Why did John & Yoko get married in Gibraltar?

Wedding photo

The famous image of John & Yoko standing in front of the Rock of Gibraltar was very much on brand. What greater symbol of the eternity of their love? It was, however, a wedding location chosen out of necessity rather than a carefully thought out mission statement.

The decision to marry was taken on March 13, the day following the wedding of Paul and Linda. The future Lennon-Onos had not attended their bandmate's big day. According to Paul:
"I really don't remember whether or not I invited any of the band to the wedding," said McCartney. "Why not? I'm a total bastard, I suppose — I don't know, really. Maybe it was because the group was breaking up. We were all pissed off with each other.

John and Yoko certainly weren't waiting for returns at the box office. They couldn't escape news of the event, however, which dominated the weekend's news cycle. And whiled being driven home after visiting Aunt Mimi on the south coast, John made a sensational announcement to his chauffeur: "We're getting married!"

"Congratulations, sir! When is the happy day?"

"As soon as possible! Why not today?"


There were a few hurdles to overcome, a Lennon later explained. They wanted to marry abroad but did not have their passports with them. Other proposed venues - like Paris - had boring rules and paperwork.
"We wanted to get married on a cross-channel ferry – that was the romantic part. We went to Southampton and then we couldn't get on because she wasn't English, and she couldn't get the day visa to go across. They said, 'Anyway, you can't get married. The Captain's not allowed to do it any more.'"
h Beatles fixer Peter Brown pulling every string imaginable, the couple were married there on March 20, 1969. Just over a week had passed since Paul and Linda had tied the knot

The Ballad 

The Rock rocked as far the bride and bridegroom were concerned. Among those less thrilled were Cynthia Lennon, the British Foreign Office  and General Franco. The ballad describes Gibraltar as 'near Spain'. 

This managed to please nobody. Gibraltar was and is a British Overseas Territory but that status is disputed by Spain. Geographically it is part of the Spanish mainland, but its population consistently votes to retain its current status.

The Caudillo promptly banned the The Ballad of John & Yoko across the jurisdiction of the territory he did control. 

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