There are a few versions of the story of how John Lennon met Yoko Ono, but the most interesting and probably the only true one is the story that they’ve been connected over the word ‘YES’.
According to this story, they met each other on November 7th in 1966 at the Indica Gallery in London at the exhibition “Unfinished Paintings and Objects,” where Yoko prepared her conceptual art exhibit. At that time she was a pretty famous artist on the art scene and John Dunbar, the gallery co-owner and Lennon’s friend, invited him to come a day before opening the exhibition to see gallery and Yoko’s work.
Lennon was not delighted with the avant-garde exhibition he saw. He said he expected some sort of sexual exhibition and he was very disappointed to see that everything was asexual and quiet.
But then he saw Yoko’s “Hammer a Nail.” He wanted to hammer nails into the plain piece of wood, but she didn’t let him do that before the exhibition was to officially open the next day. She asked him to pay five shillings per nail and he paid with imaginary money to hammer an imaginary nail.
Then another Yoko piece caught his attention. That was a ladder and the magnifying glass hanging from the ceiling. He climbed the ladder, took the magnifying glass and saw on the ceiling a tiny word ‘YES’. That positive word made a huge impression on him because most concept art he encountered was “anti” everything.
A few years after that encounter he said to Rolling Stone: “I felt relieved. It’s a great relief when you get up the ladder and you look through the spyglass and it doesn’t say ‘no’ or ‘fuck you’ or something, it said ‘yes.’”
At the time Yoko Ono met Lennon, she was in her second marriage to American jazz musician Anthony Cox and they had a daughter, Kyoko Chan Cox. Lennon was married to Cynthia Lennon and they had a son, Julian. When Yoko and John Lennon met each other they strongly fall in love and one of the famous love stories has begun. The powerful word YES connected them. The word that means approval, positivity, optimism and faith.
Poster for Yoko’s exhibition at the Indica Gallery in London at the exhibition “Unfinished Paintings and Objects”
A few days ago Yoko Ono remembered this story on her Twitter account. “I was not happy with my life so I wanted to say ‘yes’ to me. Yes, Yoko, don’t worry. I wasn’t expecting anything. But it worked, didn’t it?!” she said .
Annie Leibovitz’s famous photo shows John Lennon and Yoko Ono in December 1980 on the last day of Lennon’s life.