John Lennon and Paul McCartney are the only Beatles performing on the single “The Ballad of John and Yoko”. On April 14, 1969, when the song was recorded, Ringo Starr was busy filming ‘The Magic Christian’ and George Harrison was on holiday. The recording session of just Lennon and McCartney came about because John was anxious to record the song, so he called on Paul and suggested they do it without waiting for the other two Beatles to return. They completed the record in a single day. Lennon handled lead vocals, lead guitars, acoustic guitar and percussion, while McCartney played the drums, bass guitar, piano, maracas, and provided backing vocals. Yoko Ono was present during the session though she most likely had no part in the recording.
“The Ballad of John and Yoko” chronicles the events surrounding Lennon’s marriage to Ono just a month before, and some of their activities together, including their first Bed-In, and their demonstration of bagism. In 1970, John remarked in Rolling Stone magazine: “It was very romantic. It’s all in the song, The Ballad Of John And Yoko, if you want to know how it happened, it’s in there. Gibraltar was like a little sunny dream. I couldn’t find a white suit – I had sort of off-white corduroy trousers and a white jacket. Yoko had all white on.”