The Daily Mail has once again an article about former Beatles John Lennon, and a BBC journalist named Andy Peebles who interviewed the late Beatles, just two days before he was assassinated in the street of New York City. But more than focusing on Lennon himself, the article concentrates on Yoko Ono, Lennon’s famous widow, with a scandalous headline, ‘The dark truth about Yoko Ono’… Another article bashing the woman who broke up the Beatles I thought? Yes it is, but at the same time, it is truly disturbing.
After millions of people listened to his famous interview which was broadcasted on BBC Radio One in January 1981, Peebles developed a friendship with Yoko. However, according to the Daily Mail, he has never talked about what happened in the aftermath of the interview. I don’t know why Peebles waited 35 years to get this out of chest, but if your opinion of Yoko Ono was already tarnished by the numerous articles relating her exploitation of Lennon’s death, well this one is not going to make you more at ease.
Peebles reveals a few creepy things. First, he suspects that Yoko manipulated him for commercial profit, and that the album ‘Double Fantasy’, which was a way to restore Lennon’s career after a five-year absence, was in fact a fraud as Peebles now thinks Lennon and Ono were only back together to plug their new album. In any case, Yoko wanted a big part of the interview: ‘Right, if we are going to do this, I need to make very clear to you that this interview will be 50 per cent about John, and 50 per cent about me,’ she told Peebles right away. But it went very well and Peebles and Ono grew closer after Lennon’s death,… he even received the royal treatment and the exclusivity of her interviews. However, one thing disturbed Peebles, far from being affected by her husband’s death, the widow’s energy grew and grew, as she was mounting exhibitions around the world, and was becoming more creatively active. ‘It was obvious to me that John’s murder was working to her advantage,’ Peebles says. That’s a very harsh thing to say but can you disagree when you know that she ‘used John’s death to hype her own new record’, and ‘rushed to record a sentimental B-side compilation of bits of John talking as a souvenir’?
Yoko also launch ‘Brand Lennon’, which we have to think would not have pleased Lennon. But Peebles was especially choked by her new and not so well known relationship with Sam Havadtoy, a sculptor and antiques expert 20 years her junior, and a former Lennon aide. According to Peebles, the track ‘I’m Losing You’ on ‘Double Fantasy’ is about John’s fear of losing Yoko to Havadtoy who moved to the Dakota the same night than Lennon was murdered. And may be the most disturbing thing in the story is Yoko dressing up the guy with Lennon’s clothes,… ‘It was an impersonation that shocked and embarrassed their neighbours’ said Peebles. His suspicions got even more dramatic: ‘I started asking myself whether she and Sam had been having a relationship before John’s death. All the pennies dropped at once.’… ‘I began to wonder if Yoko had encouraged John to go off and have a fling with their PA, May Pang. [May Pang later wrote and published a memoir, Loving John, about their affair] so that she could explore her attraction to Sam Havadtoy.’ I have however read internet rumors that Havadtoy is gay (and I am not only talking about this art piece) so who knows what was going on exactly?
At the end Peebles suspects that their happy couple image was a sham and that Yoko ‘was just an average Japanese artist who got lucky – and wrecked the greatest band that Britain has ever produced.’
May be one of the most revealing parts of the interview is at the end. Peebles, who had been in constant contact with Yoko for years, learnt he was not useful anymore the hard way, ‘The minute she heard that I’d left the BBC to go elsewhere, I never heard from her again.’ Unless Andy Peebles doesn’t tell us all the truth, and it is always a possibility, this is a sign of some cold calculation.
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