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When John Lennon’s sons helped induct Elvis Presley into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

julian-sean-bwThis month marks several Beatle-related anniversaries with The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, the RRHOF Induction ceremony used to be held in January. In later years, the ceremony was moved to the Spring.

On January 20, 1988, The Beatles were inducted at the 3rd annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony by Mick Jagger (click here for induction speech).

George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, Julian and Sean Lennon accepted on behalf of The Beatles. Paul McCartney was not in attendance.


On January 19, 1994, John Lennon was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Paul McCartney. He was the first member of the Beatles to be inducted on his own.


But on January 23, 1986, it was Julian Lennon and Sean Lennon who took part in the first annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. On behalf of their father, John Lennon, they helped induct Elvis Presley into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with Jack Soden, President and Executive Director of Graceland, and Memphis DJ and close Elvis friend, George Klein.

Julian Lennon, aged 22, appeared in all black, while 10-year-old Sean Lennon was dressed in a handsome white tuxedo. Julian, with Sean standing at his side, was the first speaker in the presentation of Elvis Presley’s award, followed by Jack Soden. The award was then accepted on Elvis’ behalf by his close friend, George Klein.

John Lennon’s admiration for The King of Rock and Roll is now common knowledge among music fans. Lennon said his love for rock and roll was inspired first and foremost by Presley. He credits his motivation to form his first band, which evolved into The Beatles, as a result of wanting to be just like Elvis. Even after the group took shape, their goal of being “bigger than Elvis” helped them achieve worldwide success.

That night at the induction ceremony, Julian Lennon started out with a brief introduction: “Our father was a big fan of Elvis’s and, of course, Elvis was loved all over the world, and we are all influenced [by] him,” Julian said. “I think a lot of people in the world get a lot of pleasure from listening to him and love him greatly.”

Then he read a direct quote from John Lennon, which spoke volumes: “Elvis was the thing, whatever people say, he was it. I was not competing against Elvis, rock happened to be the media I was born into – it was the one, that’s all. Those people who picked up paintbrushes, like Van Gogh, probably wanted to be Renoir or whomever went before him. I wanted to be Elvis.”

Then, Jack Soden read a brief statement from Lisa Marie Presley. He then introduced George Klein, who gave a dramatic and celebratory speech about his friend and best man at his wedding, Elvis Presley. Here is just a brief part of the speech:

“On January 8, 1935, a star was born. You see a star is not made, a star is born… The real honest to goodness rags to riches rise of the most inspiring version of the American Dream to ever happen. In doing so, Elvis fulfilled the hopes and dreams of an entire generation. The world was never to be the same again. You see Elvis Presley wasn’t a star, he was a damn galaxy!”

Other inductees that night at the induction ceremony in New York City included Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, James Brown, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and Sam Phillips. Notably, Elvis Presley holds the record for being inducted into the greatest number of Music Hall of Fames – 16 to be exact.

If you enjoyed this article, more fascinating stories about Elvis Presley and The Beatles can be found in the new book, ELVIS AND THE BEATLES: Love and Rivalry Between the Two Biggest Acts of the 20th Century


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Yoko Ono’s An Invisible Flower is first book offering from Sean Lennon’s Chimera Library

A new illustrated story by Yoko Ono called An Invisible Flower has been released. The story and drawings were created when Yoko was only 19 years old. By chance, son Sean Lennon discovered these drawings in his mother’s archives in her apartment. He explains in the introduction to the book that he thought this story would be “a good beginning for Chimera Library.”

Written in 1952, An Invisible Flower is a simple, yet powerful depiction of how imagination can save people during stressful times. Ono writes in the afterword that the story was inspired during her time as a child when she was evacuated to the Japanese countryside during World War II.

In the story, she is comforted by the fact that a flower that only she can see can also be seen by a mysterious friend named ‘Smelty John.’ Seems like this may have been a foreshadowing of Yoko meeting Sean’s Dad, John Lennon, 14 years later.

While the illustrations are quite childlike, the concept of imagination flows strongly through this piece, tying in with Yoko’s lifelong body of art which constantly asks people to “Imagine,” most famously inspiring John Lennon’s legendary song, now played every New Year’s Eve in Times Square before the ball drops.

