Yoko Ono

LANE: A very misunderstood artist and the Beatles would’ve broken up anyways.
RORY: Have you shared this theory with anyone?
LANE: I know it, Yoko knows it, Sean knows it. Julian’s still in denial but what can you do?

Yoko Ono (born 1933) is a Japanese artist, singer, songwriter, peace activist, performance artist, and film-maker. She is famous for being the second wife of British singer-songwriter John Lennon, one of the Beatles. They met in 1966 and began a relationship while John was still married to his first wife, Cynthia, and were married in 1969.

The Beatles disbanded in 1970, and it is common to blame Yoko Ono as one of the primary causes of the band’s break up. Lennon and Ono spent all their time together, even when The Beatles were recording, which went against the band’s unspoken agreement not to allow wives or girlfriends into the studio. Ono frequently made comments and suggestions on the recording process, encouraged by Lennon, but to the other band members’ irritation.

However, The Beatles had experienced a number of stresses, including the death of their manager Brian Epstein in 1967, and the rise of George Harrison as a composer in his own right, with each member of the band beginning to have solo projects of their own. Although Ono placed further pressure on the band and contributed to feelings of ill-will, Lane is correct that The Beatles would have broken up anyway.

Sean Lennon (born 1975) is the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, while Julian Lennon (born 1963) is the son of Lennon and his first wife Cynthia. One reason why Lane says Julian might be “in denial” is that Julian was excluded from his father’s will, with the majority of the estate going to Ono; Julian sued the estate and in 1996 reportedly accepted a settlement of £20 million.

Despite the many factors working against their relationship, Julian is said to be on polite terms with Yoko Ono, and gets on very well with Sean. I’m not sure Julian has ever expressed an opinion on whether Ono broke up The Beatles (and by this stage, probably doesn’t care anyway).

Yoko Ono made several albums in collaboration with John Lennon, while also releasing solo albums – her solo debut album was in 1970. Although critics dismissed her work for many years, in November 2001 she brought out a concept album which was critically acclaimed, so Lane (and the show) was slightly ahead of the trends by recognising her as a misunderstood genius.

Once again, Lane demonstrates a sympathy for creative artists of Asian heritage. Perhaps she can picture herself as another Yoko Ono, bringing out avant-garde pop music with a feminist slant to it.

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