a yoko ono biography

On Mothers Day in 2016, Yoko Ono with her son Sean Lennon.

A family

Yoko Ono also had a number of miscarriages before giving birth to Sean Taro Ono Lennon on John’s birthday in 1975. Yoko in an interview in 1980 to Peter Ochiogrosso (The Sydney Morning Herald): ”1975 was a time that no one was really willing to have babies, and we had a baby then. And now, they’re thinking about househusbands – maybe in two or three years, we’ll have househusbands. We’re not trying to do something before others do it. It’s a torture because people do not understand. We arrive at something and maybe later it will be understood. Seems like our time sense is slightly off, and we’re hoping that will not happen with this record. We’re not hoping that three years later people pick it up and say, ”Wow, that was something else”.”

Their repeated crises were detailed in the press more than their music ever was, and when the two put their musical work on hold after Sean’s birth to deal with family business, it was Lennon’s disappearance from the rock scene that was mourned in the press. After Sean’s birth, Yoko went into the office downstairs and John raised Sean in their seventh-floor apartment. John being John, it turned into a comsuming passion of incredible intensity. This was the first time in fifteen years that he had not been tied to recording deal. During the next five years John Lennon became, as he described himself, a househusband. John’s own lack of parental stability as a child had nagged away at him over the years, and he was determined that Sean would have a father he knew and grew up alongside. While John was busy nursing Sean, Yoko revelled in her role as businesswoman. Hitherto Yoko had been totally unmaterialistic: ”I survived throughout my earlier years by not accumulating money partly because my mother enjoyed luxury and was always showing me diamonds. Part of me rebelled against that and despised it. So until 1975 I was opposite of a money person. But then John and I decided that I would be a businesswoman, I told myself that in order to do the new job well I’d have to reconstruct my psyche…”

So Yoko Ono began to take care of the Lenono businesses with a clear mind and a lot of intuition. Yoko Ono talked to Ray Coleman about how she reconciled her business and her art (for the book ”Lennon”): ”I think most artists have this complex: they think they should suffer and struggle and always be miserable or else they can’t be creative. John and I had that for a while. We were very aware of that side of being artists. But we tried to reverse the trap that artists fall into – because we didn’t want to be miserable when we obviously had money and possessions. After all, being miserable is a high price to pay for being an artist!”

”He was a great daddy to Sean and he was very protective towards me. And I think I’d do what most widows would do: they would say, ”I wish he was here.” No one ever plans on being a widow. It’s difficult.”


In 1980, their new album Double Fantasy was released and the ”silent period” in their lives ended. In December 1980 John Lennon was killed outside his home in New York City.

Yoko Ono in 2000 about John Lennon and her life after his death: ”I’ve always been like this, I feel, that always trying to do the best I can within the circumstances I’m put in. I’m sure you’re doing the same. And John would have done exactly that. The fondest memory of John is of John at home with me, unlike the macho image that you know of John. At home he was a very gentle, caring husband, and that’s what I remember dearly. I think he was an incredibly creative guy and that was very inspiring. He was a great daddy to Sean and he was very protective towards me. And I think I’d do what most widows would do: they would say, ”I wish he was here.” No one ever plans on being a widow. It’s difficult.”

Yoko Ono continues her work to keep John Lennon’s memory, spirit and work alive with many different projects, for instance by remastering and releasing his albums, letting public around the world to see his visual artwork in touring exhibitions, and giving numerous interviews about John’s work and life each year.