Three Beatles and Barbara
|A photo Barbara Streisand published on Twitter for Lennon’s 74th birthday recently.
On April 7, 1973, Universal executive Jennings Lang hosted a fund-raiser at his home for Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo, then on trial for their roles in leaking the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times.
The event turned out to be more than a humdrum cocktail party. Barbra Streisand performed, and agreed to sing to anyone over the phone for $3,000 a song. Guests included Joni Mitchell, David Geffen, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison, Yoko Ono, and agent Freddie Fields. Also Peter Bogdanovich, Dihann Carrol, Hugh Hefner, Burt Lancaster, and Sally Kellerman. The event raised $50,000 for Ellsberg’s defense. Streisand sang “Happy Birthday” to Ellsberg, who had just turned 42. All told, according to Time, some $50,000 was raised for the defendants’ legal costs.
Although not supported by photographic evidence, according to the Barbara Streisand Archives, George Harrison was also in attendance, making it a Threetles event. He certainly was in LA at the time, and his presence has been confirmed by people attending the party. This date is not mentioned in the otherwise thorough Keith Badman’s ‘The Beatles – After The Breakup‘ book.
The photo is of Daniel Ellsberg, John, Yoko, Streisand and Ringo. George is said to have been hiding in the kitchen at the time, to avoid making it a “reunion” photo…
The tweet went: “Barbra w/ John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Ringo Starr. John was a romantic. He said one of his and Yoko’s favorite movies was The Way We Were !!”. The tweet was re-tweeted by the official John Lennon account.
Six days before this event, it was announced publicly that John, George and Ringo had split with Allen Klein. The day before the event, on April 6th, 1973, the Lennons dropped into the Los Angeles offices of ITN to videotape an interview on the subject of Allen Klein with John Fielding for London Weekend Television’s political and current affairs show Weekend World. During the 10-minute feature, John was asked whether The Beatles performing again as a group is enhanced. Slightly agitated, he replied, “With or without the present situation, the chances are practically nil! Although I hate to say ‘definitely’ to anything, because, every time, I change my mind. But I don’t have a feeling about it and I don’t think any of the others really do. If any of you actually remember when we were together, everybody was talking about it as though it was wonderful all the time. All the press and all the people, all saying how great and how wonderful… but it wasn’t like that at all! And imagine if they did get together, what kind of scrutiny would they be under? Nothing could fit the dream people had of them. So forget it, you know, it’s ludicrous!”
The news item was transmitted across certain ITV regions two days later, on Sunday April 8, the day after John, Ringo and George met up at the fundraiser.