Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 18 Feb. '33, Tokyo) Japanese vocalist. Moved to NYC at 14, in early '60s made some reputation with poems, films, events. Jazz fans were mystified when her voice was dubbed on to an Ornette Coleman track. She met John Lennon at an art exhibition, married him early '69; she was omnipresent in the last days of the Beatles (in the way at recording sessions) and was unfairly blamed for their split by fans. She contributed limited vocal talent to his Plastic Ono Band projects, appeared on his LP sleeves (naked on Two Virgins), participated in Bed-In for Peace, etc. Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band '70 presented her music, of less than slender merit; but she was reckoned to have introduced John to electronic music and free jazz, and her book Grapefruit '70 to have inspired his song 'Imagine'. Her Approximately Infinite Universe '73 was regarded as an improvement, though she remained anything but a serious artist in critical eyes, her up-and-down vocal style mannered rather than exotic or profound. Split from Lennon '74; they were reunited '75, had son Sean (each had a child from previous marriages). Continued in media spotlight after his death, Seasons Of Glass '81 and unsettling single 'Walking On Thin Ice' her reaction to his loss; she also masterminded the posthumous Milk And Honey '82. Her Every Man Has A Woman '84 was an unusual package, her songs performed by Harry Nilsson, Elvis Costello, Roberta Flack etc. Though merely inept in the beginning, she infl. the New Wave: Lene Lovich, Patti Smith, etc. Onobox '92 on Rykodisc compiled her stuff on six CDs; Rising '95 on Capitol by Yoko and Ima Ono was remixed '96; she remixed Two Virgins, Life With The Lions, Wedding Album and Plastic Ono Band '97 with bonus tracks from '68--70.