The Abbey Road recording sessions started in mid July 1969 and continued through August. I took this shot near the end of July, as John strummed his guitar and sang softly to "Come Together". When I held up my camera he nodded his assent. But with a condition: "Just don't make me look like Frankenstein's monster," he chided, pointing to the healing scars on his forehead.I had heard about his car accident, but didn't know details. Luckily, he felt like talking, and he filled me in.On the first of July, John, Yoko, her daughter Kyoko and his son Julian had spent a holiday in the Highlands of Scotland. John had gone there a lot as a child, since that was where his cousin lived, and took his family to show them the placed he'd loved in his youth. Unfortunately, the narrow roads had some precarious turns, and John drove right into a ravine. He ended up with 17 stitches, Yoko 14, and the two kids emerged completely unharmed."But Cyn was furious," he confided. Apparently, Julian's mum raced up to Durness, Scotland to snatch her child back from the father who'd "put his life in danger." John and Yoko stayed in hospital until 6 July, at which time a helicopter airlifted them back to London."If you ever get into a car accident, make sure it's in the Scottish Highlands," he told me with a wink. "The hospital is brilliant up there."He also told me that Yoko planned to bring the car back to their house in Ascot and mount it on a pedestal in the garden. "It'll be a ‘happening' from now on. A work of art," he laughed.I nodded, but I also realised he was putting on a brave face, acting less shaken than he really was. Just before the recordings started, John had moved a full-sized bed right into the studios–not just for his and Yoko's "bed-ins" but because he wanted her to stay close during the Abbey Road sessions, and she was still recovering. That closeness exacerbated the already tense dynamic among the four band members, but John had just come face-to-face with his own mortality and needed the one he loved to be there. The general public may have vilified Yoko Ono , but the man whom they idolised so much came up with some great tracks because of her. Because of the accident and the hostility directed towards Yoko, John spent the least time at Abbey Road during those recording sessions. I didn't realise it then, but I'd been lucky to encounter him that day, to find him in a congenial mood and to capture what would become a poignant time in all our lives.
Sincerely, Shaun Weiss ESQ