Excerpt: 'The Last Days of Dead Celebrities'

Thanksgiving at the Lennon apartment, just a week after the release of Double Fantasy, turned out to be a simple celebration, with only three people in attendance that night: John, Yoko, and Sean. "It seemed like we were the only family we had then," said Yoko. "Thanksgiving is about collecting your family, and mine was in Japan, and John's was in England. John was an only child, his parents were both gone, and Thanksgiving is not an English holiday. So who were we going to invite? I mean, I could have called Japan, and said, 'Come to Thanksgiving at our house.' And they would have said, 'What?' "I didn't cook," said Yoko. "We had turkey brought in. But we were very into the idea of Thanksgiving. This whole idea of a pilgrimage, and the white people learning from the Indians, that was an important concept for Sean to learn. He was born an American, and Thanksgiving is an American thing. And we were feeling very American at that time, especially since John had just gotten his green card. We felt like we were starting over as an American family."

It is no coincidence that the song "(Just Like) Starting Over" became the album's first single. "It was not written until very late in the process," said Yoko. "It was like it suddenly came from left field. But we were starting over in a big way. We had the child we never thought we'd have. We tried so many times, and I was always having a miscarriage or something. So this was a big, important thing to us."

And it became a big disappointment when the single did not do as well in England as the Lennons had expected. "When the single hit Britain, we thought it would go to number one. When it got stuck at eight, I felt very responsible," said Yoko. "I felt I had to make sure that this whole project was good for John. And now the record stopped in England. I went to John, and I said, 'Look, I'm sorry. It's eight.' "He knew exactly what I meant," she said. "It was eight, and it was not going to go up any further. He just looked at me, and he said, 'Hey, you know, I still have my family.' But he also knew that a lot of what we did over the years was not popular. He had pride in what he was doing, and he was doing something he believed in. He was an avant-garde artist in that way. You do something not because you think it will be popular. You do it because you believe in it."

Back in California, Mintz continued his regular phone dialogue with the Lennons, speaking to Yoko daily, and to John maybe three, four times a week. "With the album still relatively new," said Mintz, "he talked to me about what I thought the public reaction to his reemergence might be, after all that time away. And I recall asking him, 'Do you care? Does it matter?' "He snickered," said Mintz. "He said for years he was always concerned when he saw any of the pop stars in the magazines because he was never one who enjoyed going to places like Studio 54 and having his picture taken. Because he had been out of the loop for so long, he wondered whether or not he would even be remembered, and whether or not the music would still be relevant or significant. I believe his questions to me on the phone were more rhetorical than anything else. He did say that none of his contemporaries had ever put their women on the same level as he did with Yoko. That's why Double Fantasy was so special to him, because it was not a reemergence of Beatle John coming back to say hello again, but a statement of where he was in his life.

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