Yoko Ono (小野 洋子 Ono Yōko, born 18 February 1933), is a Japanese multimedia artist, singer, and peace activist. She is the widow and second wife of John Lennon and is also known for her work in avant-garde art, music, and filmmaking.
Ono grew up in Tokyo, and studied at Gakushuin University while her family moved to the US to escape the war. They reunited in 1953, and after some time at Sarah Lawrence College, she became involved in New York City's downtown artists scene, including the Fluxus group. She first met Lennon in 1966 at her own art exhibition in London, and they became a couple in 1968. Ono and Lennon famously used their honeymoon as a stage for public protests against the Vietnam War with their Bed-Ins for Peace in Amsterdam and Montreal in 1969. She brought feminism to the forefront in her music influencing artists as diverse as the B-52s and Meredith Monk. Ono achieved commercial and critical acclaim in 1980 with the chart-topping album Double Fantasy, released with Lennon three weeks before his death.
Public appreciation of Ono's work has shifted over time, helped by a retrospective at a Whitney Museum branch in 1989 and the 1992 release of the six-disc box set Onobox. Retrospectives of her artwork have also been presented at the Japan Society in New York City in 2001, in Bielefeld, Germany, and the UK in 2008, and Frankfurt, Krems, Austria, and Bilbao, Spain in 2013. She received a Golden Lion Award for lifetime achievement from the Venice Biennale in 2009 and the 2012 Oskar Kokoschka Prize, Austria's highest award for applied contemporary art.
As Lennon's widow, Ono works to preserve his legacy. She funded Strawberry Fields in New York City, the Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland and the John Lennon Museum in Saitama, Japan (which closed in 2010). She has made significant philanthropic contributions to the arts, peace, Philippine and Japan disaster relief, and other causes. Ono continues her social activism, inaugurating a biennial $50,000 LennonOno Grant for Peace in 2002 and co-founding the group Artists Against Fracking in 2012. She has a daughter, Kyoko Chan Cox, from her marriage to Anthony Cox and a son, Sean Taro Ono Lennon, with whom she collaborates musically, from her marriage to Lennon.
Links To Peel
John Lennon and Yoko Ono appeared with Peel as studio guests on the Night Ride programme of 11 December 1968, promoting their new album, "Two Virgins" and previewing an underground event at the Royal Albert Hall, the Alchemical Wedding, which took place a week later, with the participants including Lennon and Yoko.
Peel was asked by Lennon to donate blood to Yoko following her miscarriage. John was flattered to be asked, but was told his blood could not be used, since he had recently had jaundice and VD.
JP: Around the time of the dissolution of the Beatles, when he was living with Yoko, I met them then, and you know, I used to see them from time to time. And one of those things, there are very few people actually in the whole of this history that I rather wished weren’t famous people, because I enjoyed their company a lot. But you realized you couldn’t go to the match with them or go around and have breakfast with them at the café, just because they were such celebrities life would be intolerable if you tried to do that.
Despite this close friendship with Lennon and Yoko, Peel was generally not a fan of her solo material: in fact, the only music he ever played by her was via her connection to John Lennon's work with the Plastic Ono Band.
Shows Played(The list below is compiled only from the database of this site and Lorcan's Tracklistings Archive and is far from complete. Please add further information if known.)
- 11 December 1968: Two Virgins (Extract) (LP: Two Virgins) Apple
- 11 December 1968: John My Love (demo)
- 12 December 1970: Why (LP - Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band) Apple
- 20 October 2004: Walking On Thin Ice (LP-Season Of Glass) Ryko played by Siouxsie Sioux