Yoko Ono has surprised music fans in New York by joining their Central Park vigil to mark the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's death.

She was surrounded by bodyguards as she visited the 'Imagine' site in Strawberry Fields, just yards from where he was gunned down and placed her own flowers amongst those of well wishers and stopped to read the messages that have been left there.

The former Beatle was shot outside the Dakota apartment building on Central Park West late night on 8 December 1980. His killer Mark Chapman is serving time in a New York jail.

Crowds gathered in Liverpool a quarter of a century on to stage their own tribute releasing white balloons into the sky and watching a big screen featuring live music and unseen footage of Lennon.

Many musicians used the anniversary to pay their tributes to the former Beatle. U2 performed a cover of 'Norwegian Wood' during their set on Wednesday night on their North American tour.

Mercury Rev paid tribute to John Lennon at their London show last night, December 8. The band played 'God', a track lifted from Lennon's 1970 'Plastic Ono Band' album.

Plus the likes of Paul Weller and Badly Drawn Boy took part in a BBC TV special at Abbey Road, which will also broadcast on BBC Radio and across America.

Meanwhile Paul McCartney has told the BBC of how Lennon's death still haunts him.

"The first thing that goes through your mind is the horrific conditions of his death. That's what always hits me ... But, then rather than dwell on that I immediately go to the fantastic times we had and how lucky and privileged I feel to be one of the people who spent the most time with him during his life having met him as a teenager."