Happy Birthday Sean Ono Lennon



“I think that my mom brought my father to that place of pure, visceral expression. My mom was avant-garde and he was pop. She also gave that connection to a pure expression. Some of the ways my mom sings is almost like a baby crying. My father was very influenced by that and you can hear it in songs like ‘Mother’ on John Lennon Plastic Ono Band. He screams at the end. That was my mother’s influence. That was their new chapter, the new chapter of John and Yoko.

– Nero magazine, 2016


“Many don’t realize what a brilliant musician and producer my mother is. She taught me piano, songwriting, and studio production from an early age. I would not know what a diminished chord, or a compressor, or a counterpoint melody, or an overdub, or reverb and delay was, none of it, had it not been for my mother’s mentorship. I’m so proud to be releasing her remastered albums with @secretlycanadian and @chimeramusic to give people the chance to see once and for all what an amazing songwriter, lyricist, arranger, and producer she is. Please RT everything!” #plasticonoband #yokoono #yes #legend

– Twitter – February 8, 2017



“My mom’s music is more fundamental to me than anything, actually. My mother taught me what an E minor chord is. It’s my mother that taught me what a delay, mixing board, and EQ is. She taught me how to turn pain into lyrics. She’s my music sensei… To me, she’s a songwriter more than anything.”

– Nero magazine, 2016


(Two Virgins was reissued on LP, CD and digitally by Secretly Canadian/Chimera on the anniversary of its American release – 11th November 2016 with bonus tracks and rare photos):

“I’m listening to a very special, precious moment to my parents. They influenced each other. It means a great deal to me, it’s very special. After all, they’re my parents. Up to that point, my dad hadn’t done anything but rock ‘n’ roll and pop music, so getting free from the boundaries of Western music was a great stimulus to him. I understand that very well. My mom urged my dad to experiment with avant-garde, and he was an inspiration to her too. My dad learnt how far he could go in his freedom to express himself, and she learnt how to do recording. My dad had been wanting to experiment since his days with the Beatles. In that sense, my mom wasn’t only the trigger for him, but she also was a break-through to him to a world of new ideas and expressions.”

– Rockin’ On magazine (Japan) February 2017

“You’re listening to John and Yoko falling in love and having fun in the studio. Alone. It was just my dad and mom. You’re hearing that natural love explosion.”

– Nero magazine, 2016


“It’s wild music, man. For one thing, Wedding Album (1969) just showed how sweet they are, you know? They’re so cute, just hanging out all night making weird, wobbly sounds. You can tell that they’re having a good time, which is what I like about it most… That’s what led to my existence. The album is ultimately sort of my origin, too, isn’t it? I’m quite proud of having been a part of [the reissue]. “I feel like a good son for having done it. It makes me feel like — like a good boy. What more could I do to say thank you other than remaster the music you made myself and make sure it’s all put together beautifully, then give people the opportunity to re-experience that?”



“I don’t know when I realized that Plastic Ono Band was the greatest record ever. I don’t know if it was because it’s my mom or what. But I got it. Why do I like it? I don’t know why people don’t like it.”

When I play “Greenfield Morning” or “Why” for anybody that I know my age who’s into rock, they are fucking floored. When that beat kicks in “Greenfield Morning” [does human-beatbox imitation of the drum pattern] – I would play it for my friends who were only into hip-hop. They’d be like, That’s fat. They want to hear Public Enemy rhyming over it.

“My dad was saying to the world, “This is it, man. Yoko is it.’  His inspiration came directly from her. And people didn’t get it. It’s intense how racist the world is. If she looked like Deborah Harry, I really think the reaction would have been different.”

– To Rolling Stone‘s David Fricke June 11, 1998


“Yoko can pack a lot into a lyric. The phrase ‘approximately infinite universe,’ for example. What does that mean? The universe is infinitely large, so how can it be ‘approximately’ infinite? Here it helps set up a contrast between the vastness of someone’s potential experience in life and the more limited, painful situation of the woman who’s the subject of the song.”

– hyperallergenic.com, Feb. 2017


‘Yes, I’m a Witch”

“She always turns a negative into creativity. The word ‘witch’ in English is complicated because it could be an insult, but I think my mother is a true, good witch. She’s a wizard. She’s a high level wizard. That’s why she has a song that goes, ‘I’m a witch/I’m a bitch’.”

– Nero magazine, 2016 

Yoko Ono: ‘Yes, I’m a Witch’


Photo: Bob Gruen


“I remember Season of Glass, the music moving me so much. It’s an amazing accomplishment that she went into the studio after my dad died. She takes the most painful, most intense experiences and turns it them into beautiful art. And I think that’s what my dad loved so much about her.”

– Sean Ono Lennon to David Fricke, Rolling Stone -June 11th, 1998


“Even after my dad passed away, my mom immediately made an album with Phil Spector called Season of Glass. That was the most formative experience of my life because I saw my mom write songs about my father dying and how it affected her and her family. I saw how it was to be an artist and take your life experiences, even the most difficult ones, and transform them into music. It was very healing to me because as she was making the album those songs were my way of mourning my father’s death. It was my way of processing his death. That became the foundation of me being an artist because that showed me what art was; taking your life and turning into music. I learnt that through my mom. Season of Glass was my most vivid memory of being only 6 years old and hearing her sing about my dad. It helped me so much. I also felt that she was so brave to sing about it. T saved her life. If my mother didn’t have music to process her feelings, she wouldn’t have survived. It was a life lesson that was the basis of my identity as an artist. She showed me that making music isn’t something you do for decoration. It’s like therapy. It’s a means to process your most profound experiences and emotions. It can save your life. It’s an actual, spiritual exercise.”

– Nero magazine, 2016



“Her sense of film is to, say, take an avocado, film it for six days and have, like, mosquitoes buzzing around in the background… I think she is probably my greatest influence, my favourite artist.” 

– Sean Ono Lennon, 2006


“I was very proud to hand her a stack of Yoko vinyls that I’d had remastered. She’s not easily touched by stuff, and she got a little tear in her eye. So that made me feel like a good son.”

The New Yorker, February 2019


Sean proudly exclaimed re: Yoko’s new album, Take Me to the Land of Hell (2013)

“It sounds like the end of the world!”

“I think she was a revolutionary individual. One of a kind… Her conservative Japanese family didn’t quite understand her art… She felt very hurt by that. She was channeling a sort of fundamental avant-garde that was connected to Japanese folk singing which wasn’t a Western style of singing. If you look at the notation, it’s actually sort of an abstract poem. There was no Western notation. It would just go up and down. I think she’s very influenced by enka also in terms of her minor chords. Even Okinawa folk music. There’s something in her heart that’s very Japanese that’s not bound by Western conformist musical technique and theory. I think she applied that to her avant-garde theory to break through all the barriers. Pure expression, not limited music.”

Nero magazine, 2016


“Her husband was taken from her so I had to take care of her.

She took care of me. We took care of each other.”

– Nero magazine, 2016

Photo: Greg Kadel 


Sean’s beautiful song about John



Sean @ Dream Power 2008 live acoustic version:



See my related stories:

Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band


The Reissues 2017


Season Of Glass


Yoko Ono Films



All Japan photos by: Kishin Shinoyama


One thought on “Happy Birthday Sean Ono Lennon

  1. Thank you for this treasure trove of Sean quotes. Perfect way to start my day of listening to John, Yoko and Sean music.

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