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AILING AND WHEELCHAIR-BOUND YOKO ONO IS “SLOWING DOWN”, INSIDERS SAY

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Three years ago, when the National Music Publishers’ Association presented Yoko Ono with their Centennial Song Award, Sean Lennon pushed his mother onto the stage at Cipriani 42nd Street in a wheelchair — shocking some who didn’t realize the avant-garde artist was incapacitated.

But in her signature shades, black leather jacket and white Panama hat, the widow of John Lennon didn’t seem to miss a beat when she began a short acceptance speech by ­addressing the elephant in the room.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” she said, clutching the award in one hand and a microphone in the other as Sean whispered to her about what was going on. “I’ve learned so much from having this illness. I’m thankful I went through that.”

While it’s not clear what “illness” she was referring to, Ono, now 87, is still ailing, requires round-the-clock care and rarely leaves her sprawling apartment in The Dakota, a source close to her staff told The Post. In photos taken at rare public appearances — including a women’s march in Columbus Circle last year and at a commemoration of John in Liverpool in May 2018 — Ono is confined to a wheelchair, or walks with great difficulty using a cane, often leaning on a caregiver or Sean for support.

She has also been selling off some real-estate assets in recent years. “She has definitely slowed down, like anyone at that age,” said Elliot Mintz, a close family friend who has known Ono for nearly 50 years, and has acted as a family spokesman, representing the John Lennon estate since the former Beatle’s murder in December 1980. “But she is as sharp as she once was.”

Mintz told The Post he last saw Ono at her 87th birthday party in February. He was one of more than 30 guests, including Rolling Stone magazine co-founder Jann Wenner, singer Cyndi Lauper and Ono’s daughter, Kyoko, 56, from her pre-John marriage to film producer Anthony Cox.

Two years after their divorce in 1971, Cox fled with Kyoko and raised her in Christian fundamentalist communes. Ono fought for years for Kyoko, who began reaching out to her mother after John’s murder. According to Mintz, Ono is now very close to Kyoko as well as Sean, her 44-year-old son with Lennon.
“Sean is her best friend,” said Mintz. “They have dinner two or three times a week, and he occasionally brings his mom out as a guest star in his band.”
Sean organizes Ono’s birthday party every year, painstakingly obsessing over the decorations and flower arrangements, Mintz said. In February, he took over Bar Wayo at the South Street Seaport for the party, where guests celebrated over champagne. In previous years, Sean and Ono have taken to the stage to perform.
But this year, the celebration was more low-key. “She blew out the candles with Sean and she was among the last to leave,” Mintz told The Post. “She was in good spirits. I helped her into her wheelchair and gently helped her into her car.”
Mintz would not comment on Ono’s ­personal medical history. “She is a particularly special being,” he said. “In these 87 years, she’s lived 400.”

Yoko Ono was born in 1933 into a Tokyo banking family whose fortunes suffered during World War II. The family faced starvation and was often forced to barter household items for food while they sought refuge from Allied bombing raids.
Despite the wartime deprivations, Ono ­inherited her family’s business acumen. In addition to becoming an avant-garde artist who once opened her show at MoMA by screaming into a microphone, she is also a hard-nosed businesswoman — a prodigious investor in real estate who, after her marriage to John in 1969, began to amass a mini-empire of properties that spanned New York City, the Hudson Valley, the Hamptons, Palm Beach, Ireland and England. She has also collected a sizable art collection that includes works by her old friend Andy Warhol.

