Yoko Ono


Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono, born on February 18, 1933 in Tokyo in a well-off family of bankers, is an experimental artist, plastic artist, musician, singer, composer, writer, actor and filmmaker in Japan, known especially for the couple that she forma from 1968 with John Lennon, until his assassination in front of her New York on December 8, 1980. Artist full-fledged, Yoko Ono remains in the collective imagination the muse of the founder of the Beatles, and also by whom the group split came.

His name in kanji is, Yoko Ono, but Japanese media now write his name in katakana, script used for foreign names.

Yoko Ono was born in 1933. His mother Isoko Ono came from the family of bankers Yasuda and his father Eisuke Ono worked in a bank in Yokohama. Two weeks before his birth, his father was appointed to a post in San Francisco. The rest of the family will follow some time later. In 1937, his father returned to Japan and Yoko was included in the Peers' School in Tokyo, reserved exclusively for school children descendants of aristocratic families. It follows a very rich multicultural education. From an early age she must flee the bombing of the Japanese capital. She takes refuge with her parents in the country where luxury leaves room for the most total misery, which very quickly forge his character. After the war, the family emigrated to New York.

Entering the world of art
From the age of fourteen years, Yoko is intended to art including writing, already showing a clear attraction to the avant-garde, which is not the unanimity of its teachers. She attends the theatre, starting also studied philosophy. It follows the same course of letters and song composers and discovered avant-garde as Arnold Schoenberg. It is very influenced by the beat generation (literary and cultural movement of the 1950s) and adopt the style that he knows, dressed in black hair and lachés.

In 1956, she married the Japanese composer Toshi Ichiyanagi. They divorced in 1962 after seven years of cohabitation. On 28 November of that year, she remarried with American Anthony Cox. Cox was a jazz musician, filmmaker and promoter of art. He had heard of Yoko in New York and had met him in a psychiatric hospital where his family had placed after a suicide attempt. On 8 August 1963, Yoko gave birth to a daughter, Kyoko Chan Cox. The marriage quickly fell (witnesses saw Tony and Yoko is threatened with kitchen knives), but Cox still remained together for their careers. Soon, they returned to New York with Kyoko.

In 1958, Yoko took courses on experimental music, provided by John Cage, large behalf of the avant-garde who influence enormously, particularly with painting he teaches: minimalism. She rushes into this track, which suits him fully, and attempts to produce his early works and artistic performances. At the end of 1964, with the return to power of pop art, it takes confidence, creating the bagism, spectacle of oneself in a bag with a partner, who met with some success.

Yoko gradually acquired a reputation in the art world by adhering to the Fluxus group of artists and publishing a collection of poems, Grapefruit. Having got wind of strong cultural movement in London, marked by the famous Swinging London, the couple Cox-Ono decided to settle there in 1966. After a few steps, she became acquainted with John Dumbar, director of the Indica Gallery, where she manages to do an exhibition, whose opening is planned for mid-November.

Yoko was part of Fluxus, a movement of avant-garde artists, which evolved in the early 1960. The founder of Fluxus George Maciunas friend and source of interest Yoko during the years 1960, admires his work and enthusiastically promotes the artistic work of Yoko. Maciunas, with La Monte Young and John Cage, was one of the most important influences on the peformances of Yoko. His philosophy, humorous, subversive and avant-garde, has marketed an attitude to shield the art typical 1950's. The interactive objects of art by Yoko also have something to objects or ideas of Fluxus Maciunas. Some critics have described the art of Yoko as a synthesis between the ideals of John Cage music, the silence of incorporation and sounds normal, and spirit more macabre Maciunas who found a way through prompt Yoko for shock and dramatizations of his mental pain - she had in the past stated "Each artist is a conceptual artist. I am an artist misleading. " Another influence of Yoko, cited by critics, was a contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Kusama activities involving nudity, surely inspired the famous cover of John Lennon and Yoko from the album Two Virgins where both appear naked. Kusama was also an organiser of events pacifists like the "bed-in" for peace that John and Yoko did in 1969.

