John Lennon and Yoko Ono's first concert is celebrated 50 years on

4 March 2019, 11:45 | Updated: 15 January 2024, 10:52

John Lennon and Yoko Ono
John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Picture: Getty

John Lennon famously sat with his back to the audience for most of the 1969 concert.

A special plaque has been unveiled in commemoration of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s first public concert, which took place 50 years ago at Cambridge University.

Yoko Ono held a jazz performance at Lady Mitchell Hall on March 2, 1969 while Lennon joined her as “her band”.

QUIZ: How much do you know about John Lennon?

The plaque reads: “Yoko Ono John Lennon Cambridge 1969”, and has been unveiled to mark the event. There will also be a six-month exhibition of Ono’s work at various cities.

The couple’s experimental jazz concert was only briefly covered at the time in the student publication The Cambridge News. It explained that Lennon sat with his back to the audience for most of the 26-minute set.

Lennon and Ono
Picture: Getty

One section in the article described how Ono opened with a “fearsome siren note” and finished the gig with “a long series of screams”.

Lennon was sat by her feet with his back to the crowd, “holding, shaking, swinging electronic guitars right up against a large speaker”.

In 1980, Lennon spoke about the Cambridge concert, telling the BBC: “The audience were very weird, because they were all these sort of intellectual artsy-fartsies from Cambridge."

Doesn't sound like a classic, but it certainly was iconic.

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