To Make A Long Story Short
David M Spindel

How I Met John Lennon And Yoko Ono - My Own Double Fantasy

John Lennon Yoko Ono At The Hit Factory Double Fantasy Musicians


As a teenager growing up in Brooklyn, I enjoyed the music and movies of John Lennon and The Beatles. Little did I know what the future held for me.


I have been primarily a still-life, commercial photographer since 1965 and although I have photographed numerous celebrities and musicians, it is not an area of photography that I focused on developing in the early part of my career.


Do Unto Others Philosphy...Linked Me To Lennon

There’s an old saying that “no good deed goes unpunished” and then there are situations where something nice comes back to you. I was in the process of building a new home in New York and our architect’s fiancé said she wanted to learn how to work as a photographer’s agent. I said, “Why don’t you come in and I’ll tell you all about it.” We spent a couple days going over the business and when she felt confident she said, “Now I've got to find a photographer to represent”. So, I suggested that she represent me. She got very nervous and said, “How can I represent you, you’re a famous photographer, and I’ve never done this before.” I said, “Cut the crap with the famous photographer. I’m just a guy who takes pictures and earns a living doing it. I need to give you a chance because if you approach any other photographer, there’s no way they’re going to hire you without any experience. So I let her rep me.


Future Forecast With John Lennon And Yoko Ono

About two weeks later she came back and said, “My future brother-in-law got a job working with some musicians who are recording an album and they’re looking for a photographer.” I said, “Well, who is it?’ And she said, “Well, it’s someone who’s been in the music industry for a while but hasn’t done a record in five years. And, well, I can’t tell you because of strict confidentiality reasons.” I’d done some work with KISS and other groups but this sounded sketchy to me so I put together a portfolio of some photographs and portraits that were rather unusual as a way to get out of being seriously considered for the assignment - thinking they would say, “This guy isn’t right for us.”


To make a long story short, these musicians hired me!


On Location At The Hit Factory

Still, not knowing who the musicians were, off I went to The Hit Factory, NYC. When I arrived, I remember getting a premonition that the people I was about to photograph were very special. Moments later, Yoko came out of the recording room. She looked familiar but I wasn’t sure. I had not seen that many recent photos of her and even so, people look different when you see them in person. Quietly, Yoko led me to a small room and left me there to set up my equipment.


The first photo she wanted was of a group of about ten musicians. I told her that there wouldn’t be sufficient space in the room she had picked so we selected another area. When I went back to get my equipment, a man was lying on a floor mat getting a massage. I thought to myself, "Wow, these musicians have got it made!” As I started to move my equipment, the man on the floor turned towards me. It was John Lennon. Now him, I knew! I broke out in a cold sweat! I was going to photograph John Lennon! He turned to me and said, “I usually charge people a fee to watch me get a massage.” I was sure he was joking so I thought for a second and said, “I usually charge people to watch me move my equipment - let’s just call it even.” He replied, “I’m gonna enjoy working with you.”


Lennon Loving Life

After I finished setting up in the large room, John walked in. There was something very undeniably extraordinary about him that’s difficult to put into words. I can say he had an inner wisdom, a charisma, and an uncommon yet perfect sense of humanity that few people possess. Spending time with him made me feel absolutely incredible, positive, and alive. His love of life and family seemed to be what inspired him most and he was a man who truly loved his work – his music.


The next day, I brought all the photographs from the photo session back to the Dakota to show John and Yoko. Most of the comments John made about the photos made everyone laugh and I felt very exhilarated being there with both of them. As I departed the Dakota, John said, “I look forward to seeing you again”.


As I rode back to my studio, I found it difficult to believe this whole experience really happened. During the next month, Yoko & I made arrangements for more photos but their busy recording schedule became prohibitive. I couldn‘t wait to photograph them in my studio. I must have taken the photographs in my mind over a hundred times as I prepared for that day. Weeks passed and now it was the month of December – and tragedy struck.


For days I found it difficult to believe that it really happened. I feel that John will never really die - for he lives on in our hearts and minds through the genuine spirit of his music, lyrics, and paintings. There are no more words to be spoken. I will always have truly fond memories of the special time I spent with John and feel truly blessed to continue a great friendship with Yoko to this day. –David M. Spindel

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Kenny Holman

David, Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.