Sean Taro Ono Lennon (Japanese name Tarō Ono (小野 太郎 Ono Tarō?); born October 9, 1975) is an American musician and composer. He is the only child of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, making him the half-brother of Julian Lennon and Kyoko Chan Cox. His godfather is Elton John.
Early life and education
Sean Lennon was born in New York City on October 9, 1975, his father's 35th birthday. He is of English and Irish descent on his father's side, and Japanese descent on his mother's side. Julian Lennon is his half-brother and Kyoko Chan Cox is his half-sister. After Sean's birth, John became a "house husband", doting on his young son until John's murder in 1980. Sean attended kindergarten in Tokyo, and was also educated at the exclusive private boarding school Institut Le Rosey in Rolle, Switzerland, and earlier at New York's private Ethical Culture Fieldston School and Dalton School. He later attended Columbia University, though for only three semesters before dropping out to focus on his music career.
In January 1984, when Steve Jobs was visiting Manhattan, he attended a party that Yoko was throwing for him, and Jobs gave him one of the very first Macintosh computers.
His parents kick-started his musical career: his debut into the music world came at age five, when he recited a story on his mother's 1981 album, Season of Glass. From childhood into his teen years, Sean continued to collaborate with his mother, contributing vocals and receiving production credit on her solo albums It's Alright (I See Rainbows), Starpeace and Onobox. At 16 Sean co-wrote the song "All I Ever Wanted" with Lenny Kravitz for his 1991 album Mama Said. By 1995 Sean had formed the band IMA (with Sam Koppelman and Timo Ellis) to play alongside his mother on her album Rising. Sean also made appearances in film, featured in the cast of Michael Jackson's 1988 Moonwalker and portraying a teenager experiencing visions of various M. C. Escher paintings in Sony's 1990 promotional short-film Infinite Escher.
Cibo Matto and Into The Sun
In 1996, Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto were invited by Ono to remix the song "Talking to the Universe" for a Rising remix EP Rising Mixes. They met Sean and invited him to join them on tour as a bass player. This eventually led to Sean's contributing to their side-project Butter 08 and to his becoming a member of the group. He continued to play with them on tour, joining them on television and providing bass guitar and vocals on their EP Super Relax. Through his association with Cibo Matto, Lennon was approached by Adam Yauch (of the Beastie Boys), who expressed an interest in his music and persuaded him to sign a record contract with Grand Royal Records. Regarding Grand Royal, Lennon has said:
- I think I found the only label on the planet who doesn't care who my parents are and what my name is. It's a good feeling to know that I wouldn't have gotten the offer if they wouldn't have liked my songs. That's pretty rare in the music business!
Lennon's solo début Into the Sun, was released in 1998. A music video for "Home", a single from the album, was directed by Spike Jonze and enjoyed extended airplay on MTV. The album was produced by fellow Cibo Matto member Yuka Honda, who Lennon claimed was his inspiration for the album. They struck up a personal relationship as well as a creative one.
He would go on to tour (often backed by Cibo Matto) supporting Into the Sun. During this period he appeared on radio programs such as The Howard Stern Show and KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic. He later recalled promoting the album as a bitter experience due to the media focus on his family rather than his own music. In 1999, Sean's EP Half Horse, Half Musician was released featuring new tracks such as "Heart & Lung" and "Happiness" as well as remixes of songs from Into The Sun. Along with Half Horse Half Musician, 1999 saw the release of Cibo Matto's second album Stereo Type A. Sean stepped out of his traditional role as the group's bass player, this time playing a much wider range of instruments (such as drums, guitars and synthesizers). Despite being well received, Stereo Type A was the final Cibo Matto album and the group disbanded.
In 2000, Lennon contributed vocals to Del tha Funkee Homosapien (a single stanza on the Deltron 3030 track 'Memory Loss'), Handsome Boy Modeling School and Jurassic 5. In 2001 on national television, Sean performed several classics by The Beatles, "This Boy", "Across the Universe" and "Julia" alongside Robert Schwartzman, Rufus Wainwright and Moby for Come Together: A Night for John Lennon's Words and Music. In the following years Sean faded out of the spotlight. However he collaborated with various bands and artists as a session musician and producer.
Return and Friendly Fire
After the demise of Grand Royal Records in 2001, Sean signed with Capitol Records, yet no solo material surfaced until February 2006, when "Dead Meat" was released as the first single from his new album, Friendly Fire. A promotional trailer for the CD/DVD package of Friendly Fire was leaked online in early 2006. The trailer featured scenes from the film version of the album, a DVD of music videos comprised into a film. The videos were actually screen tests for Coin Locker Babies, another project on which Lennon is working which became a cinematic counterpart to his new album.
Friendly Fire was released in October 2006. The theme of the album is love and betrayal, and it is dedicated to the memory of a close friend who died. The night the album was released, Lennon made his first major television appearance in five years, performing "Dead Meat" live on the Late Show with David Letterman. Lennon has since appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and The Sharon Osbourne Show. When questioned about the eight-year gap between solo albums in interviews, Lennon expressed that he did not feel like a solo artist during those years and that he wanted to experience music anonymously without the spotlight on him.
Since the release of Friendly Fire, Lennon has toured extensively around the world and while in France, he remixed his song "Parachute" in collaboration with French artist -M-. The remix is entitled "L'éclipse" and was featured as a bonus track on the French release of Friendly Fire.