Yoko was an explorer of conceptual art and performance art. One of its most artistic performance is recognized Cut Piece in 1964, during which the performance artist, seated on stage, invites viewers to take a pair of scissors to cut off his clothes until she is completely naked . An example of her conceptual art includes his book entitled Grapefruit instructions. The book, released for the first time in 1964 a book is essential if we are to understand the artistic process of Yoko. It comprises seven parts: music, including the famous Cough Piece which is a sound performance, painting, event, poetry, object, film and dance that contains a large number of drawings by the hand of Yoko. They are not, strictly speaking notes, which are not quite poems. They are descriptions of performance audio or visual and / or objects and installations to come, but, by their writing simple, straightforward, cut and rhythmic, literary texts in itself. Ponctué also a questionnaire, a list of sales of Yoko Ono in New York in 1965, letters, accounts of performances, programs and a true reflection on his work.

Yoko was also director of films. She pointed over sixty films between 1964 and 1972. And its particular reputation was caught for a film from 1966 called simply Number 4. In 1967, Yôko Four runs (Bottoms) who acquires, by the scandal after he shows a certain notoriety, rééditant scandals that had accompanied three years before leaving Flaming Creatures of Jack Smith and Andy Sleep Warhol. This film had the ambition to be a calendar of 365 pairs of buttocks worn by the greatest figures of the avant-garde such as Philip Corner, Ben Patterson and Carolee Schneeman, filmed in close-up. Beyond what could be seen as a provocation nourished by the spirit of utopia and 1960, this film affirms a principle built very visual, and the title Four determines the framing of the composition on the buttocks paradoxically in dematerialised an abstract grid.

John Lennon Yoko had described as an "unknown artist's most famous avant-garde World": everyone knew his name, but nobody knew who she was. His friends and lovers in the art world in New York included, Kate Millett, Nam June Paik, Dan Richter, Jonas Mekas, Merce Cunningham, Judith Malina, Erica Abeel, Peggy Guggenheim, Betty Rollin, Shusaku Arakawa, Adrian Morris, Stefan Wolpe, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, as well as Maciunas and Young. In 2001, YES YOKO ONO, an exhibition showcasing more than forty-year retrospective of the work of Yoko, received the award at the prestigious International Association of Art Critics USA for the best museum exhibition organized in New York.

The meeting with John Lennon
Invited on November 9, 1966 the Destruction in Art Symposium in London, John Lennon met Yoko, the Beatles star at the opening of his exhibition Unfinished Paintings & Objects at the Indica Gallery. Lennon then discovered the world of conceptual artist, his imagination, his sense of humour that fall closely in tune with its intellectual and artistic aspirations. It does not remain indifferent to the mysterious charm of Japan. The first object that draws his attention is an apple for sale for 200 pounds: "I found it fantastic. I immediately pigé humour of his work "he said in Rolling Stone magazine. When John Dunbar owner of the gallery, asked to leave John Yoko push a nail in a work of wood, she refused firstly because the opening took place the next day and she wanted the board is intact. John then proposed, to the reluctance of Yoko, to pay five shillings to plant an imaginary nail imagination.


"There was a ladder suspended from the ceiling, leading to a painting. One might say a blank canvas with a chain at the end of which hung a magnifying glass. I was anti-art because I had spent five years in an art school and they were all bogus and I was really against. But while visiting the galleries I was interested again and I was there. I climbed the ladder and made the long-view, I balançais up there and in a tiny writing that said simply "Yes". And that's what I decided to stay. It said "Yes". I was determined to see the result of exposure. If it had said "No" or something nasty or sarcastic, such as "Sting" or je ne sais quoi, I would have left the gallery on the spot. Because it was positive and it said 'Yes', I said to myself:' OK, this is the first exhibition where I'm going to tell me something warm. " So I decided to see the rest of the exhibition. And this is how it has encountered. If it had said 'No', I would be gone. It was like a trick. I suppose that anyone who read it felt the same thing. But I took it as a "Yes" that the artist m'adressait personally. "

If we are to believe the retrospective The Beatles Experience, Yoko was engaging in experiments SMS before the letter: it sends out each day to John Address in an envelope which is not a pithy phrase whenever different: Breathe (breathes ), Live (screw), Be happy (be happy), little things that end up creating links.