Today, Ono has reported assets of $700 million. She still owns multimillion-dollar properties in Manhattan as well as hundreds of rolling acres in upstate Delaware County, public records show. She lives in the same sprawling nine-room apartment, on the seventh floor of The Dakota, that she once shared with John. She also keeps an adjacent unit at the West 72nd Street building for visitors, and two small one-room spaces without kitchens that she uses for staff. And she has an office on the first floor that was once used by John as a recording studio.
“She would wake up early every morning, go downstairs to the studio and handle the family business, allowing John to be a househusband,” said Mintz, adding that John had no real business sense, and often needed her help to figure out the most mundane financial matters, such as how much to tip a waiter when he paid for a meal at a restaurant.
But Ono has been shedding assets. In 2017, she sold a building at 110 W. 79th St. that she had owned since 1988. She bought the property, housing two residential units, for just under $500,000 and unloaded it for $6,450,000, public records show. In 2013, she sold a 5,700-square-foot penthouse at 49-51 Downing St. in the West Village, which Sean occupied for years, for $8.3 million.

Although Ono still owns more than 600 acres near the town of Franklin, NY, locals say it’s been ages since they saw her in the area where she used to vacation with Sean and groups of friends. John and Ono bought the property and 100 Holstein cattle to set up a breeding operation before he was gunned down in front of The Dakota on Dec. 8, 1980.
“We haven’t seen her for a very long time,” said Roland Greefkes, an iron artisan who made a wrought-iron gate for Ono’s property. “I never met anyone quite like her. She is really something special.”

That sentiment is echoed by the directors of charities she has long supported. Although the charity she began with John, the Spirit Foundations, had contributions of only just under $25,000 from her in 2018, Ono does most of her charitable giving directly. At the start of the coronavirus pandemic in New York, she donated $250,000 to Montefiore Medical Center in The Bronx, to support frontline health-care workers.
“Montefiore was specifically chosen because Yoko wanted to assist a hospital in a community hit hard by COVID that didn’t have the ability to turn to wealthy donors and board members the way Cornell, NYU, Mount Sinai and others in Manhattan can,” said Mintz.
She has also recently supported musicians she has worked with in the past who have fallen on hard times. She helped Stanley Bronstein, who played in her Plastic Ono Band, when he needed emergency medical care, Mintz said.
But hunger remains her pet cause. “I remember being hungry and I know it’s so difficult to just be hungry,” Ono said in a 2013 interview. “One day I didn’t bring a lunchbox. The other kids asked, don’t you want to eat? I just said, no, I’m not hungry.”
Ono recently donated $50,000 to the West Side Campaign Against Hunger, which during the pandemic has provided thousands of meals to out-of-work and needy residents in her Upper West Side neighborhood. And she has a 30-year relationship with WhyHunger, a New York-based nonprofit fighting food deprivation around the world.

“She has been a true philanthropic partner,” Noreen Springstead, the group’s executive director, told. “She is the most energetic, the most vivacious person and is very hands-on. She has been incredibly invested for more than three decades.”


JOHN LENNON´S FINAL CONCERT JOINING ELTON JOHN ON STAGE

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John Lennon would take to the main stage of a huge stadium for the very last time. The singer would join Elton John on the glittering stage of Madison Square Garden to perform three wonderful tunes, including ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’.

John had avoided the stage for a long while before joining Elton on the stage. Having decided with The Beatles to become a studio band some years ago and continued much of the same practices (bar a few special appearances) with his solo career, John wouldn’t have joined the Rocketman if it wasn’t for him losing a bet.

The story goes that after John had asked Elton to help him on his new track ‘Whatever Gets You Thru The Night’, the duo came to an agreement. Elton had been in the studio providing harmonies and piano on the tune during the summer of 1974. It was during these sessions that Elton made a wager with John about how the track would do in the charts. It provided some joyful consequences.

John opened up about the glorious moment in a BBC interview just a few short days before his untimely death, and we’ll leave it to the Beatle to pick up the story. “Elton was in town and I was doing it and needed the harmony. He did the harmony on that and a couple more, and played beautiful piano on it. And jokingly, he was telling me he was going to do this Madison Square Garden concert — he said, ‘Will you do it with me if the record’s Number One?’”

“And I did not expect it to get to Number One at all. I didn’t think it had a chance in hell. I said, ‘Sure, sure, sure I will.’”