While reestablishing himself as a solo artist, Lennon continued his work as a session musician and producer, lending his talent to the likes of Dopo Yume, Albert Hammond, Jr. (of The Strokes) and model/singer Irina Lazareanu. In October 2007, Sean joined Mark Ronson in the BBC Electric Proms where he sang "Sail on, Sailor", as well as "We Can Work It Out" alongside Daniel Merriweather, and Tawiah.
Along with girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl, Lennon started a record label, Chimera Music, and stepped into the world of film scores in 2009 with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead, directed by long-time friend and school mate Jordan Galland In the same year, Lennon produced a second album on Chimera for his mother, "Between My Head and the Sky," by Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band. Lennon has again collaborated with friend Jordan Galland, as he contributed the score to Jordan Gallands 2012 film "Alter Egos", and he appears as the character "Electric Death."
With the release of new material and subsequent touring Sean launched a website featuring music, videos and a forum for his fans. Various members of the forum have created a fan-made cover album entitled Truth Mask Replica.
The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger
Kemp Muhl and Lennon premiered the band The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger during a live performance at Radio City on Valentines Day, 2008. The duo, commonly referred to as 'The GOASTT', host their music on MySpace and perform under the aliases of Amatla and Zargifon. The GOASTT released their debut single, "Jardin Du Luxembourg", on July 6, 2010, and their debut album, "Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (Acoustic Sessions)," on October 26, 2010, both on Chimera, their own label. In conjunction with the debut, they performed six songs during an hour-long interview on WNYC and four songs for a Tiny Desk Concert on NPR. Lennon has also collaborated with Kemp Muhl with a new group called "Kemp and Eden" which premiered at The Living Room in the Spring of 2012.
On October 19, 2011, Lennon was asked by Josh Sigurdson over Twitter what his opinion on the Occupy Wall Street protests was. Sean replied with this statement: "I'm heading down there this weekend." which he did. On October 22, 2011, Sean showed up on Wall Street with Rufus Wainwright and Josh Fox. The three played music throughout the day to protesters and others joined in. Lennon has not yet spoken to the media or press about the event.
On August 28, 2012, Lennon's opposition to hydraulic fracking was published as an editorial, "Destroying Precious Land for Gas," by the New York Times.
On October 16, 2013 Lennon, along with Spacehog and Liv Tyler, is scheduled to play "Live on Earth" - an Internet-only performance - to benefit the David Lynch Foundation which promotes Transcendental Meditation.
- Into the Sun (1998)
- Half Horse, Half Musician (EP 1999)
- Friendly Fire (2006)
With Albert Hammond, Jr.
- Yours to Keep (2006)
- ¿Cómo Te Llama? (2008)
With Cibo Matto
- Super Relax (1997)
- Stereo * Type A (1999)
With the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger
- Acoustic Sessions (2010)
- La Carotte Bleue (2011)
- Midnight Sun (2014)
With Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band
- Rising (1995)
- Blueprint for a Sunrise (2001)
- Don't Stop Me! EP (2009)
- Between My Head and the Sky (2009)
- The Flaming Lips 2011 EP: The Flaming Lips with Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band (2011)
With Mystical Weapons
- "Mystical Weapons" (2012)
- Smile for the Camera (2005)
- Friendly Fire (2006)
- The Stranger (2008)
- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead (2008)
- Tea Fight (2008)
- Alter Egos (2012)
- Soulfly – Primitive (2000)
- Valentine Original Soundtrack (2001)
- Esthero – Wikked Lil' Grrrls (2005)
- Irina Lazareanu – Some Place Along the Way (2007)
- Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band – Between My Head and the Sky (2009)
- Kemp & Eden – Blackhole Lace (2012)
- Marianne Faithfull's album Easy Come, Easy Go (2008) – "Salvation" (originally by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club)
- Sean contributed vocals and guitar to "Son Song", on the Soulfly album Primitive. He can be heard in the final seconds of the song talking about how Soulfly guitarist/vocalist Max Cavalera's heavy-gauge strings hurt his fingertips.
- Deltron 3030's album Deltron 3030 (2000) – "Memory Loss"
- Sean sang backing vocals on the track "Sandpaperback" on Ben Lee's 1998 album Breathing Tornados.
- Collaborated in John Zorn's Great Jewish Music tributes to Marc Bolan, Burt Bacharach and Serge Gainsbourg, in 1997 and 1998.
- Sean made a spoken word contribution to The Flaming Lips' "Found This Star On The Ground", a 6-hour song. Lennon read the names of charity contributors who had donated in order to have their names featured in the song.
- Sean was also a featured artist on the track "Before the Skies" for Haale's EP Paratrooper.
- Moonwalker (1988) – Sean
- Imagine: John Lennon (1988) – Himself
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Season 2, Episode 1 – "When She Was Bad" (1997) – musician, Cibo Matto
- Melrose Place – Season 7, Episode 8 – "The World According to Matt" (1998) – Himself
- Smile for the Camera (2005) – Original Score, Writer
- Friendly Fire (2006) – Actor, Original Score, Writer
- Coin Locker Babies (2008 in production) – Actor, Writer
- A Monster in Paris (2011, Franc voice)
- Alter Egos (2012 in production) – Actor
- Part Asian, 100% Hapa by Kip Fulbeck (2006) – Sean is credited with writing the foreword
- at the Internet Movie Database
- , New York Magazine, May 18, 1998
- on I Like Music, 2006
- about Friendly Fire