Name in Japanese: 小野 洋子, オノ ヨーコ
Instruments: Vocals, Piano/Keyboards
Years Active: 1961 - Present
Although Yoko Ono's main claim to fame is being John Lennon's widow - or the woman who broke up the Beatles, as some critics charge - it's important to remember that she's also an artist in her own right, whose musical projects, both with Lennon and as a solo artist, merit serious attention. Before meeting Lennon, Ono - who was born into one of Japan's richest families in 1933 - had made something of a name for herself as a conceptual artist with the Fluxus movement in New York and then in London....read more
Although Yoko Ono's main claim to fame is being John Lennon's widow - or the woman who broke up the Beatles, as some critics charge - it's important to remember that she's also an artist in her own right, whose musical projects, both with Lennon and as a solo artist, merit serious attention. Before meeting Lennon, Ono - who was born into one of Japan's richest families in 1933 - had made something of a name for herself as a conceptual artist with the Fluxus movement in New York and then in London. She would likely never have embarked on her career as a musician unless she'd met Lennon in 1966, and in fact Lennon actively encouraged her to explore this medium. In retrospect his confidence that the world would catch up with her music, which for a long time met with almost universal hostility and non-comprehension, seems to have been well-placed. That said, it's still something of a challenge to appreciate early Ono "tunes" such as "Don't Worry, Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow)" (1969), in which Ono's manic banshee caterwauling is set against Lennon's dissonant chicken-scratch electric guitar. Her influence on Lennon's music can clearly be seen in the starkly minimalist Plastic Ono Band album (1970), which was released simultaneously with Ono's album of the same name. A generation later Ono's music isn't as off-putting as it when it was first released, and Lennon himself noted how punk and new wave bands like the B-52s had been influenced by Ono's unique (to put it mildly) vocal style. In a sense, popular musical tastes have caught up with Ono - although it has to be said that sometime she has been responsible for making some truly appalling music. After Plastic Ono Band Ono released several more solo albums, both before and after Lennon's death, but her penchant for off-key, eardrum-assaulting ululations meant that none were big sellers. Ono debuted as a recording artist with Lennon on the 1968 avant-garde LP Two Virgins, which featured the infamous nude cover shot of the couple. She also collaborated with Lennon on the poorly received 1972 album Some Time in New York City and on his 1980 comeback album, Double Fantasy. Starting with that album, the critics actually had kind things to say about Ono's music, and the track "Kiss, Kiss, Kiss" quickly became a fave with club DJs. In 1981 Ono scored another hit with the single "Walking on Thin Ice", a tape of which Lennon was reputedly holding when he was shot. Since Lennon's death, Ono has spent much of her time preserving and promoting (some would say exploiting) Lennon's legacy. On Oct. 9, 2000 - which would have been Lennon's 60th birthday - the John Lennon Museum opened in Saitama City just north of Tokyo, under Ono's supervision. While it seems unlikely that the world will ever forget John Lennon, Ono devotes an enormous amount of time and energy to making sure this doesn't happen, even to the extent of licensing the late Beatle's name and likeness to dubious projects like the "John Lennon Sweater Book," a Japanese knitting guide featuring designs for sweaters Lennon apparently liked to wear. Ono has also continued to work on her own artistic projects, including films, installations, photography, performance art - and music. In recent years Ono has focused on dance/club-music, and in 2004 she released remixes of her 1980 track "Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him" in support of same-sex marriage, including "Every Man Loves a Man" and "Every Woman Loves a Woman" versions. Now in her 70s, Ono is a bona fide member of the rock 'n' roll pantheon - although some critics still see her as a poseur who rode Lennon's coattails to fame - and is one of the most famous Japanese worldwide.collapse
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WE'RE ALL WATER by Yoko Ono
Modcineaste added the Kanji name "洋子" in August, 2009.
Modcineaste added the Kanji name "小野" in August, 2009.
Modcineaste added the video "WE'RE ALL WATER by Yoko Ono" in June, 2009.
Artist page created by: Steve McClure
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