In 1968, more and more loving Yoko, whom he sees his salvation, John divorce his first wife, Cynthia, and settled with Yoko. This union will at first birth of several experimental albums, including the famous Two Virgins, more famous for its cover, on which they appear both naked, as for its content deemed very poor. From that moment, Yoko leaves more John, even during the recordings of the Beatles albums, which énerve the other three at the highest point. Lennon was inspired by Yoko in several of his songs. As a Beatle, he wrote The Ballad of John and Yoko and he made reference to it indirectly in Julia, a song dedicated to his mother, with the verse: "Ocean child calls me, so I sing a song of love" ( " the child of the ocean name, so I sing a song of love "). Other songs written by Lennon under the influence of Yoko saw the day during his career including: I Want You (She's So Heavy), Do not Let Me Down, Happiness is a Warm Gun, Because (with the Beatles ), Well Well Well, Oh Yoko! Jealous Guy, I'm Losing You, Bless You, Dear Yoko, Woman ... (solo). John and Yoko have collaborated on many albums, beginning in 1968 with Unfinished Music No.1: Two Virgins, an album of electronic music and experimental, recorded the night when they consommèrent their union for the first time, and Unfinished Music No. .2: Life with the Lions and The Wedding Album. It was rather experimental design based on sound heavily influenced by the career as an artist Yoko plastic.

On 18 October 1968, the couple was arrested when a quarantine officials discovered more than 219 grams of cannabis resin in their apartment occupied at 34 Montagu Square, London. A few days later, Yoko will be hospitalized for a miscarriage. This case will haunt Lennon for years. The U.S. government also will be used to prohibit them their green card for U.S. residents.

The couple married on March 20, 1969 in Gibraltar to Spain. They occur in the future in a series of artistic and musical appearances (including The Rock and Roll Circus) arousing indignation and surprise among the general public. They also make known their commitment activist for peace in the world, especially through the tube Give Peace a Chance. In September 1969, the first album of the Plastic Ono Band was recorded during the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival Festival. In addition to John and Yoko, the first incarnation of the group was composed of renowned guitarist Eric Clapton, bassist Klaus Voormann, and drummer Alan White. The first part of their performance consisted of rock'n'roll standards (Blue Suede Shoes, Money, You Make Me, Dizzy Miss Lizzy), and during the second part, Yoko took the microphone and with the group two interpéréta of his compositions (Do not Worry Kyoko, John, John (Let's Hope For Peace)) during what was perhaps one of the first performance of avant-garde during a rock concert before an audience speechless stupor.

After continual travel between the UK and USA, John and Yoko settled permanently in New York in August 1971. Their first home is located in the West Village in New York. Then they move in the famous Dakota House building, opposite Central Park. A curious time of the relationship Lennon and Yoko already strange in itself, begins in 1973, when both are separating for a period of eighteen months. Yoko continues its musical and artistic career in New York while John goes live in Los Angeles with their personal assistant Mary Pang. During this separation, John and Yoko remain in constant contact, speaking each other's love.

The couple reconciled by mid-year 1975, when they decide to live together again and have a child. On 9 October 1975, the day of the thirty-fifth anniversary of John, Yoko gives birth to Sean Taro Ono Lennon. Therefore, the division of functions in the couple made a very clear: John is dedicated to his son and Yoko home and family affairs. The couple's decision on this is very firm: John abandons any proposed registration, stop giving interviews or collaborate with other artists, and even stops to read the music press. Yoko, meanwhile, takes the reins of Finance common and becomes manager of the important musical by John liabilities.

