Unforgettable Live Performances: John Lennon and Elton John in 1974

On November 28th, 1974, Elton John beat John Lennon on a wager which resulted in Lennon getting up on stage on Thanksgiving day. It would turn out to be Lennon´s final live performance.

Whatever Gets You Thru the Night – John Lennon and Elton John

Elton John played the piano for “Surprise Surprise” and “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” for John Lennon´s 1974 album “Walls and Bridges”. By then, Lennon was the only former Beatle who had not had a No. 1 single. Elton was sure the song “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” would make it to No. 1 and made a bet with Lennon. If it did, he would sing it with him in Madison Square Garden.

Lennon was very nervous. He even went backstage at Elton´s concert in Boston. When he got on stage he said he had not heard screams like that since Beatlemania. He performed two more songs, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds – Elton John & John Lennon


and “I  Saw Her Standing There”. Lennon introduced the song like this: “We tried to think of a number to finish off with so I can get out of here and be sick, and we thought we’d do a number of an old, estranged fiance of mine, called Paul. This is one I never sang, it’s an old Beatle number, and we just about know it.”

“I Saw Her Standing There” – Elton John & John Lennon

There is a rumor that says that it was the night John and Yoko got together after the concert. It is simply a romantic idea of the end of “the Lost Weekend”. The eighteen month separation between the two of them. Since apparently they got together on February, 1975. However, Lennon did send Yoko tickets and Yoko send some orchids to both of them, and they wore them on stage. However, after the concert they did meet backstage and Lennon said

  “She was backstage afterward, and there was just that moment when we saw each other and like, it’s like in the movies, you know, when time stands still?” Lennon said, “and there was silence. Everything went silent, y’know, and we were just sort of lookin’ at each other.”

Lennon only had one No. 1 single as a solo artist in the United States. That baffles me. Also the fact that Elton John was the last person to share a stage with him. And that the concert was the beginning of his reconciliation with Yoko. This makes this performance a definite unforgettable one.

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