While holidaying in Scotland with Yoko Ono, her daughter Kyoko and his son Julian, John Lennon crashed his car in Sutherland.
Lennon was known to be a bad driver and had rarely been behind the wheel since passing his test in 1965.
He was terrible at navigating roads and often failed to notice other traffic.
The roads around Golspie were narrow, the weather was poor, and on July 1 1969, Lennon panicked after spotting a foreign tourist driving towards him.
The Beatles founding member lost control of his Austin Maxi, driving it into a roadside ditch.
He, Ono and Kyoko sustained cuts to the face and Ono’s back was injured.
They were taken to Golspie’s Lawson Memorial Hospital where Lennon was given 17 facial stitches, Ono 14 in her forehead, and Kyoko four.
Julian Lennon was treated for shock but was otherwise unhurt. He was taken to stay with Lennon’s Aunt Mater in Durness, around 50 miles away, before his mother Cynthia took him back to London the following day.
When she arrived at the hospital to demand an explanation from Lennon he refused to see her.
Lennon remained in hospital for five days and famously told reporters: “If you’re going to have a car crash, try to arrange for it to happen in the Highlands.
“The hospital there was just great.”
The crashed Austin Maxi was later transported to the couple’s Tittenhurst Park estate where it was sited in the gardens.
Although Lennon was never intending to attend, July 1 was the first official day of recording for what became Abbey Road.
The crash delayed his return to London, and after being discharged from hospital he spent three days at home before finally rejoining The Beatles on July 9.
Yoko Ono suffered worse injuries in the crash than Lennon, and was pregnant at the time.
Keen to keep a close eye on her wellbeing, he arranged for Harrods to deliver a double bed to the studio, and had a microphone suspended above it for her to add her thoughts during the sessions that followed.
Lennon gave up driving after the accident, hiring a chauffeur to take him wherever he needed to go and reportedly having the car’s carcass mounted on a pillar at his English estate.
This 1969 crash wasn’t John’s first brush with danger on Scottish roads; Ken McNab, author of The Beatles in Scotland, revealed that the Beatles had an accident during their first tour in 1960, when they were backing up singer Johnny Gentle as the Silver Beetles.
As McNab put it, “John Lennon began the ’60s with a car crash in Scotland and managed to end the decade with another car crash in Scotland.”