Here’s a look at the life of artist, musician and anti-war activist Yoko Ono.
Birth date: February 18, 1933
Birth place: Tokyo, Japan
Birth name: Ono Yōko (in Japanese)
Father: Yeisuke Ono, bank executive (also spelled Eisuke)
Mother: Isoko (Yasuda) Ono
Marriages: John Lennon (March 20, 1969-December 8, 1980, his death); Anthony Cox (1962-1969, divorced); Ichiyanagi Toshi (1956-1962, divorced)
Children: with John Lennon: Sean Lennon, October 9, 1975; with Anthony Cox: Kyoko Cox, 1963
Education: Attended Gakushuin University in Tokyo and Sarah Lawrence College in New York
Her full name is Yoko Ono Lennon.
As a child, Ono moved back and forth between Japan and the United States. During World War II, she was in Tokyo during an air raid on the city in March 1945.
She was the first woman ever admitted into the philosophy program at Gakushuin University.
Was a part of the New York avant-garde scene and the Fluxus movement, which was founded by conceptual artist George Maciunas, and included La Monte Young, Diane Wakoski and Walter De Maria.
As of 2019, Ono has fought the parole of her husband’s convicted killer, Mark David Chapman, ten times according to her attorney, out of concern for her personal safety.
Has won two Grammy Awards, one as an artist and producer (1981) and the other as a video producer (2000).
Early 1960s – Ono and La Monte Young stage a series of events in a loft on Chambers Street in Manhattan. Ono’s works are also experienced at Carnegie Recital Hall, Village Gate and various galleries in New York.
1962 – Returns to Japan, and is committed to a mental hospital for clinical depression.
Mid 1960s – Lecturer at Wesleyan College.
1964 – Premieres “Cut Piece,” which involves the audience cutting off pieces of Ono’s clothing until she is naked.
1966 – Premieres “No. 4 (Bottoms),” a short film featuring a series of close-ups of nude buttocks.
November 1966 – Ono meets John Lennon when he visits her art exhibit in London.
October 18, 1968 – Ono and John Lennon are arrested in London for possession of cannabis. In court the following month, Lennon admits possession and is fined £150. Ono’s charges are dropped.
November 1968 – Ono and John Lennon release the album “Two Virgins,” featuring a controversial nude photo of them on the cover.
March 25-31, 1969 – During their honeymoon, Ono and Lennon stage their first “bed-in” in their Amsterdam hotel room to promote world peace.
September 1969 – Ono performs with the Plastic Ono Band (which includes Lennon, Eric Clapton, Alan White and Klaus Voormann), and subsequently releases “Live Peace in Toronto, 1969.”
December 11, 1970 – Ono and Lennon release “Plastic Ono Band” solo LPs on the same day.
Late 1971 – During a custody battle, Ono’s ex-husband, film producer Tony Cox, disappears with their 8-year-old daughter, Kyoko. After traveling to Texas, then California, Cox and Kyoko join the religious organization The Walk, also known as the Church of the Living Word. Cox later calls The Walk “a pseudo-Christian cult.”
November 1980 – Ono and Lennon release “Double Fantasy.”
December 8, 1980 – Mark David Chapman, a deranged fan, shoots and kills Lennon in front of the Dakota hotel, where he and Ono live. Ono is a few feet away during the shooting.
December 1980 – Ono receives a telegram from Cox and Kyoko offering condolences for Lennon’s death. This is the last communication Ono receives from her daughter for years.
1981 – Ono releases “Season of Glass,” a solo LP with a picture of Lennon’s bloodied glasses worn the night of his assassination on the cover.
November 1982 – Releases “It’s Alright (I See Rainbows).”
January 27, 1984 – Lennon and Ono’s album, “Milk and Honey,” is released.
January 1986 – In an interview with People magazine, Cox reveals that he and Kyoko “escaped” the religious organization The Walk in 1977. In response, Ono pens an open letter to Kyoko in the magazine.
1994 – Writes “New York Rock,” a rock opera that runs Off-Broadway for two weeks.
1994 – Ono and Kyoko reunite for the first time since Kyoko’s disappearance.
1995 – Releases “Rising,” a rock album, which features her son, Sean Lennon, and his band IMA.
2001 – Releases “Blueprint for a Sunrise.”
2002 – Founds the LennonOno Grant for Peace.
October 9, 2007 – Unveils the Imagine Peace Tower, an outdoor art installation that emits a ray of light every year from October 9th (John’s birthday) until December 8th (the date of his death). The tower is also illuminated annually on New Year’s Eve, Ono’s birthday in February, and the start of the Vernal Equinox and Winter Solstice. The tower is located on Vioey Island in Reykjavik, Iceland.
October 19, 2010 – Ono tells CNN’s Anderson Cooper that she was blamed for the breakup of the Beatles because of racism and sexism.
2012 – In an interview with journalist David Frost, former Beatle Paul McCartney claims that Ono didn’t break up the band. “I don’t think you can blame her for anything,” he says, stating that Lennon was “definitely going to leave.”
August 2012 – Ono and son, Sean, found Artists Against Fracking, which protests fracking of natural gas and oil.
September 17, 2013 – Releases “Take Me to the Land of Hell” with Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band.
February 2, 2016 – Ono exhibits “Land of Hope,” consisting of 19 pieces of her conceptual artwork in Mexico City’s Memory and Tolerance Museum. The exhibit is interactive and promotes an anti-violence message.
December 2, 2016 – The album, “Hell in Paradise 2016, Part 1,” a collection of remixes featuring Ono, is released.
January 13, 2017 – The album, “Hell in Paradise 2016, Part 2,” is released.
June 14, 2017 – The National Music Publishers Association announces that Ono will be added as a co-writer on John Lennon’s 1971 song “Imagine.”
October 19, 2018 – The album, “Warzone,” is released. The album contains reimagined versions of Ono’s past works.
November 24, 2018 – The documentary, “John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky,” is released.
December 8, 2019 – On the 39th anniversary of Lennon’s death, Ono posts a tribute to Lennon on Twitter, stating “The death of a loved one is a hollowing experience.”
February 18, 2021 – A new multi-media company, the Coda Collection, launches a new music channel by the same name on Amazon Prime Video. The company is co-founded by Ono, Janie Hendrix, Jim Spinello, director and producer John McDermott, and entertainment lawyer Jonas Herbsman.
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