The Beatles' music: quotes and info

“The Ballad of John And Yoko”

About “The Ballad of John And Yoko”

“The Ballad of John and Yoko” / “Old Brown Shoe” single cover

“The Ballad of John and Yoko” was released by The Beatles as a non-album single in May 1969 backed by “Old Brown Shoe“. Originally composed by John Lennon, it was credited to the Lennon–McCartney partnership, chronicling the events surrounding Lennon’s wedding to Yoko Ono. It was the Beatles’ 17th and final UK number-one single. Due to the lyrics’ reference to Christ and the crucifixion, some radio stations banned it in the United States. On the US Billboard Hot 100, the single reached number 8. Later, the song appeared on compilation albums like Hey Jude, 1967–1970 and 1.

While Lennon and Ono were honeymooning in Paris, he wrote the song. It describes the couple’s March 1969 wedding and their highly publicized honeymoon activities, such as their “Bed-In” at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel and their demonstration of “bagism”. A 1969 interview with Alan Smith of the NME described it as “Johnny B. Paperback Writer”; a 1980 interview described it as “a piece of journalism”.

On 14 April, John Lennon brought the song to Paul McCartney’s home in St John’s Wood, London, eager to record it that evening. McCartney was alarmed at the references to Christ in the new song, recalling Lennon’s “more popular than Jesus” remarks in 1966, but agreed to assist Lennon. According to Ono, Paul knew that people were nasty to John, and he just wanted to make things right for him. Paul has a very brotherly side to him.”


  • John Lennon – lead vocal, lead guitars, acoustic guitar, percussion
  • Paul McCartney – bass guitar, drums, piano, maracas, harmony vocal

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