John Lennon and Yoko Ono on breaking up The Beatles, 1971.

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Two versions exist of how Lennon met Ono. According to the first, told by the Lennons, on 9 November 1966 Lennon went to the Indica Gallery in London, where Ono was preparing her conceptual art exhibit, and they were introduced by gallery owner John Dunbar.Lennon was intrigued by Ono’s “Hammer A Nail”: patrons hammered a nail into a wooden board, creating the art piece. Although the exhibition had not yet begun, Lennon wanted to hammer a nail into the clean board, but Ono stopped him. Dunbar asked her, “Don’t you know who this is? He’s a millionaire! He might buy it.” Ono had supposedly not heard of the Beatles, but relented on condition that Lennon pay her five shillings, to which Lennon replied, “I’ll give you an imaginary five shillings and hammer an imaginary nail in.” The second version, told by McCartney, is that in late 1965, Ono was in London compiling original musical scores for a book John Cage was working on, Notations, but McCartney declined to give her any of his own manuscripts for the book, suggesting that Lennon might oblige. When asked, Lennon gave Ono the original handwritten lyrics to “The Word”.

 

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