YOKO REMEMBERS LINDA:

The first time I met Linda was at one of the Beatles’ recording sessions. Paul introduced her to us. She was attractive, obviously—she had a sunshine smile—but I thought that there was a certain vulnerability about her. Later I came to understand that that impression was wrong, because when I think of Linda’s life, I think of a very strong woman.

One day, around the time of that first meeting, Paul brought in to the studio some photographs of Linda in New York, in front of the building where she grew up. She was wearing a camel coat and a white scarf, just looking casual and glancing around. That is the Linda I remember from that time.

During the Beatles’ sessions, Linda and I quickly learned that our husbands were not all buddy-buddy. John and Paul were both talented but very strong-willed people. There was some tension there. Linda and I left them alone. But we didn’t go chummy-chummy, wink-wink, “Aren’t they silly boys?” either. We both stood by our men. That was how we were.

Then came the Beatles’ breakup. The world blamed it on Linda and me. The attack was like a storm. I think the fans needed a scapegoat, and they chose us! We both had the love and protection of our husbands. Linda had that very much from Paul. But still, it could not have been easy for her.

The long years after the breakup were not easy, either. John and Paul were not talking. John and I would play Paul’s latest Wings record in our kitchen. John would say some nice things. He couldn’t say it to Paul, but when Paul was not around, John would say nice things about Paul. When Paul and Linda got a farm in Scotland, John said, “That’s Linda. She’s good for him.”

Was the ice finally starting to melt? In the late Seventies, Paul and Linda came to visit us a few times in New York. In a fine old Liverpool tradition, the two guys did most of the talking, and we sat beside them as Paul held Linda’s hand and John held mine. It was nice to see the guys talk after all those years, even if a little stiffness existed between them.

After John’s passing, Sean and I started to receive Linda’s beautiful calendar every year. We felt her warmth; and as a photographer she was getting into her most creative years.

We both wanted to show our farms to each other. I was about to go to London with Sean at the time. “Mine first, then,” Linda said. So Sean and I were invited to her farm. I say Linda’s farm, because you really felt Linda’s energy there – you just knew that she was the one who had created this environment for her husband and their children. There was something very real about the way they lived. They weren’t surrounded by servants or anything. And it was wonderful. Linda had horses and sheep – it was a working farm, not a manicured estate.

She and her children were doing things together. Seeing them with Sean was great. Hopefully, our children will be wiser than us.

What I noticed with sadness was that Paul and Linda’s children were living with the pain of what their mother went through. Their mother was attacked by the world and for a long time not recognized for her achievements. Everything that was good was considered the work of her husband, and everything the public did not approve of was considered her doing. I didn’t hear any of this from Linda. But when I met her children and saw how protective they were of their mother, I felt the pain of their knowledge that the world was not always kind to her.

When I heard of her illness, my first instinct was to share that with the fans at the concert I was giving in London and to pray together. But, of course, I couldn’t. So I dedicated the concert to “a friend in England who has been taken ill.” “Names!” they shouted. “No names!” I shouted back. That’s how it was. We were no-name friends.

The last conversation I had with her was in January this year. She sounded like the usual powerful and energetic Linda. I thought she had beaten the disease.

Linda and I did not meet up and have coffee and muffins in a corner cafe or anything like that. But we communicated. We communicated in deeds more than in words. When she was strong, I felt strong. She took a sad song and made it better. Her commitment to vegetarianism and animal rights brought her message to a wider audience than that of rock & roll. But her most important contributions were all made in private. Just like so many women before her, she made a difference in silence. It was nice to know you, Linda.

With love,
Yoko

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14 Responses to “YOKO REMEMBERS LINDA:”

  1. lizzie says:

    beautiful

  2. Chris says:

    Wow a rare photo of Linda and Yoko at the table. Yoko seems to be putting on a forced smile. She was pregnant I hope she wasn’t drinking wine!
    I was actually thinking of the photo of Yoko and Linda on the bed yesterday. It just popped in my head. Do you know that Linda and Yoko attended Sarah Lawrence College? Of course it was different times. What are the odds of two college alumni marrying the two most important song writers of our time, next to Dylan.

  3. Chris says:

    Why is Linda dressed in different clothes in each picture but Yoko has the same clothes on?

  4. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for sharing this, it was very touching. <3

  5. CindyB says:

    I think I have seen these pictures before. It was sweet what Yoko said about Lin. They were both blamed for the Beatles breaking up, but they still tried to stay strong. I was never a big fan of Yoko’s, but I am glad that Paul and Yoko are now friends.

  6. Sarah says:

    what a lovely story, and thank you for sharing it! These women did not deserve being blamed for breaking-up The Beatles. But I can’t help wondering if Yoko felt resentment during the time when the photos were taken, because she’d had a couple miscarriages with John, and it didn’t take long for Linda and Paul to have a child together…

  7. TheyKnittedHim says:

    Tammy: Thank you so much for posting this article. I never saw it beofre – I never even knew it existed. What a wonderful read: honest, sincere, and very touching.

  8. Brian says:

    Sweet photos.

    It’s good on one hand that Yoko goes on record saying kind things about Linda. But I don’t know about the “no-name friends” bit… kind of ambiguous.

    Is it true Yoko wasn’t asked to attend the NY memorial for Linda, although May Pang was?

  9. Tammy says:

    Yoko or Sean were not invited to the memorials, May Pang was. In early 1998 Yoko made the ‘Saliera’ comment about Paul, which i’m sure hurt Linda, and Paul knowing how ill Linda was i’m sure that anyone who upset Linda at this time was was going to rank pretty high on his enemy list .. i’m kind of glad they have sorted it by now, both parties are working to make the transition to the children as smooth as possible, Yoko has stated this as fact, they are spending a lot of time ensuring all court cases and legal loose ends are tied up before the reins are handed to the kids and the wives.

  10. Brian says:

    Yes I remember Yoko’s comments (“moon in june” wasn’t it?) but didn’t realize that was all around the same time as Linda’s illness.

    I remember thinking it daft they were quarreling after all these years, I thought they had officially laid to rest any on-going Lennon-McCartney feuds with “Hiroshima Sky Is Always Blue” (not to mention Anthology from around the same time).

  11. Misty says:

    Their husbands were not buddy-buddy? Hmm…well before Yoko entered the picture they were more buddy-buddy, that’s for sure! Gee I wonder why?

  12. Brian says:

    I reckon if you think kind things of someone you should let them know it while they’re still around.

    If you save it up for when they’re gone, it starts to look like you either don’t really mean it, or you are saying it just to make yourself feel better…

  13. Robert says:

    Beautiful story.

    Was this written recently?

  14. Darryn says:

    Very touching account of Linda from Yoko. They both got a really bad rap with Beatles fans, but they were obviously very special people in the lives of John and Paul, which pretty much speaks for itself. Aside from some potentially irritating behavior on everyone’s part toward the end, I’ve never once seen any footage or read any interview where Linda and Yoko both didn’t act with dignity and absolute class. I’m glad she published this.

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