In 1980, John Lennon decides to return to the front of the public scene with his album co-authored with Yoko, Double Fantasy, which has a real success. Shortly thereafter, on December 8, 1980, he was assassinated before the very eyes of Yoko which reacts to the situation with dignity. After the assassination of John, Yoko slowed its artistic production and devotes himself entirely to his son Sean. His image is upgraded. From that moment, she manages the economic empire up John with greater seriousness and professionalism. It publishes posthumous disc of John (Season of Glass, Milk & Honey and Menlove Avenue), with old songs or simple models, and joins Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr in defending the common interests of the Beatles . She won a Grammy Award for album Double Fantasy. In 1988, Yoko Ono was in Geneva, Switzerland, to find calm far from the crowds of fans and journalists.

In 1985, part of Central Park opposite the Dakota building had been refitted with a commemorative plaque using a donation of more than one million dollars and Yoko called the Strawberry Field Memorial on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of John . In 2000, she founded the John Lennon Museum in Saitama in Japan, his hometown.

Career musical
Yoko has also pursued a singing career. It was already a musician when met John. It had collaborated with John Cage and including the legend of free jazz, Ornette Coleman. But his relationship with Lennon gave him a reputation that his solo career did not previously hoped.

Yoko studied music from an early age in a kindergarten specialized called "Jiyu Gakuen-". She learns to listen to the sounds of the environment and daily life and to translate them into musical notation, as will later John Cage. In its desire to transcribe the sounds of nature, she decided to combine the mode of Western musical notation to instructions, a prelude to the "Instruction Pieces" will develop it for painting and sculpture, having noticed how in music, unlike the art, there is a separation between the score written by composer and intéprétation fact that the musician. After studying the "Sarah Lawrence College, where she sings lieders German and opera arias, she met composer Edgar Varese, Morton Feldman and John Cage who from the late 1950's encouraged to engage in direction it wants to borrow. It is entering the world of avant-garde music with her first husband, Toshi Ichiyanagi, a young Japanese musician and composer who earns his living as a copyist of scores for composers. Both settled in Manhattan in a loft on Chambers Street, which became in the early 1960, the scene of many artistic performances and concerts with La Monte Young, John Cage and George Maciunas.

The music of Yoko Ono has often been described by its critics as a litany of cries, all the more unbearable that the artist had their eyes sowed the seeds of the rift between the Beatles with the experimental Revolution 9. The screams emitted by Yoko Ono's vocal performances reflect the cultural schizophrenia that marked since childhood, split between East and West, Japan and the USA, where she was raised between a father who vouait an infinite admiration for Bach, Beethoven and Brahms and a mother who played several traditional Japanese instruments. They are also indicative of the importance it attaches to the body as an instrument primary vector of musical emotions. Yoko Ono operates the spectrum of voice so unique. It was to become the crudité of her voice, the use of improvisation and free jazz, one of the hidden sources of experimental rock. The influence of his voice "out of bounds" is reflected in an artist like Björk, including his album "Medulla".

In 1970, she released his first solo album, Yoko Ono / Plastic Ono Band, the disc alongside John, John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band. The two albums have covers almost identical: Yoko shows us a picture of it focusing on John, and John a photo of him leaning on Yoko. This album consists of screams, wrenching sounds emitted from the depths of his throat and his soul that were probably influenced by Japanese opera. The music is a reflection of this revolution: aggressive, non-melodic improvisation. There is no mention of pieces properly spoken but improvisations, one of them is accompanied by the group of Ornette Coleman (AOS). John Lennon makes his guitar sound like it had not yet done so. Some of his pieces have greatly influenced the artist Meredith Monk and other musical artists who used piercing screams instead of words. This structure voice draws attention to the timbral and orchestrational of music, a technique common to free jazz. Some punk groups including Public Image Ltd. consider this album (and other albums by Yoko) as the creation of the basis of punk music. The album is classified at the 183rd position in the charts the USA.

In 1971, Yoko out a double album Fly. It explores the expressive qualities avant-garde of the votes while offering rhythmic rock. Meanwhile, the influence of John on Yoko is more prégnante in some pieces, such as the structure tinged with pop Minsummer New York or the ballad Mrs. Lennon. En1972 it releases its album's most famous and most recognized Approximately Infinite Universe. Accompanied by Lennon and Elephants Memory Band, Yoko engages in a fabulous collection of songs about abuse as men against women. This disc has generated little interest at the time but is now recognized with esteem, especially for songs such as "Move On Fast", "Yang Yang", "What A Bastard The World Is" or " Death Of Samantha. " Followed the next year, the album Feeling The Space, which will address the same subject.

