11 June 2007

The inside story of John and Yoko; Drugs, abortion and life with John; Yoko Ono lifts the lid on her marriage to the Beatles legend

Yoko Ono gave the BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs listeners an insight into the world she shared with the former Beatle, including revelations that the couple were regular heroin and users and that she almost aborted their only son, Sean.

  • Yoko claimed that a greedy heroin dealer was all that kept her and John Lennon from a deadly addiction. Because the dealer mixed baby powder with the drug to maximise his profits, she said, it meant the couple were exposed to lower concentrations than many of their contemporaries. She said the combination of the pair's fear of needles and the diluted nature of the drugs they were taken meant they had been able to kick the habit of heroin, which she described as "the big one". "Luckily we never injected because both of us were totally scared about needles. So that probably saved us and the other thing that saved us was our connection was not very good. "But that saved us actually."

  • She revealed that their son Sean might never have been born. When she discovered she was pregnant, she had been prepared to have an abortion but left the decision up to John. She and Lennon had just become reconciled after an 18-month separation, and she "didn't know if it was the right moment to have a child. I just didn't want to burden him with something he didn't want". She said Lennon's response was "Of course we're gonna keep it." It was "like he was really upset with my question or suggestion. And, I thought, well, we'll go ahead with this".

  • She also revealed how Lennon's insistence on going to see his son might have cost him his life. In the moments before Lennon was gunned down by a crazed fan outside their New York apartment on December 8, 1980, she had suggested going for a meal - but Lennon was adamant he wanted to go home and see his child. "We were returning from the studio, and I said, 'Should we go and have dinner before we go home?' and John was saying, 'No, let's go home because I want to see Sean before he goes to sleep'. That was the last thing he said."

  • Yoko admitted that she and Lennon had been "narcissistic" by staging their honeymoon "bed-in" for peace at the Amsterdam Hilton in 1969.

  • She blamed the massive public affection for Lennon combined with an element of racism for the way she was vilified over her relationship-with him.

  • Yoko took the reigns and guest DJ'd for a spell but spun no Beatles tunes and just one Lennon solo tune. Among other things she played Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien by Edith Piaf and Seoul, by Amiina. At least she didn't play her own records.

  • Read the whole story, here.

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