seeing its cover.

Jann S. Wenner of Rolling Stone interviewed John in 1970. The interview features John discussing a host of topics, including his time with the Beatles, his solo work, and his opinions of various contemporary musicians.

Side one of Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins

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The interview was later published as a book under the title Lennon Remembers. In 2000, Yoko wrote a forward for a paperback version of the interview. In the forward, Yoko reflected on the context surrounding the interview.

Yoko noted how people ridiculed her and her husband for their marriage and how that ridicule hurt John’s feelings. “But in this 1970 interview,” Yoko wrote, “John is hitting back and not doing a bad job of it. Not tactful, not calculated, and, for once, not even particularly clever.” Those are some harsh words. Yoko also felt her husband was long-winded.

Yoko Ono and John Lennon wearing glasses
John Lennon and Yoko Ono | Vinnie Zuffante/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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Regardless, Yoko still had plenty of nice things to say about Lennon Remembers. She called it “classic Lennon,” saying her husband came across as sweet, funny, and energetic in the book. Furthermore, she said the book is “a jolt on your nerves, like bad, bad espresso. People with weak stomachs should close the window before reading. You might just feel like jumping out.”

How Yoko Ono felt about her comments in ‘Lennon Remembers’

While Yoko had a mix of critical and kind things to say about how John came across in Lennon Remembers, she criticized herself as well. In the book, Yoko occasionally chimes in. Yoko described her remarks as “annoying” and wished she hadn’t said a word. She said she was John’s sidekick who laughed “at the right and the wrong times.”

John Lennon and Yoko Ono sitting on chairs
John Lennon and Yoko | Ann Limongello/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

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How the public reacted to ‘Lennon Remembers’

So Yoko’s assessment of Lennon Remembers was somewhat mixed. How did the public respond to the interview? According to Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone nearly went bankrupt prior to the release of the interview. However, Lennon Remembers made the magazine more prominent than it ever was before. 

Wenner sold the interview to a publisher for a whopping $40,000. Lennon Remembers is still in print to this day. Yoko had some mixed feelings on the book, but the world at large embraced it.