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Wedding Wednesday: John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Did she break up the band or didn't she? That's been the big question for nearly five decades. John Lennon and Yoko Ono met in November of 1966 at an art gallery opening in London where Ono's work was soon to be on exhibit. Was it love at first sight? Who's to say. But it was certainly a whirlwind and sometimes controversial relationship.
Wedding Wednesday: John Lennon and Yoko Ono
John and Yoko arm in arm, proudly holding up their marriage license.

Did she break up the band or didn’t she? That’s been the big question for nearly five decades. John Lennon and Yoko Ono met in November of 1966 at an art gallery opening in London where Ono’s work was soon to be on exhibit. Was it love at first sight? Who’s to say. But it was certainly a whirlwind and sometimes controversial relationship.

Wedding Wednesday: John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Yoko and John leaving Gibraltar after their speedy wedding.

Not quite three years later, Yoko and John married. Even that wasn’t without its troubles. Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman had just gotten married and two days later Yoko and John flew to Paris and tried to marry there but they needed a longer stay in the country to quality. A handful of days prior, they had tried to get married on a cross-channel ferry from Southhampton, but that was thwarted by officials because Yoko wasn’t a British citizen and so she couldn’t get the day visa needed to cross. But even if she had, the captains of the ferries were no longer allowed to marry travelers anyway.

Wedding Wednesday: John Lennon and Yoko Ono
John and Yoko. I can see what looks like a gold band on Yoko’s ring finger but no engagement ring.

So after speaking to Peter Brown, the Beatles’ personal assistant and a board member of Apple Corps, a multimedia corporation founded in London in January 1968 by the members of the Beatles to replace their earlier company (Beatles Ltd), they chartered yet another plane and headed to Gibraltar, Yoko in a white mini skirt. large floppy hat and knee high socks and John in a matching jacket and sweater. As John later said, “We were calling Peter Brown, and said, ‘We want to get married. Where can we go?’ And he called back and said, ‘Gibraltar’s the only place.’ So – ‘OK, let’s go!’ And we went there and it was beautiful. It’s The Pillar Of Hercules, and also symbolically they called it The End Of The World at one period. There’s some name besides Pillar Of Hercules – but they thought the world outside was a mystery from there, so it was like the gateway to the world. So we liked it in the symbolic sense, and the rock foundation of our relationship.”

Wedding Wednesday: John Lennon and Yoko Ono
The commemorative Wedding Album.

The date? March 20, 1969, the first day of Spring. They released a joint LP to commemorate the occasion called The Wedding Album, full of memorabilia, photos songs about their wedding. On their honeymoon (which began about an fews hours after getting married, as they were back in Paris by then), they first stayed in the Plaza Athéné and then headed to Amsterdam where they famously stayed at the Hilton and staged a “Bed-In” (similar to a sit-in protest) and proclaimed it was a demonstration for peace. Then it was off to Vienna and even in a time when the news was much less global than today, Yoko and John seemed to be everywhere and perhaps the most famous couple in the world.

Wedding Wednesday: John Lennon and Yoko Ono
John and Yoko in Amsterdam at the Hilton for their “Bed-In.”

For the 30th anniversary of the couple’s wedding, Gibraltar issued postage stamps of John and Yoko reminding the world of the most famous wedding ever to have been held on the famous rock. And now, fifty years later, Yoko has just announced that she has authorized the re-release of The Wedding Album as a tribute to what would have been their golden anniversary.

Were you team Yoko? Team Beatles? Did she break them up or was everyone just teetering on the edge and she happened along at just the right time? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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