John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE (born John Winston Lennon; 9 October 1940 - 8 December 1980) was an English singer and songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a co-founder of the band the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. With fellow member Paul McCartney, he formed a celebrated songwriting partnership.
Born and raised in Liverpool, as a teenager Lennon became involved in the skiffle craze; his first band, the Quarrymen, evolved into the Beatles in 1960. When the group disbanded in 1970, Lennon embarked on a solo career that produced the critically acclaimed albums John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, and iconic songs such as "Give Peace a Chance", "Working Class Hero", and "Imagine". After his marriage to Yoko Ono in 1969, he changed his name to John Ono Lennon. Lennon disengaged himself from the music business in 1975 to raise his infant son Sean, but re-emerged with Ono in 1980 with the new album Double Fantasy. He was murdered three weeks after its release.
Lennon revealed a rebellious nature and acerbic wit in his music, writing, drawings, on film and in interviews. Controversial through his political and peace activism, he moved to Manhattan in 1971, where his criticism of the Vietnam War resulted in a lengthy attempt by Richard Nixon's administration to deport him, while some of his songs were adopted as anthems by the anti-war movement and the larger counterculture.
As of 2012, Lennon's solo album sales in the United States exceeded 14 million and, as writer, co-writer, or performer, he is responsible for 25 number-one singles on the US Hot 100 chart. In 2002, a BBC poll on the 100 Greatest Britons voted him eighth and, in 2008, Rolling Stone ranked him the fifth-greatest singer of all time. He was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987, and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, as a member of the Beatles in 1988 and as a solo artist in 1994.
Yoko Ono (小野 洋子 Ono Yōko?, born 18 February 1933) is a Japanese multimedia artist, singer and peace activist who is also known for her work in performance art, music and filmmaking. She is the widow and second wife of singer-songwriter John Lennon.
Ono grew up in Tokyo, and studied at Gakushuin. She withdrew from her course after two years and rejoined her family in New York in 1953. She spent some time at Sarah Lawrence College, and then 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. Ono and Lennon famously used their honeymoon at the Hilton Amsterdam as a stage for public protests against the Vietnam War with their performance, Bed-Ins for Peace, in Amsterdam and Montreal in 1969. She brought feminism to the forefront in her music, influencing artists as diverse as the B-52s and Meredith Monk. Ono achieved commercial and critical acclaim in 1980 with the chart-topping album Double Fantasy, released with Lennon three weeks before his death.
Public appreciation of Ono's work has shifted over time, helped by a retrospective at a Whitney Museum branch in 1989 and the 1992 release of the six-disc box set Onobox. Retrospectives of her artwork have also been presented at the Japan Society in New York City in 2001, in Bielefeld, Germany, and the UK in 2008, and Frankfurt, and Bilbao, Spain, in 2013. She received a Golden Lion Award for lifetime achievement from the Venice Biennale in 2009 and the 2012 Oskar Kokoschka Prize, Austria's highest award for applied contemporary art.
As Lennon's widow, Ono works to preserve his legacy. She funded Strawberry Fields in New York City, the Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland, and the John Lennon Museum in Saitama, Japan (which closed in 2010). She has made significant philanthropic contributions to the arts, peace, Philippine and Japan disaster relief, and other causes. Ono continues her social activism, inaugurating a biennial $50,000 LennonOno Grant for Peace in 2002 and co-founding the group Artists Against Fracking in 2012. She has a daughter, Kyoko Chan Cox, from her marriage to Anthony Cox and a son, Sean Taro Ono Lennon, with whom she collaborates musically, from her marriage to Lennon.
The Harlem Community Choir – featuring thirty children, most of them four to twelve years of age – recorded backing vocals for the counter-melody and sing-along chorus.
Sources: Last.fm, Wikipedia
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