 

‘Whatever Gets You Thru The Night’ would be John’s first solo number over the pond which meant Lennon would have to pay up, “‘OK, it’s time to pay your dues!’ It was the first Number One I had, actually. ‘Imagine’ wasn’t Number One, ‘Instant Karma’ wasn’t Number One — which I all think are better records than ‘Whatever Gets You Thru The Night.’ (The) words are pretty good. But anyway, so what could we sing, that was the point.”

The pair had not been a friend long, having only met in 1973 despite sharing the same publisher, the duo got on famously. Elton reflected on their friendship, “We got on like a house on fire and we hung out for a couple of years; I found him very kind, very funny. I don’t know why we clicked, but we did and he clicked with my band and he clicked with the people around me. And we had so much fun. I was quite intimidated by him, because I knew he was razor sharp and could be very abrasive. But that side never came out with me — only the kind side and the funny side.”

John, dutifully agreed to the show and made his way to Madison Square Gardens to perform three songs with Elton. Taking on their co-created ‘Whatever Gets You thru The Night’, then playing ‘Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds’ a song that Elton and John had re-recorded earlier that year, and Elton’s then-current single and The Beatles’ own song ‘I Saw Her Standing There’. The three songs complete a memorable evening for all those involved. It made for a very happy Thanksgiving for all those who attended.



JOHN LENNON FINAL PHOTOS AND CAMERA SELL FOR OVER $100K AT AUCTION

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The final photos taken of John Lennon on Dec 8, 1980, by Paul Goresh sold for $100,000; and the camera that took them for $5,900; the last book signed by Lennon sold for $18,000; a Beatles ice cream box for $3,028; and Ringo’s sunglasses for $2,923—all in part one of the Paul Goresh Beatles Collection auction which closed last week.

Last Book Signed By John Lennon Sold For $18,000

Rare Beatles Ice Cream Box Sells For Over $3,000

 

Highlights of the collection include:

 

Rare photos from the 16 Magazine archives
Unseen behind-the-scene photos on the set of Help!
One-of-a-kind negatives taken by Astrid Kirchherr in 1961
Numerous concert tickets from 1964-65
Rare toys, bubble gum cards, ephemera
Large stash of Beatles Fan Club memorabilia
Signed books by George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney
Over 1,000 The Beatles magazines

 

Ken Farrell, president of Just Kids Nostalgia, a pop-culture collectible business established in 1978, was consigned to sell the collection upon Goresh’s death. Farrell and Goresh were mutual, long-time pop-culture enthusiast friends.

Farrell said: “It was a great honor to be selected by Paul Goresh before he died to sell this amazing collection. We will offer items never before seen in the collector’s market. It’s a sale not to be missed.”


A HOME RECORDING OF JOHN LENNON SINGING THE BEATLES WITH HIS SON SEAN

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John Lennon always his said his son, Sean, felt “more like a twin” considering that they both shared the same birthday.

In the below clip we catch a glimpse of their relationship as the pair shared a few notes. The footage comes from a home recording and sees Sean as a young child. On the tape, he starts singing the Beatles song.

In an interview dated in 1980, John once famously said that down to Sean’s apparent ability to channel his father’s emotions, John was now forced to shake himself out of “artistic depression” for the sake of the child. It’s a father-son relationship that is crystalised in this short clip.

Beginning with the unmistakable tone of a happy child, Sean belts out the lines: “Do you need anybody / I need somebody to love,” with a gleeful smile across his face. “That’s my favourite song,” confirms the toddler. “Very good,” replies John. The inquisitive Sean asks: “Who’s singing? You?”, his father replies: “No. Ringo, but Paul and I are singing it with him.”

After being asked what the song is called and trying to run through the lyrics for the title, like so many pub quiz teams have done before, Lennon concedes: “Oh, I’ve forgotten what it was called.”

Sean continues the song and messes up the lyrics the way only a small child can, after quickly correcting the lines, John then has a eureka moment and remembers, “Oh, ‘A Little Help From My Friends’, that’s what it’s called.”

