EVERY UK NUMBER ONE SONG: ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’ – The Beatles

What was the number one song in the UK on 11th June 1969?

Here it is, the final UK number one from those four lads from Liverpool. The Ballad of John and Yoko reached number one for 3 weeks.

Here we are then, the 17th and final ever Beatles number one (however, we will be seeing certain members of the Beatles again on these here pages). While, the majority of the later Beatles’ number one tracks seem to be written by McCartney, this is a Lennon penned song. He wrote it about the events surrounding his wedding to Yoko Ono and their honeymoon where they staged a “bed-in”. It was recorded without both George Harrison (was on holiday) and Ringo Starr (was filming a movie). Many radio stations in the US declined to play the song as they believed using words such as “Christ” and “crucify” in the lyrics as sacrilegious. Despite this, it still managed to reach no.8 in the US. The Spanish government objected to the song because of the line “Gibraltar near Spain” and the long-standing debate over Gibraltar’s status between Spain and the UK. The song is a rockabilly-esque number that flows nicely from verse to chorus. However, it’s not one of my favourite Beatles’ songs and it is a shame in some ways, that it was their final number one. Especially considering Something and Come Together were both released together after The Ballad of John and Yoko was.

Lyrics

Standing in the dock at Southampton
Trying to get to Holland or France
The man in the mac said
You’ve got to go back
You know they didn’t even give us a chance
Christ you know it ain’t easy
You know how hard it can be
The way things are going
They’re going to crucify me
Finally made the plane into Paris
Honeymooning down by the Seine
Peter Brown call to say
You can make it O.K.
You can get married in Gibraltar near Spain
Christ you know it ain’t easy
You know how hard it can be
The way things are going
They’re going to crucify me
Drove from Paris to the Amsterdam Hilton
Talking in our beds for a week
The newspapers said
Say what’re you doing in bed
I said we’re only trying to get us some peace
Christ you know it ain’t easy
You know how hard it can be
The way things are going
They’re going to crucify me
Saving up your money for a rainy day
Giving all your clothes to charity
Last night the wife said
Oh boy when you’re dead
You don’t take nothing with you but your soul, think
Made a lightning trip to Vienna
Eating chocolate cake in a bag
The newspapers said
She’s gone to his head
They look just like two gurus in drag
Christ you know it ain’t easy
You know how hard it can be
The way things are going
They’re going to crucify me
Caught the early plane back to London
Fifty acorns tied in a sack
The men from the press
Said we wish you success
It’s good to have the both of you back
Christ you know it ain’t easy
You know how hard it can be
The way things are going
They’re going to crucify me
The way things are going
They’re going to crucify me

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