This Day In History: November 7

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On November 7, 1966, British rock sensations The Beatles walk into London’s Indica Gallery, where avant-garde Japanese artist Yoko Ono is preparing for the opening of her her solo exhibit. Singer and guitarist John Lennon and Ono meet when he asks her about Ono’s intriguing art piece— a ladder topped by a magnifying glass that revealed the word “Yes.” The two artists eventually fall in love, prompting an affair that leads to Lennon ending his first marriage to Cynthia Lennon.

At the gallery exhibit, Lennon saw a sign that said “Hammer a Nail In.” He asked Ono if he could do just that, but she said no, because the show wasn’t opening until the next day. The gallery owner talked her into it, and Ono agreed to let Lennon hammer a nail in the exhibit for five shillings. He joked with her that he will hammer in an imaginary nail for an imaginary five shillings.

“And that’s when we really met,” Lennon told Playboy in a 1980 interview. “That’s when we locked eyes and she got it and I got it and, as they say in all the interviews we do, the rest is history.”

“When I fell in love with Yoko, I knew, my God, this is different than anything I’ve ever known,” Lennon told Playboy. “This is more than a hit record, more than gold, more than everything.”

About three years after their fateful meeting, Lennon and Ono married in Gibraltar on March 20, 1969. The Beatles split the following year. The band's 1970 breakup prompted speculation from the media and fans that Ono influenced the dissolution of the band. Many Beatles fans resented Ono as a result.

When the Playboy interviewer asked Lennon whether falling in love with Ono and wanting to leave The Beatles were connected, Lennon didn’t deny it. He said that he had already started to want to leave, but Lennon said meeting Ono was like a young guy meeting his first woman: “You leave the guys at the bar. You don’t go play football anymore. You don’t go play snookers or billiards.”

In October of 1975, Lennon and Ono had their first and only child, Sean Taro Ono Lennon. On December 8, 1980, Lennon was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman outside his New York City apartment. Ono has had a pathbreaking career as a musician, visual artist and activist.