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How Elton John Helped John Lennon and Yoko Ono Get Back Together

Rosemary Giles
(Photo Credit: Steve Morley/ Redferns)

John Lennon and Yoko Ono were one of the most iconic couples of the late 1960s and early ’70s. Although the couple was often considered quite controversial, with Yoko frequently blamed for breaking up the Beatles, they married in 1969. Their intense romance ended in 1973, however, when the couple separated, and John moved on to have a relationship with another woman.

The couple didn’t stay separated, however. Yoko Ono appeared at a show that Elton John and John Lennon played together in 1974, leading to the couple’s reconciliation. An unlikely figure played Cupid to rekindle their relationship and get Yoko to go to the show.

The beginning of John and Yoko

The future couple first met in 1966 at an art gallery where Yoko was holding an art exhibition. When they met, both John and Yoko were married to other people, but those relationships eventually ended as they felt an instant connection to each other. Allegedly, John and his wife Cynthia split up after she returned from holiday to find her husband in their home with Yoko.

Black and white photo of John Lennon and Yoko Ono both wearing blazers and pants, Lennon with a flat cap and sunglasses.

Singer and songwriter John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono arrive at London Airport from New York, 14th July 1971. (Photo Credit: R. Brigden/ Daily Express/ Getty Images)

Throughout their relationship, John and Yoko worked on many projects and philanthropic endeavors. They began to produce music together, but their “bed-in,” and the photos taken during it, are arguably the couple’s most famous legacy. They invited the press to join them in their honeymoon suite in Amsterdam, and then a hotel in Montreal to protest the Vietnam War.

Going their separate ways

The couple eventually called it quits, albeit temporarily, in 1973. This 18-month period became known as the “lost weekend,” when John carried on an affair with the couple’s assistant, May Pang. Many sources, including May herself, say the relationship between her and John was suggested and encouraged by Yoko.

Black and white photo of John Lennon in a black suit and sunglasses beside May Pang, wearing a black leather vest over a black shirt and sunglasses. May is whispering something to John.

May Pang and John Lennon sitting in club in New York, c. 1970. (Photo Credit: Art Zelin/ Getty Images)

According to Yoko, she proposed the arrangement in an effort to save their marriage. About their split, she said that she “was very aware that we were ruining each other’s careers and I was hated and John was hated because of me.” John and May lived together during this period, moving between May’s apartment in New York City, and a house they rented in Los Angeles.

Elton John, the wingman

During the “lost weekend,” John spent time with his friend Elton John, who proposed a bet which resulted in John reuniting with Yoko. Elton said that if his song “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night” hit number one on the charts that John had to perform on stage with him at Madison Square Garden. Sure enough, the song did go all the way to the top. John agreed to join Elton onstage on Thanksgiving, 1974.

Colored photo of Elton John and Yoko Ono dressed in fancy clothes, Yoko in a dress, boa, sunglasses and a hat, Elton in a black suit and sunglasses.

Yoko Ono and Elton John at Dior Homme – Men’s Collection Fall/Winter 2005/2006. (Photo Credit: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/ Getty Images)

In his memoir, Me, Elton credits John and Yoko’s reunion to her showing up at the concert even though John didn’t want her there. And Elton’s guitarist at the time, Davey Johnstone, believes that Elton worked with John’s new assistant to get Yoko to the show.

More from us: Fan-Favorite Beatles Songs That John Lennon Absolutely Hated

John and Yoko reconciled in the months after the concert, and stayed together until John was killed in 1980. During the five years before his death, John and Yoko had their son Sean, and Elton was made his godfather. Elton has shared many stories of John with his godson over the years.