In August 1974, Yoko returns to Japan after more than ten years' absence at a concert at the "One Step Koriyama Festival" and publishes the album A Story and the single "O Yume Moto" (Let's Have A Dream).

In 1980, the eve of the death of John that Yoko itself as a pop artist accomplished with Walking on Thin Ice, simple that it had completed the evening where he was assassinated. He who had delivered a prodigious solo guitar had said before dying that this piece marked a major shift in the music Ono-Lennon. "Walking on Thin Ice (For John)" single released in less than a month later and became the first major success of Yoko ranking in the 58th position of the U.S. charts.

In 1981, she came out the album Season of Glass with the famous cover showing Lennon glasses stained with blood, next to a glass half full of water and with a window overlooking Central Park. This has led to critics who accused him of being tasteless and exploitative. However, Yoko said she had chosen an image so provocative because she wanted to remind people that Lennon was not just death or suicide, but he had been murdered. She also said that all those who thought that the image of bloody spectacles were offensive because of the tasks of blood should remember most of the Murder of John that a pair of eyeglasses and the image was also what she and Other family members of John had to endure after his death. (This photograph was sold at an auction in London in April 2002 for about $ 13,000.). In notes inserted inside the cover of Season of Glass, Yoko explained that the album was not dedicated to Lennon because "it would have been offended, he was one Us."

The year 1982 saw the forthcoming sixth solo album of Yoko. Heading It's Alright (I See Rainbows), this album is more positive than its previous Season of Glass. The cover shows Yoko with sunglasses with his famous curls, looking towards the sun, while on his back, the ghost of Lennon comes between Yoko and Sean. The album experienced a minor success well in the charts and two of his songs were published in single, "My Man" and "Never Say Goodbye".

In 1984, a tribute album Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him out, including a selection of songs from Yoko interpreted by artists such as Elvis Costello, Roberta Flack, Eddie Money, Rosanne Cash and Harry Nilsson. This was one of the projects that Lennon could not ever finish. Later in the same year, the last albun posthumous John and Yoko, Milk & Honey released songs with a non-definitive version.

The last album Yoko emerged in the 1980's was "Starpeace" in 1985, a conceptual album that Yoko was intended as an antidote to the system of missile defence "Star Wars" by Ronald Regan. On the cover, there is a warm and smiling Yoko is holding the earth in the palm of his hand. "Starpeace" became the album (without the influence of Lennon) most successful Yoko. The single "Hell in Paradise" was a hit, ranking at the sixteenth position of the U.S. charts dancing and 26th in the list of the hundred greatest success of Billboard.

In 1986, Yoko began with will, a world tour, "Starpeace For World Tour" by visiting most of the time the East in which she felt having to proclaim his message of peace.

In 1991, she created the Peace Choir with his son Sean and Lenny Kravitz. They record with many other artists renewed Gice Peace A Chance to protest against the Gulf War.

In 1992, Yoko signed a contract with the publishing house "Rykodisc" to release a comprehensive package of 6 CD, "Onobox." It included songs remixed all solo albums of Yoko, models and unpublished. A greatest hits "Walking on Thin Ice" also released that same year.

His return to the music occurs in 1995 with the release of "Rising", a collaboration with his son Sean and his group "Ima". This album has spawned a world tour that passed through Europe, Japan and the USA. The following year, she collaborated with various musicians from rock to the ellaboration of "Rising Mixes." The biggest moment of American DJs have remixed songs taken from "Rising." Among the participants, there are Cibo Matto, Ween Tricky and Thurston Moore.

In 1997, Rykodisc has re-published all his solo albums on CD "Yoko Ono / Plastic Ono Band" to "Starpeace." Yoko and the sound engineer Rob Stevens personally remastérisé original tapes and various bonuses were also added (demos, taken alternative versions and unreleased lives).

