John and Yoko walking down the Rue d’Antibbes during the Cannes Film Festival, May 1971, by Daniel Angeli.
You’ve seen a lot of poorly Photoshopped exaggerations of his variation on the “Keep On Truckin’” strut crossed with a Monty Python “Silly Walk”, but the one up top is as close as I can get to the original, via reddit (normally the LAST place I’d normally go for historical accuracy, but there’s a first time for everything), with another shot from just after.
John Lennon looking happy whilegetting ready to sign autographs (1971)
Specifically, happy to be signing autographs WITH YOKO for a new paperback edition of her book Grapefruit! The book is especially notable for containing a poem that inspired John to write “Imagine”, later acknowledging that he should have credited her with co-writing the song. The poem is printed on the back cover of the album.
Whatever nonsense people have wanted to spew about them as a couple for over 50 years, the fact is that John was nuts about Yoko, and took enormous pleasure and pride in her accomplishments. In May 1971, he accompanied her to Cannes to show off her films “Apotheosis” and “Fly” (TONS of pics of that here at tumblr; here are some of mine), and in September 1971, would go with her to Albany for the “I’m Not Here” exhibition of her art. (The 1971 birthday video and photos of him floating around tumblr were taken there, and he was seeing wearing a t-shirt from that exhibit well into 1972.)
The glorious footage above was taken on July 17, on their way to Selfridge’s in London, which was quite a mob scene, one of his first forays into public life since the breakup of The Beatles. There’s no question that most folks were there to see John, but the couple made the most of it.
Check these fantastic pics from Meet The Beatles For Real, a fantastic site packed full of fans meeting all four members of the band over the years in every imaginable context.
Check this out: John and Yoko were signing the books AT THE SAME TIME!
Yeah, he was sometimes an epically shitty husband to Yoko, as he’d been an epically shitty husband to Cynthia, because he was a sometimes a shitty guy in general. But I love that he got into therapy, rewired his life, and after acknowledging the many ways he’d been failing to do so for most of his life, took concrete steps to do a better job living up to his ideals.
That’s why these images of John and Yoko happy together mean so much to me. Not just that he’s adorable here (which he is). Not just that he’s proud of his girl (which he is). He wanted to do better, be better, and he did the work to get there.