“In some ways John was a highly complex person, but, in others, he was a person who retained his innocence. On one level he remained the kid he’d been in his home town. The fact that he still kept his childlike character probably saved him and helped him greatly when he was writing songs because he was always able to remember what it was like to be a child.
The first time we met, I didn’t know who he was, but I found him totally, totally attractive - not that he was known as the most conventionally handsome man in the world but he had a charm which was very alluring and endearing . I think it was because he was so honest. Coming from New York, it took me a while to warm to English guys and John was the first one that I related to; there was something so human about him. It’s never easy just to be yourself, but John was very good at that.
I was not very happy about it, but one of my strongest memories of John was the first time he made me laugh. He just grabbed an apple that was in my exhibition [in 1966, at London’s Indica Gallery, Ono showed her avant-garde work which contained an apple on sale for £200] took a bite out of it and just looked at me. I was very, very upset because it was my work. I thought, How dare he, what a rude person! And I just looked at him and he could see that I didn’t like it and he registered this and did a shy little smile and put it back on the pedestal. At the time I was very upset but when I thought about it after he left, it seemed rather sweet.
He had a very warm view of his past. He thought of Liverpool as a place that was incredibly wonderful. I didn’t hear that from many others at the time. Some people who leave the city they were born in or grew up in say, ‘Thank God I left’. But John always thought it was a great place and he loved it.
In the last week of his life he was planning to go visit his England on the QE2. He wanted to go to Liverpool and show the city he was from to his son Sean..
He was making very interesting statements all the time, especially towards the end. As if he sensed that something was about to happen to his life to change it all. But if you listen to his song Imagine, you will see that everything he was trying to tell his son Sean at the time is in there. All of it. He stuck to being himself to the end.”