A native of New York’s Spanish Harlem, May Pang grew up with music all around her. From street-corner “do-wop” groups like Dion & The Belmonts — to the British Invasion of 1964, rock n’ roll became May’s passion. It was no surprise that when she left college in 1970, she was determined to land a job in the music world.
Only a New York girl would try to start at the top, so she marched into the New York offices of the Beatles’ management company, ABKCO Industries, and a career in music was born.
“While I was working at ABKCO, John and Yoko decided to move to New York City…and chose me to be their personal assistant. It was excitement beyond belief! Not only did I have a key role in the records and films of John and Yoko, but I was meeting everyone I’d read about in fanzines since I was a kid.”
As exciting as this was, little did she know what fate had in store… “One day in June 1973, Yoko approached me in my office at the Dakota. She explained that she and John needed a break from each other — which was obvious to everyone around them. She also decided that I would be his ‘companion’ — effective immediately. By now, nothing could really come as a shock in the zany world of John and Yoko. But this…this was beyond the pale, even for them.”
So began an 18-month relationship that has become known misleadingly as “Lennon’s Lost Weekend.” During this period, John was actually the most productive and successful in his post-Beatles career. He achieved his first #1 single, Whatever Gets You Thru The Night, his first #1 album, Walls And Bridges, and was on the forefront of celebrity collaborations working with Elton John, David Bowie, Harry Nilsson and Ringo Starr. During their relationship, May continued as John’s production assistant & coordinator at John’s request. Her efforts were rewarded with an RIAA Gold Record Award for Walls And Bridges.
In February of 1975, John and Yoko were reunited, so May began the next phase of her life. She worked for Island Records, and coordinated the release of albums by Bob Marley and The Wailers, Robert Palmer and Third World.Â She then switched to United Artists Music, where she worked with unknown songwriters successfully having their songs recorded by Diana Ross, Four Tops, Air Supply and Judas Priest.
After John Lennon’s tragic death in 1980, a lot of myths and misconceptions began surfacing about John and May’s time together. In 1983, she decided to set the record straight. Warner Books published her memoir, Loving John, a very insightful look into John’s world and his complex relationships with Paul, George, Ringo, his son Julian and, of course, Yoko.
May traveled extensively throughout the 80s, visiting Japan, China and returning to old haunts like Los Angeles and London. It was during one of her visits to London when she reconnected with an old friend, producer Tony Visconti. Soon after, they were married and had two children.
During this time, May tried her hand at acting — and appeared in several television shows, including The Equalizer and Law and Order, in movies such as Heartburn and Fatal Attraction, and music videos for The Firm and her old pal, David Bowie. She also has beenÂ guest on many shows including Howard Stern, Entertainment Tonight, Good Morning America and the BBC.
She also managed Tony’s career…but as time went on, the pressures of the business of rock ‘n roll took a toll on May and Tony’s personal life. Today, May is a full-time single mom — but her heart’s still in rock n’ roll.Â Currently, she’s developing a retrospective radio program, tentatively titled May Remembers, is putting together an exhibition of her photos and memories of John Lennon, and has just launched a fashion jewelry line called the May Pang Feng Shui Jewelry Collection.