1975 – Sean Lennon is born this day in rock history!
Sean Taro Ono Lennon (aka Sean Ono Lennon, born 9 October 1975) is an American singer, songwriter, musician and actor. He is the son of musicians and peace activists John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
Early life and education
Sean Lennon was born in New York City on 9 October 1975 (his father’s 35th birthday). Kyoko Chan Cox and Julian Lennon are his half-siblings. After Sean’s birth, John became a house husband, doting on his young son until his murder in 1980. Sean was 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. He later attended Columbia University, though only for three semesters before dropping out to focus on his music career.
His debut into the music world came at the age of six, reciting 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 sixteen 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 MC 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 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 would appear on radio programs such as The Howard Stern Show and KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic. He would later recall 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 to be the final Cibo Matto album and the group disbanded.
In 2000 Lennon briefly entered the world of hip hop, contributing vocals to Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Handsome Boy Modeling School and Jurassic 5. In 2001 on national television, Sean performed Beatles classics “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 (whose parent company EMI has released the vast majority of his father’s musical output, group and solo), 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 and was featured as a bonus track on the French release of Friendly Fire.
Although again establishing himself as a solo artist, Lennon has 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. 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 even crated a fan-made cover album entitled Truth Mask Replica. In a You Tube video released for his website (January, 2008) Lennon has stated that he is working on a new solo album as well.
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Lennon has said that Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys are major influences in his music and he interviewed Wilson on a limited edition CD entitled Words and Music. During the release of Into The Sun, Sean often talked about his admiration for the Brazilian band Os Mutantes. While in Brazil, Sean performed live with Arnaldo Baptista (bass guitar player and vocalist of Os Mutantes) and later designed the artwork for the Os Mutantes album, Tecnicolor (2000). Lennon has stated that The Beastie Boys album Check Your Head was a source of inspiration, with its varied music styles contained in one album.
* Into the Sun (1998)
* Half Horse, Half Musician (1999)
* Friendly Fire (2006)
With Cibo Matto
* Super Relax (1997)
* Stereo Type A (1999)
* Smile for the Camera (2005)
* Friendly Fire (2006)
* The Stranger (2008)
* Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead (2008)
* Tea Fight (2008)
* Sean Lennon – Half Horse Half Musician (1999)
* Soulfly – Primitive (2000)
* Valentine Original Soundtrack (2001)
* Esthero – Wikked Lil’ Grrrls (2005)
* Sean Lennon – Friendly Fire (2006)
* Irina Lazareanu – Some Place Along the Way (2007)
* Moonwalker (1988) – Actor
* Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Season 2, Episode 1 – “When She Was Bad” (1997) – musician, Cibo Matto
* Smile for the Camera (2005) – Original Score, Writer
* Friendly Fire (2006) – Actor, Original Score, Writer
* The Stranger (2008) – Original Score
* Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead (2008) – Original Score
* Tea Fight (2008) – Original Score
* Coin Locker Babies (2008 in production) – Actor, Writer