Yoko Ono

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NYC down in the village
What a bad-ass city

John Lennon & Yoko Ono, 'New York City'

Yoko Ono born February 18, 1933, is a Japanese multimedia artist, singer, and peace activist. She is the widow and second wife of The Beatles’ 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. She was repeatedly criticized for her influence over Lennon and his music, and was blamed for the breakup of the Beatles as their relationship coincided with the band’s final years. Her experimental art was not popular, and, after Lennon’s death, her disagreements with Paul McCartney received as much attention as her billboards and music releases, which were perceived as self-promotion. Nevertheless, she achieved commercial success as part of the Plastic Ono Band — Live Peace in Toronto 1969 and 1972’s Some Time in New York City reached No. 10 and No. 48 on the album charts respectively. Double Fantasy from 1980, released three weeks before Lennon’s death, reached No. 1. Since 2003, eleven of her songs, mostly remixes of her older work, have hit No. 1 on the US dance chart. She brought feminism to the forefront in her music influencing artists as diverse as the B-52s and Meredith Monk.

As Lennon’s widow, Ono works to preserve the legacy of him, funding and maintaining Strawberry Fields in New York City and the Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland. She also funded and maintained the John Lennon Museum in Saitama, Japan, until it was closed on September 30, 2010.