Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - December 11, 1980, Brandon, Manitoba
bv SHERRI BARRON
LONDON (CP) — John Lennon’s death is hitting Britons hard.
Written tributes flow in a wave of 1960s nostalgia — the Beatles, the miniskirt, Vietnam, campus demonstrations, pigs, flower power, rock festivals and dope.
Some of the same critics who once dismissed as “loud, aggressive and repulsive noise,” the new sound of four moptopped Liverpudlians, are remembering one of Britain’s most talented lyricists.
Lennon was to many, “the Beatle that dazzled most,” who by some intellectual instinct could gauge the mood of the time. Portrayed as the hard, tough rocker armed with a caustic wit, his were still the lyrics of peace.
“Give peace a chance” was destined to become a part of every protest movement in the Western world.
“When people recreate the mood of the 60s,” “American composer Aaron Copeland once said, “they will play Beatles music.”
The music of John, Paul, George and Ringo was in many ways every bit as evolutionary as it was revolutionary.
Those early hits, canonized to fame from the Cavern Club of working class South Liverpool — Love Me Do, Please Please Me and From Me to You — inspired the wrath of music critics.
k When their discoverer, Brian Epstein, boasted of “the biggest thing since Elvis Presley,” critics laughed.
But it was such things as Lennon’s remark about a rock group “more popular than Jesus” that carved a widening generation gap.
Parents rebelled against Lennon’s eagle-style arrogance of when he predicted the death of Christianity.
Critics battled against this mass-produced mental opiate, attributing it to some grave shortcoming of the British educational system.
Lennon needed his ‘Sphinx’
Lennon's last album cover.
“Long-haired layabouts and they call this music,” one reporter wrote in disgust after a visit to the Liverpool rock nest.
“Vigorous, aggressive, incomprehensible, boringly stereotyped, exaggerated rhythm, high pitched and thunderously amplified ...”
But by 1964, the country could not ignore their power and the influence nor the following they had won.
Even the dispassionate Queen once expressed concern about the length of Ringo’s hair.
The growing hysteria and lunacy of the mid-60s threw Lennon into a more than casual flirtation with drink, pills and drugs.
“He took rock into the world of surrealism: He invented the Walrus, The Glass Onion, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and the Nowhere Man,” says Ray Connolly, writing for The New Standard.
Lennon was long the disciple of his own social conscience. After all four Beatles were made members of Order of the British Empire in 1965, he decided in 1969 to return the insignia to Buckingham Palace in protest against Britain’s involvement in Niger-
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ia, Biafra and Vietnam.
He only recently emerged from a long bout of seclusion. His optimistic new single. Starting Over, comes as the final bitter twist to his tragic end.
by HENRIETTA LEITH
NEW YORK (AP) — Among the millions of words that have been written about Yoko Ono since she met John Lennon in a London gallery in 1966, few have been kind.
She has been called a Dragon Lady who forced him to leave the Beatles; a superliberated, emasculating female who made him change the baby’s diapers while she wrestled with lawyers and agents; a dabbler in art and music, more concerned with her own self-expression than with Lennon’s development.
Ono has often admitted to some of the traits ascribed to her. “I had always been more macho than most guys I was with,” she says in an interview in the January, 1981, issue of Playboy magazine, adding she always looked not for a father figure in men, but “something tender and weak.”
But on the last day of his life, John Lennon replied, as he had done so many times before, to those who had said a “Japanese witch has made him crazy and he’s gone bananas.”
‘I really needed her’
“All she did,” he said in a radio interview taped Monday afternoon, hours before he was shot dead outside his home in the Dakota apartments in Manhattan, “was take the bananas part and take it out of the closet ... I really needed her, wanted to be with her and could not literally survive without her as a functioning human being.”
From that first meeting 14 years ago, when their eyes locked over an Ono art work consisting of a nail and hammer, Yoko Ono has given the world plenty of reasons to write about her.
She was blamed for their honeymoon “bed-ins for peace” when they appeared py-jama-clad in bed on public view; for John a,nd Yoko appearing on stage tied up together in a black plastic bag, and for the album cover showing both nude.
In his last interview, with the RKO network, Lennon was still explaining and defending that album cover.
“We wanted to say, ‘We met, we’re in love, we want to share it.’”
Yoko Ono was born into a rich Tokyo banking family Feb. 18, 1933, seven years before Lennon’s birth in a working-class family in Liverpool.
Taught not to smile
The woman who was to become known as a Sphinx who never smiled, or a Mona Lisa whose half-smile showed arrogance, once recalled that as a child she was taught “It was almost bad taste to smile.”
She says she almost starved during the Second World War, but after the war the family moved to New York, settled in uppermost Scarsdale, and sent Yoko to the exclusive Sarah Lawrence College.
She dropped out after her third year to marry a Japanese violinist. Her family did not approve and cut her off, so Yoko rented a Greenwich Village loft and began a career as a poet, artist and filmmaker.
One of her poems was Touch Poem for Group of People, and read in its entirety: “Touch each other.” Her films included one consisting only of 365 naked buttocks, another of a fly walking over a nude woman.
Taped toilet sounds
Ono, who had her first art show at a Madison Avenue gallery in 1960. had also given concerts at Carnegie Recital Hall and the Village Gate, one featuring amplified breathing in the dark and one with a microphone in the rest room so when a toilet was flushed it was heard onstage.
“I did a lot of interesting things like that, which nobody noticed because they were too complex,” she said in a recent interview in the Soho News.
She also complained because a reviewer of the Carnegie concert praised her two male fellow artists and added: “Well, what is this Miss Ono doing?”
After a long string of “terrible reviews,” she said: “I went to a rest home to recuperate.”
But Ono never let criticism get her down, even when her turn came during a Lennon-Ono recording session and the producer went to the bathroom and returned to tell her: “I just threw up.”
When Ono met Lennon, she was married to film producer Anthony Cox, and their daughter, Kyoko, was living with Cox in Japan. After she divorced Cox and married Lennon, they fought a long legal battle to get custody of Kyoko, even hiring private detectives to try to find the child, but they finally gave up.
John and Yoko separated in the early 1970s, and he went to Los Angeles for what he called “the lost weekend that lasted 18 months.”
Kicked Lennon out
“I was on a raft in the middle of the universe,” he said.
Asked why she kicked Lennon out and held out against taking him back, Ono said: “I’m what I call a ‘moving on’ kind of girl ... That’s why I’m one of the very few survivors as a woman ...”
She did take him back, they decided to have a baby, and after miscarriages and doctors saying she could never conceive, a son Sean was born five years ago.
Lennon became a househusband while Ono tended the nine -metre-long, 4.5-metre-high wall of filing cabinets in her office in the Dakota.
The files have to do with record companies, real estate and all other aspects of an estate estimated to be worth $150 million to .$235 million.
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