Chuck Berry, John Lennon’s Reactions To The Awful Screams From Yoko Ono


From the art of writing song lyrics, guitar playing, and stage performance, no other singer has exerted as much influence on John Lennon as Chuck Berry. “When I hear rock, good rock, the caliber of Chuck Berry, I just fall apart,”John admitted in an interview, “and I have no other interest in life. The world could be ending if rock ‘n’ roll is playing.”

He wasted no time singing a duet with his idol while he and his wife, Yoko Ono, co-hosted The Mike Douglas Show in February 1972. The trio performed a killer version of Berry’s 1959 song, “Memphis, Tennessee.”


Yoko Ono played backup for John Lennon and Chuck Berry


Berry and Lennon were joined in the rendition by a backing band with Yoko Ono on percussion. A few minutes into the performance, she added an avant-garde wail to the sound, which embarrassed Berry and made him give the cameraman a stern look.

RELATED: John Lennon Wishes He Had Lead Vocals On One Beatles Song

Mid-way into the song, she grabs the mic one more time to contribute to the duet, but she lets out another wibble-wobble wail. The engineer who had taken the cue decided to switch off her microphone to avoid further interruptions.

Chuck Berry got PTSD after Yoko Ono’s horrible performance

NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CLASS REUNION, Chuck Berry, 1982. TM and ©Copyright Twentieth Century Fox Films. All rights reserved./Courtesy Everett Collection.

Despite the horrible display by Yoko Ono, the late singer continued with the song and was later diagnosed with PTSD. Berry’s plumber, Bill Osmer, revealed that he was never the same after the incident on The Mike Douglas Show.

“Sure he went on and continued the song. He was a true professional, but he started spiraling shortly after the incident,” Osmer explained. “First, the headaches started, then the nightmares, insomnia, vertigo, and explosive diarrhea. Eventually, Chuck received therapy and was diagnosed with PTSD from the Yoko incident.”

Yoko Ono claimed that her performance was outstanding

IMAGINE: JOHN LENNON, from left: John Lennon, Yoko Ono, 1988. © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Contrary to public opinion, Yoko Ono disclosed to Madhouse News that her display on the show was great but was hampered by Lennon and Berry’s showmanship. “Are you kidding me? I was brilliant that day. If anything, it was John and Chuck Berry’s playing and singing that interfered with my genius,” she told the outlet. “Those two have no talent, I wish they would have STFU and let me shine. They were both such spotlight hogs. Mike Douglas only had those two on the show to get to me.” One gets the sense that she was being sarcastic. Let’s hope so.

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