Davey Johnstone Recalls John Lennon’s Anxiety Before His Gig With Elton John


Elton John guitarist and musical director Davey Johnstone revealed that the late Beatles icon John Lennon was extremely nervous about his performance with Elton John during his latest interview with Yahoo Entertainment. He also shared some exclusive details about that moment and the concert.

Elton John and John Lennon collaborated for a single ‘Whatever Gets You Thru the Night,’ which took place on Lennon’s fifth studio album named ‘Walls and Bridges,’ released on September 26, 1974. The two iconic singers’ performance was greatly appreciated, and their fans wanted to hear more materials from the duo. John was on backing vocals and piano, and the song became Lennon’s first single that hit the charts before his death.

In addition, Lennon made a surprise appearance at Elton John’s Thanksgiving concert, which was held on November 28, 1974, at Madison Square Garden, as he had promised to join before. Even though the quick rehearsal went very well, as a musician who has been working for Elton John for more than 4o years, Davey Johnstone unveiled that Lennon was very nervous and terrified while he was preparing for the show.

The guitarist added that Lennon was afraid of not performing as remarkable as he did after giving a break to performing live shows, especially after The Beatles’ breakup. Johnstone, who was controlling the instruments backstage, hugged and confronted the singer saying that he would be amazing. The guitarist shared his thoughts about the show and said that the New Yorkers went crazy when they saw Lennon and John singing together on the same stage, which was The Beatles legend’s final performance before he was murdered.

Johnstone said in his interview that:

“The night of the concert, I was tuning all the instruments backstage, and John came into the dressing room looking terrified. I said, ‘John, are you OK?’ He was like, ‘Well, no. I think I wanna throw up. I feel so nervous!’ — because he hadn’t played forever. It was so long since John had done a live performance. I tuned his guitar up, and I kind of gave him a hug and said, ‘Look, I’ll see you up there. It’s gonna be great!’bbn

I’m walking on with Elton, Dee Murray, Nigel Olsson, and Ray Cooper, and I’m thinking, ‘John Lennon is gonna come onstage with us. This is insane!’ When Elton announced John in the middle of the show, it was a big surprise; none of the New Yorkers knew this. Because he’d become a New Yorker — and, well, because he was John Lennon — the place went completely nuts. When I think about it now, it was very surreal, the whole thing. I could never forget such an amazing night.”

You can listen to the song below.