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John Lennon

Can you obtain details on Elton John inviting John Lennon to sing with him on Thanksgiving Day?


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September 19, 2009 3:01AM

There are several accounts of this, in biographies of both men. The short version is that Elton John made John Lennon promise that if Lennon's 1974 single "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night" (one of two Lennon recordings he sang on that year) became a #1 chart hit, Lennon would perform at one of John's concerts. Lennon had little faith in the song, and made the promise thinking he wouldn't have to keep it.

The record hit Number One a few weeks later, and John held Lennon to his promise. Lennon guest-starred at John's Thanksgiving Day concert, performing three songs with him and his band: "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night", "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" (which John had covered earlier in the year, with Lennon's blessings and collaboration), and a loose performance of "I Saw Her Standing There", an early Beatles song that none of them had actually sung onstage before. (McCartney was the lead vocalist, when the Beatles had performed it.) Nobody knew it at the time, but this turned out to be Lennon's last public performance.

Both May Pang (Lennon and Yoko Ono's personal assistant, who lived with Lennon when he and Ono were separated) and Yoko Ono were also at the show; Ono in the audience, Pang backstage. Ono came backstage afterwards, and it was the first time they'd seen each other in months. Someone took a photo, and they treasured it later. They rekindled their marriage, and Lennon moved back in, with their son Sean Lennon born months later. Elton John became Sean's godfather.