Yoko Ono, now 79 years old, currently has an art exhibition, Yoko Ono: To The Light, on display in London at the Serpentine Gallery. She is encouraging everyone to contribute a picture of them smiling to her new project, #smilesfilm. You can upload your picture via Twitter or Instagram (

Chimera is a record label and publishing company founded by Sean Lennon. For more information, visit

–Trina Yannicos

You can enter to win a copy of An Invisible Flower in our Summer 2012 Beatles Giveaway through August 31.

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Yoko Ono to appear at music seminar in Cannes

Grey New York announced on May 21 that its fourth annual Music Seminar with Living Legends will feature Yoko Ono on Friday, June 25, at the Debussy. The 2010 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival event follows three years of high popularity for the Grey music seminar with legends Stevie Van Zandt in 2009, Tony Bennett in 2008, and John Legend and Donavan in 2007.

As stated in a press release, at Grey’s annual seminar on music, Yoko Ono will discuss today’s music scene and the impact on brands and bands, her own adventurous music and performance art created over a high-profile lifetime,  and her extraordinary life with John Lennon and raising her musician son Sean Lennon.

“Her marriage to and influence on John Lennon is legendary. The famous ‘bed in’ in Amsterdam, and the interview from inside a bag were direct extensions of Yoko’s early art happenings in the Fluxus group,” said Tim Mellors, Worldwide Creative Director of Grey Group. “Her deep knowledge of the alternative music scene and people like John Cage, the founder of Fluxus, are seldom given the credit due for their influence on Lennon’s solo career.”

Yoko Ono, who was raised in Tokyo and attended Sarah Lawrence College from 1953-57,  is a multi-media artist who constantly challenges the traditional boundaries of art, known for her groundbreaking conceptual art, instructional arts, performance arts experimental films and music.

From 1960 to 1961, Yoko Ono, now 77 years old, presented avant-garde events and concert series in her loft in Chambers Street in New York City with La Monte Young. In 1961, she met George Maciunas and became a seminal member of Fluxus. In 1962, Yoko returned to Japan to present her one-woman exhibition at the Sogetsu Art Center, in Tokyo. That same year, performed a concert tour with Toshi Ichiyanagi, David Tudor and John Cage.

In 1964 she published her book, “Grapefruit: a Book of Instructions,” in Tokyo. That same year, she presented her now legendary performance art, “Cut Piece,” for the first time in Kyoto and then Tokyo. In 1964 Yoko returned to NYC and in 1965 performed “Cut PIece” at the Carnegie Recital Hall.

1966 was a turning point for Yoko when she moved to London and had a one-woman show in Indica Gallery. 1967 was a full year with a one-woman show at Lisson Gallery, filming the controversial Bottoms Film (Film No. 4) and a performance in Knokke Film Festival in Belgium.

In 1968, Yoko performed her music works in Paris and in Albert Hall in London with Ornette Coleman. In 1969, she married John Lennon and formed The Plastic Ono Band.

Reflecting on her reputation for being outrageous, Yoko responds: “I do have to rely on my own judgment, although to some people my judgment seems a little out of sync. I have my own rhythm and my own timing, and that’s simply how it is.”

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Sean Lennon and girlfriend recreate John and Yoko Rolling Stone nude cover photo

johnyokoRScoverFor Purple fashion magazine, Sean Lennon and his girlfriend, model Kemp Muhl recreated the legendary Rolling Stone cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono taken by Annie Liebowitz. 

The photo shows a nude Lennon clutching a fully-clothed Ono in a subtle gender role reversal with the sensitive Lennon appearing vulnerable and submissive to a serious and strong Ono. In the recreated photo, Sean Lennon takes on the role of his mother being fully clothed and clutched by his nude girlfriend.

The original photo was taken the day John Lennon died on December 8, 1980 in a photo shoot for Rolling Stone. The photo was published on the cover of Rolling Stone as a memorial to Lennon in January 1981.

You can see the photo of Sean Lennon here on the Huffington Post