The son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Sean Ono Lennon, as reported by the New York Post, is poised to take control of John Lennon’s estate, a move driven by the aging Yoko Ono that could have a far reaching impact on future releases and licensing of John’s body of work. This could also have an impact on the financial status of John Lennon’s first son, Julian Lennon, and Sean’s controlling role could have an impact on future Beatles releases and Licenses. This is another tale about the conflicts over John Lennon’s post Beatles output, about rivalry and reconciliation, and how these decisions could have an impact on how you look at John Lennon and what music you hear.
Sean is Stepping Out
The news of 45 year old Sean’s control in the Estate of John Lennon seems to be corroborated by his involvement as producer on the box compilation Gimme Some Truth, as much as Yoko Ono is still involved in business affairs, her infrequent appearances while Wheelchair bound, and the understanding that the 87 year old is slowly winding down, it seems that Sean is taking further steps to guide the future of Lennon’s legacy. The compilation was released in honor of on what would have been John’s 80th Birthday. It is hard to say what these developments might bring, but Sean recently conducted podcast interviews with Elton John, Julian Lennon and Paul McCartney to reflect on John’s life.
Yoko had already been managing the couple’s affairs from 1975 to 1980, while John was in his musical retirement, After John’s passing, she became the executive manager of his estate. Yoko’s management of the estate has been, at times, controversial from as far back as 1981, with posthumous album releases of unreleased tracks and the use of John likeness and his illustrations in various formats, but with the intent to honor John’s legacy and messages of Peace and understanding. She has also been very astute with her business dealings from property sales to private companies invested.
Julian Lennon, the first son of John and Cynthia Lennon, has had various legal and financial conflicts in the past with Yoko Ono, but has established a very strong band with brother Sean. A settlement was reached in 1996 between Julian and Yoko for his share of his fathers wealth for an undisclosed amount. When Ono began to auction John’s personal effects decades ago, Julian had taken to using his wealth to buy back some of the personal effects that had personal meaning to him as a child during the height of Beatlemania.
Sean and Julian
Over the years, by various accounts, Julian and Sean’s relationship has gotten much closer. Julian admits that his relationship with Yoko remains “cordial”, during Sean’s 2007 tour, Julian tagged along as a band photographer, and acted as a de facto road manager.
Subsequently, Sean has attended some of Julian’s photography exhibit premiers. Julian Lennon has never rested on his fathers laurels, in the mid eighties, when he launched a music career, Julian enjoyed phenomenal success with his debut solo album Valotte in 1984 and The Secret Value of Daydreaming (1986), he continued to release albums such as Photograph Smile (1998) and Everything Changes (2011), presently it has been reported Julian lives in France, he is a philanthropist and founder of the White Feather Foundation. He is a documentary producer and has taken up photography over the last decade, his work has been on exhibition. His business ventures include being involved MyStore.com and theRevolution LLC.
Sean Lennon has found his own voice and had begun his music career by being initially involved with several bands, starting Cibo Matto from 1997 to 2002, The Ghost of the Saber Tooth Tiger, and recently enjoyed positive remarks with his collaboration with Primus front man Les Claypool with the Claypool-Lennon Delirium. He released two solo albums Into The Sun (1998) and Friendly Fire (2006). Lennon like the namesake of his parents has become an activist for various issues, the Tibetan Freedom movement, Occupy Wall Street, and a stance against Fracking, and as a fundraiser for the teaching of Transcendental Meditation.
What This Means for The Beatles
The Lennon brothers evolving relationship could bring about a more equitable arrangement regarding the estate, one cannot determine if future decisions could remedy some past conflicts. It has been reported that Sean has been appointed director of eight companies, including Apple Corps, and Lensolo, at a fortune estimated to be $800 Million, a representative has clarified that “Yoko continues to oversee John’s estate but has drafted in Sean as a director to assist when necessary.”
Lastly, it is unknown how Sean’s role will play out in future decisions regarding The Beatles as a business enterprise, and how involved he may be regarding decisions between McCartney, Starr, George Harrison’s widower Olivia and Son Dhani over the licensing of Beatles product, future projects, reissues, compilations, as the catalog and legacy of The Beatles will likely remain one of the most lucrative entertainment brands for generations to come.