The audio… H E R E .

faroutmag


JOHN LENNON´S FAVOURITE BOOKS

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Here, we take a look through the various volumes of John Lennon’s library.

John Lennon once revealed in an interview, a conversation recorded in 1980, that his family in Liverpool weren’t necessarily equipped to fulfil the notions of the poetic John. “It was scary as a child, because there was nobody to relate to,” he would comment.

“Neither my auntie nor my friends nor anybody could ever see what I did,” he added. “It was very, very scary and the only contact I had was reading about an Oscar Wilde or a Dylan Thomas or a Vincent van Gogh – all those books that my auntie had that talked about their suffering because of their visions. Because of what they saw, they were tortured by society for trying to express what they were.” It was a frightful piece of foreshadowing.

Lennon himself was an inspiring and engaging author in his own right. John decided to pursue another avenue of artistic prowess alongside his growing Beatles fame and write some interesting literature.

His first work, The Daily Howl, was brimming with comics and caricatures, poetry and prose, and was largely shared among high school chums. His work In His Own Write in 1964, was filled with nonsensical prose and wordplay, all of which seemed to fit in with the singer’s style. It sold so well he received another book deal just a year later.

Despite the success, writing books wasn’t something Lennon had originally bargained on. “There was never any real thought of writing a book,” he later said. “It was something that snowballed. If I hadn’t been a Beatle I wouldn’t have thought of having the stuff published; I would have been crawling around broke and just writing it and throwing it away. I might have been a Beat poet!”

Below is a list of these works and writers which across interviews and snippets of conversations Lennon has either been involved with or loved deeply.

Beano
Ronald Searle (illustrations)
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Curiosities of Natural History by Francis T. Buckland
Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll
Just William by Richmal Crompton
Howl by Allen Ginsberg
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
On The Road by Jack Kerouac
The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead by Timothy Leary
Grapefruit by Yoko Ono
1984 by George Orwell
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Complete Tales and Poems by Edgar Allen Poe
Born Under a Bad Sign by Tony Palmer & Ralph Steadman
Forty-One Years In India by Field Marshal Lord Roberts
Major Works by Jonathan Swift
Major Works by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Under Milkwood by Dylan Thomas
I Am Also a You by Jay Thompson
Writings and Drawings by James Thurber
Complete Works by Oscar Wilde


JOHN LENNON’S CHAUFFEUR DIES AGED 86

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The chauffeur who drove Beatle John Lennon around in his famous psychedelic Rolls-Royce has died aged 86.

Former Welsh Guards soldier Les Anthony had been suffering from Alzheimer’s, said his family.
His job ended in 1971 when Lennon moved to New York with Yoko Ono.

Son Melvin, 63, said: “My father had some funny times. He told me that John Lennon used to answer the door naked.
“But my father didn’t care, at the end of the day you are employed by them. He said it was because they were hippies and were free living.”

Les, who was 6ft 4in, became a pal of Beatles drummer Ringo Starr but did not get on with Paul McCartney “because he thought he was tight with money”, said Melvin, of Chertsey, Surrey.
Les would drive John to London from the star’s Kenwood estate, in Weybridge, Surrey.

In 1965 John submitted an order for the “most exclusive” Rolls-Royce model.
John passed his UK driving test in 1965 when he was 25, but had never driven a vehicle, preferring instead to employ one of two chauffeurs, Les and Bill Corbett.

Six-foot-four Les was also used as a bodyguard for the Beatles due to his army experience and tall build.

John’s chauffeur, Les Anthony on 25 May 1967 displaying John’s psychedelic Rolls-Royce Phantom V, newly decorated with dahlias and delphiniums in a £1,000 respray depicting the flowers of autumn. The car is parked in front of Kenwood, John and Cynthia’s house in St George’s Hill, Weybridge, Surrey.

 

 

John and Cyntia were leaving Brian Epstein’s memorial service with Les Anthony.

Les worked for Lennon until he moved to New York with Yoko Ono in 1971.

Rest in peace Les.