The year 2001 saw the release of his latest album "Bluespringt For A Sunrise" always revolved around a committed feminist spirit. In early 2002, American DJs remixèrent songs from Yoko for dance clubs. For this project, it removes his first name becomes simply "ONO", a response to the lighthouse "Oh no!" A joke that has continued throughout his career. ONO was a great success with new versions of "Walking on Thin Ice", remixed by the best DJs and dance artists including American Pet Shop Boys, Orange Factory, Peter Rauhofer and Danny Tenaglia. In April 2003, this success was confirmed with the remix of "Walking on Thin Ice" which will reach the top spot of the Billboard "Dance / Club", making it the single first-ever number one Yoko. She returned to the top spot in November 2004 with "Everyman Everywoman ... ...". The song "Every Man Has a Woman Who Loes Him" extracted from the album "Double Fantasy" was retouched and lyrics changed to support marriages gays.

The last album to date is Yoko "Yes I'm a Witch", a compilation of remixes of songs from the catalogue of Yoko by various artists including The Sleepy Jackson, The Flaming Lips, Cat Power, Antony, DJ Spooky, and Porcupine Tree Peaches. "Yes I'm a Witch" was well received by critics, who were very surprised. After the release of "Yes, I'm a Witch", Yoko drives the nail with "Open Your Box" which was released in April 2007. It is also an album of remixes. Among the remixers are the names of the Pet Shop Boys, Basement Jaxx and Felix Da Housecat. Among the songs remixed include the famous "Give Peace a Chance", "Hell in Paradise" on the album "Starpeace" in 1985, and three versions of "Walking on Thin Ice".

During his career, Yoko has worked with various groups, artists and musicians including John Cage, David Tudor, George Maciunas, Ornette Coleman, Charlotte Moorman, George Brecht, Jackson Mac Low, Jonas Mekas, Frank Zappa, Yvonne Rainer, La Monte Young, Richard Maxfield, Zbigniew Rybczyński, Yo La Tengo, DJ Spooky and Andy Warhol. In 1987, Yoko was one of the dignitaries attending the funeral of Warhol.

Political Activism
Since the early 1960, Yoko has campaigned for peace and defending the rights of women. After their marriage, John and Yoko used their celebrity to promote the cause they advocate "world peace" with their famous Bed-In during their honeymoon at the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam in March 1969. The media worldwide turn to the ridiculous, but speaking of the event, the press routinely refers to the couple's message about world peace. The "Bed-In" in Montreal in May 1969 resulted in recording their first single Give Peace a Chance, a pacifist anthem composed by John and Yoko and given to the young Plastic Ono Band, which was the first successful ever released by a Beatles outside the group. Other benefits include the couple's Bagism. Presented in Vienna and invented by Yoko in 1962, allowed Bagism, being hidden from sight of spectators, stimulate their imagination, and in concealing the external appearances, to make available the inner reality. John and Yoko realized several performance Bagism between 1968 and 1971. The bag also became the symbol of their desire for intimacy and a challenge racism.

The contribution of the Beatles Yoko
Grand subject of controversy among fans of the Beatles, Yoko has been present on the albums "Double White", "Let It Be" and "Abbey Road". It has been a very strong influence on John for the composition and play music. However, its presence has greatly affected the atmosphere within the group, and has certainly caused their separation, in addition to disputes concerning business and changes in musical directions of each. However, many agree that if it has certainly been a major cause of the rupture of the group, it was also a lifeline for Lennon to perdition. He must masterpieces of Lennon solo: "Imagine", "Jealous Guy," "Oh Yoko" ... Yoko has been accused by historians of rock, and by most fans of English and American pop culture have been primarily responsible for the separation of the Beatles, while other arguments say that the dissolution was caused by the fact that the Beatles went in different directions musically and personally. John also said he had already had the intention to leave the group before he met Yoko. Even if the revisionists rehabilitate gradually, Yoko remain in the minds of millions of fans the manipulative, castratrice, fourbe, demon avant-garde in miniskirt which led to the separation of the Beatles.

Read also The Beatles



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