Two Articles

Reuters - Julian Discusses the cheapening of John's memory done by Yoko
Associate Press - Yoko's response to Julian's comments

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Yoko cheapens Lennon's image
- By Paul Majendie

LONDON, July 5 (Reuters) - Julian Lennon on Sunday accused Yoko Ono of cheapening John Lennon's legacy with too much blatant commercialism.

But he insisted there was no rift with his half-brother Sean and suggested the two could one day play in a band together.

Lennon, appearing before 100,000 people at a giant open-air charity concert in London, confessed he was paralyzed with nerves singing live.

Speaking to Reuters after his brief set in the all-star concert in London's Hyde Park, there was no disguising his continued anger with his stepmother, the Japanese artist Yoko Ono.

Julian Lennon, whose father John left his mother Cynthia when he was a child of just four, felt Yoko Ono was besmirching the memory of the Beatle gunned down outside his New York apartment in 1980 by a crazed fan.

"He was not about commercialism," the 35-year-old singer said of his father who is still revered today as a pop icon.

"The one last thing that upsets me is what she does with the estate," he said.

"To be selling off his art work in limited editions etched into marble and to take his other art work which is on silk ties and mugs is not what he is about," he added.

Julian and his half-brother Sean, who is 22, recently released albums on the same day, prompting media speculation of sibling rivalry.

But Julian Lennon firmly quashed any rumors of a rift: "I absolutely love him to death. We talk about things but obviously the power is not in his court yet."

Lennon barely saw his father whilst he was growing up and he admits he is still grappling with the double agony of losing his Beatle father to divorce and then death.

But there is no doubting his genuine affection for Yoko Ono's son Sean: "Yes, he is blood."

"I will be there whenever he needs me," he said of his half- brother.

What then are the chances of the two playing together in a band?

"I am sure if something like that came along, we would consider it down the line," Lennon said.

While singing to the giant crowd at the London crowd, he was endearingly honest, telling the fans: "I am absolutely petrified. The nerves are killing me."

Afterwards he confessed: "I am always more comfortable with a smaller, more intimate set in a theatre."

Lennon, who played to a 500,000-strong crowd in Rome two months ago, was also angered by technical foul-ups with the sound system that brought his second song grinding to a halt.

"Whoever was doing the soundtrack transfers screwed up major league," he said.

But then afterwards Lennon, who bears such a striking resemblance to his father and sounds so like him, patiently launched into a string of media interviews.

Inevitably the questions kept coming round and round again to his father.

It is a legacy he still treasures with many bittersweet memories as they were only just beginning to break down the barriers when his father was shot dead.

He is still fiercely proud of his father however painful the childhood divisions: "Yes, he was somebody who said something that was very important for many people. A lot of people supported him because of his beliefs."


July 8, 1998 Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) - Yoko Ono says she isn't betraying John Lennon by selling his art works, because he always intended them to be sold.

That's the word from her spokesman, Elliot Mintz, who said in Tuesday's Daily News that Ms. Ono is being unfairly criticized by Julian Lennon, John's son from his first marriage. The younger Lennon said selling off the former Beatle's art "is not what he is about."

The former Beatle didn't create these works, "and sign and date them so they wouldn't be seen or sold," Mintz said of Lennon's drawings and lithographs, copies of which are selling for $400 to $12,000. ``During his lifetime, he personally released a series of lithographs and made them commercially available.''

Limited-edition copies of Lennon's work are part of a show called "Music for the Eyes: The Artwork of John Lennon," which is touring the country.

Besides, said curator Lynne Clifford, Ms. Ono isn't profiting from the sales. Ms. Clifford said the proceeds go toward running the exhibit.