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Yoko Ono

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Yoko Ono, born 18 February 1933 in Tokyo, is a Japanese artist most widely known for her relationship with John Lennon of The Beatles. When Yoko first met Lennon, she was an artist exhibiting in the UK. Working with art group Fluxus throughout the 1960s, Ono was a pioneer in the burgeoning conceptual art movement which included work in sculpture, performance, filmmaking and music.

Few women in the history of rock & roll have stirred as much controversy as Yoko Ono. Although her romance with Lennon was hardly the only factor straining the relationships between the Beatles, she became a convenient scapegoat for the group’s breakup and was repeatedly raked over the coals in the media for her influence over Lennon, both in his life and his music. Ono’s own work as an artist and musician didn’t mitigate the public’s enmity toward her; to the average man on the street, her avant-garde conceptual art seemed bizarre and ridiculous, and her highly experimental rock & roll (which often spotlighted her primal vocals) was simply too abrasive to tolerate. That view wasn’t necessarily universal, and in fact the merits of her work are still hotly debated.

Regardless of individual opinion, Ono has left a lasting legacy; she was an undeniably seminal figure in the history of performance art, and elements of her music prefigured the arty sides of punk and new wave (whether she was a direct influence is still debated, although The B-52’s did admit to drawing from her early records).

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