Happy Birthday, Ms. Ono

Yoko Ono, during a musical performance, grips a micorophone with two hands and smiles broadly.

February 18 is a day on which badass women are born, from Audre Lorde to Toni Morrison. But you had to know that I couldn’t let the day pass without acknowledging the birthday of my favorite badass feminist in the entire world: Yoko Ono. [1. If you’re unsure why anyone would celebrate Yoko or call her a badass, you’re obviously new around here. But reading my series Yoko Ono: A Feminist Analysis would be an excellent way to spend her birthday.]

Today, the fabulous Ms. Ono turns 77. And she’s still rocking out hard, as evidenced by the above photo, which was taken at last night’s concert. Since 1933 she’s been subverting expectations, creating beautiful, daring, and thought-provoking art and music, advocating peace, and inspiring countless people. For that, I thank and applaud her.

Over the past couple months I’ve just begun listening to Yoko’s music, in addition to admiring her words, politics and visual art. I’ve become convinced that I was missing out on quite a lot, and that others who have found it difficult to get past her unique style have been missing out, too. I’m still a total newbie when it comes to Ono’s music, but I thought that I would celebrate today by sharing with you some of my current favorite tracks:

Kiss Kiss Kiss

Hard Times Are Over

Let Me Count The Ways

Hell in Paradise


Send your own birthday wishes to Yoko through her website, or by replying to @yokoono on Twitter. Also, please feel free to leave your own favorite Yoko tracks in the comments — as I said, I’m just starting out, so I could use the recommendations!

0 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Ms. Ono

  1. Zoe

    Thanks for the suggestion – I just read your series on Yoko Ono and thought it was great. I have little knowledge of or particular interest in the Beatles (sorry!), but I do find ‘Yoko-hatred’ fascinating and that provided some good insight into the matter. Trust good old fashioned misogyny to have the answers. Thanks!


  2. Cris

    I find “Yes I’m Your Angel” very charming. It’s a musical throwback, not really characteristic of her usual boundary-pushing, but that contrast adds to its appeal.

    My first contact with Yoko’s music was when my brother and I bought the Double Fantasy singles in 1980 and 1981. All three A-sides were John songs (the reason we bought them) while each B-side was Yoko. As a ten-year-old, I hadn’t yet developed a taste for the avant-garde, so “Kiss Kiss Kiss” really made me reluctant to listen to the other two. As a result, I didn’t even hear “Yes I’m Your Angel” until years later.

    Also, not a music track, but I still have a fondness for her 1995 appearance on Mad About You. There’s a scene where Paul Reiser says to her “You know what people say… that you broke up the Beatles.” And she replies, surprised, “Who says that?” It showed that she has such a good sense of humor about her reputation, it made me love her more.

  3. Deb C

    Thank you for this. I don’t know much about Yoko, I have one of her songs that I downloaded at random one day that I really like, but that’s about the extent of it. I listened to the videos you have here and really enjoyed them — but I especially liked the little emo twerp at the end of Hell in Paradise saying that it didn’t seem like the sort of video that she would make. Talk about missing the point with his entire existence.

  4. ideealisme

    Oh you don’t have “Walking on Thin Ice” – which is great. Also “No no no” which is very avant garde – she doesn’t try to mask or smooth down the raw rage and grief she’s feeling and it’s a very very powerful song. And Winter Friend, an earlier song, is very poignant – I really love the lyrics.

    I think her output can be up-and-down but when she sings great songs people still hold the fact that she’s Yoko Ono against her.


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