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Yoko Ono


Yoko Ono


Born 18 February 1933, Tokyo, Japan. Yoko Ono moved to the USA at the age of 14 and was later immersed in the New York avant garde milieu. A reputation as a film-maker and conceptual artist preceded her collaborations with John Lennon which followed in the wake of their meeting in 1966. The couple's links were both professional and personal - they married on 20 March 1969 - and whereas Lennon introduced Ono to rock, she in turn brought an appreciation of electronic music. Early collaborations, Unfinished Music No 1 - Two Virgins, Unfinished Music No 2 - Life With The Lions and Wedding Album, were self-indulgent and wilfully obscure, but with the formation of the Plastic Ono Band the Lennons began to forge an exciting musical direction.

Unfairly vilified as the architect of the Beatles' demise, Ono emerged as a creative force in her own right with a series of excellent compositions, including "Don't Worry Kyoto" and "Listen, The Snow Is Falling". Yoko Ono/The Plastic Ono Band, her companion collection to Lennon's cathartic solo debut, was equally compulsive listening and a talent to captivate or confront was also prevalent on Fly, Approximately Infinite Universe, and Feeling The Space. Several tracks, including "Men Men Men" and "Woman Power", addressed feminist issues while her music's sparse honesty contrasted with the era's penchant for self-indulgence.

The couple's relationship continued to undergo public scrutiny, particularly in the wake of a highly publicized separation, but the birth of their son Sean Lennon, following their reconciliation, resulted in a prolonged retirement. The Lennons re-emerged in 1980 with Double Fantasy, for which they shared creative responsibility, and were returning home from completing a new Yoko single on the night John was shot dead. The resultant track, "Walking On Thin Ice", was thus imbued with a certain poignancy, but while not without merit, the artist's ensuing albums have failed to match its intensity.

Ono has supervised the release of unpublished material - videos, writings and recordings, most notably "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love' on the Beatles' Anthology series - drawn from Lennon's archive and continues to pursue their pacifist causes. She has tolerated much indifference and abuse over the years, initially because she dared to fall in love with a Beatle and latterly because it was felt that she manipulated Lennon. Through all the flack Ono has maintained her integrity and dignity, and her music was granted a belated reappraisal on 1992"s The Ono Box. She returned to music in 1995 together with her son Sean and his band Ima. Rising came as a surprise, with Ima adding great texture to Ono's strong lyrics.

In 2003, Ono celebrated her 70th birthday and a return to the charts. Her music was newly embraced by the club crowd and interesting remixes were made of "Open Your Box" (the Orange Factory), "Kiss Kiss Kiss" (Superchumbo), and "Walking On Thin Ice" (the Pet Shop Boys, Danny Tenaglia, Felix Da Housecat, and Peter Rauhofer). The latter topped the Billboard dance chart in May.


with John Lennon Unfinished Music No 1 - Two Virgins (Apple 1968)*, with Lennon Unfinished Music No 2 - Life With The Lions (Zapple 1969)*, with Lennon Wedding Album (Apple 1969)*, Yoko Ono/The Plastic Ono Band (Apple 1970)***, Fly (Apple 1971)***, with Lennon, the Plastic Ono Band, Elephant's Memory Some Time In New York City (Apple 1972)***, Approximately Infinite Universe (Apple 1973)***, Feeling The Space (Apple 1973)**, Season Of Glass (Geffen 1981)****, It's Alright (I See Rainbows) (Polydor 1982)**, Starpeace (Polydor 1985)**, with Ima Rising (Capitol 1995)***, Rising Remixes (Capitol 1996)****, A Story 1974 recording (Rykodisc 1997)**, Blueprint For A Sunrise (Capitol 2001)***.


The Ono Box (Rykodisc 1992)***, Walking On Thin Ice (Rykodisc 1992)****.


The Bed-In (PMI 1991).


Grapefruit: A Book Of Instructions And Drawings, Yoko Ono. Yoko Ono: A Biography, Jerry Hopkins. Yoko Ono - Arias And Objects, Barbara Haskell and John G. Hanhardt. All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview With John Lennon And Yoko Ono, David Sheff. Woman: The Incredible Life Of Yoko Ono, Alan Clayson.

Music Albums

Onobox [Box]
Rykodisc USA

Rykodisc USA

Walking On Thin Ice (Greatest Hits)
Rykodisc USA

A Story
Rykodisc USA

It's Alright (I See Rainbows)
Rykodisc USA

Season Of Glass [Remaster]
Rykodisc USA

Blueprint For A Sunrise
Capitol/EMI Records

Will I/Fly [EP] *

Source: Encyclopedia of Popular Music
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