The Beatles were born into The Blues.  Their early work is washed in the tinted tones of human suffering and a wailing against a natural born plot in life.  When I recently watched the 1988 documentary — Imagine: John Lennon — I was provided us an intimate look into the making of John’s Imagine album, and I was struck by the kindness John and Yoko gave to a Stranger discovered living in a garden on their English estate.

Here is a clip from the documentary and it starts off with John in studio singing a sort of mean song about Paul McCartney; but at 3:58 into the video, you will see the face below appear.  That disheveled man is a deranged Stranger living in John’s garden. 

The Stranger believes John is speaking to him through the lyrics of his songs.  John tries to explain to the guy that he isn’t writing about him because his songs are just a mashup of disconnected ideas. 

In the most frightening moment of the movie — in the living history of the sad knowledge of Mark David Chapman to come in late 1980 — John invites the Stranger inside his house for tea and toast.

If you haven’t seen the documentary, you should.

John Lennon becomes a real and tortured person.  He has joys and sorrows and he’s just like everyone else — except that he writes great songs.

The biggest surprise in the movie is Yoko Ono.  She has been demonized in the Press.  She has been called “The Dragon Lady” who seduced John and broke up the Beatles — but when you watch her in situ in the middle of her life and centered in John’s love; she is transformed into a beautiful and touching woman.  She clearly loves John.  He absolutely loves her.  They are artistic collaborators of the highest notion.

John Lennon’s life was riddled with personal losses.  He never connected with his father and his mother was in and out of his life in cruel ways; and so Yoko becomes his Earth Mother and his heartfelt magnum of warmth
and human understanding, and we grow to love Yoko just as much as John
did and that was a delightful and unexpected gift of the moment.


  1. Beautiful article, David. Yoko did worlds of wonder for John and it is not our place to think we know what effect she may have had on the Beatles.

  2. Thanks, Gordon! I admit I was one of those who believed the perils and the lies against Yoko. Now I know better. You can’t hide your true self on film. I actually think I liked her more as a person than I did John!

  3. I knew the outline of the life of Lenon but not in great details, I have to find out the documentary. Thanks for sharing this David!

  4. You get an intimate look at John’s life. It’s really a well-done documentary that is narrated by Lennon — after his death — because he gave so many interviews to people. He recorded his life.

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