Sunday, June 10, 2007

John's love for son cost him his life, says Yoko

John Lennon's determination to see his young son rather than go for an evening meal may have cost him his life, his widow reveals today.

Describing the moments before Lennon was shot and killed by Mark Chapman, a deranged fan, in New York on December 8, 1980, Yoko Ono says: "We were returning from the studio, and I said, 'Should we go and have dinner before we go home?' and John was saying, 'No, let's go home because I want to see Sean before he goes to sleep'.

"It was like he wasn't sure if we would get home before [Sean] went to sleep and he was concerned about that. That was the last thing he said, that he wanted to see Sean."

Ono, 74, who says that the former Beatle uttered no dying words, also says she was not able to tell her son what happened outside the Dakota building on that fateful night.

The Japanese artist also reveals that, having fallen pregnant with Sean shortly after she and Lennon were reunited in 1975 following a two year split, she allowed him to decide whether to abort their unborn son or not.

"It sounds very strange that I should let John decide whether I should keep it or not. We had just got back together and I became pregnant very soon, and I didn't know if it was the right moment to have a child because maybe he didn't want it.

"I just didn't want to burden him with something he didn't want... He said of course we are going to keep it and he was very upset with my remark."

Like other wives of the Beatles, Ono was vilified by the public following her marriage to Lennon in March 1969 and later held responsible for the band's decision to break up. She blames a combination of racism and the affection the public had for Lennon.

"The racism was always there, it was just something about John being their treasure and I stole that from them," she tells today's edition of Desert Island Discs on Radio 4.

"It was hurtful in a way, but I had John beside me which did help. It seemed almost as if those things were happening at a distance so those things out there didn't hurt that much."

On honeymoon, Ono and Lennon decided to stage a protest about the war in Vietnam. Their bed-in for peace pose became one of the images of the Sixties. "We thought we were doing a good thing. We were very narcissistic about it. "

Ono also says her primary mission is to protect her husband's memory but admits that she does not want Sean or Kyoko Chan Cox, her daughter by second husband Anthony Cox, the jazz musician, to be burdened with that responsibility after she dies.

"After John's passing it was my pleasure actually to keep on protecting his work and I cherish the fact that I feel that I did my best," she says.

"But at the same time, most of my time was spent on that and I feel that Sean should not be bothered with it. It is too much of a burden for him and it's such a heavy past that he is already burdened with."

"I just want to say to my two children not to defend me. I don't want them to waste their time defending me, don't even think about the past or your mother because your mother had a great life and you should know that." Ono's choice of desert island discs include Lennon's Beautiful Boy, about Sean; Liverpool Lou, recorded by Scaffold, which Lennon would sing to his son each night, and Magic, one of Sean's own compositions.

After Beautiful Boy is played, Ono tells presenter Kirsty Young: "When I was listening to Beautiful Boy [just then], I felt that John just jumped out of the corner and said, 'That was a good idea to select Beautiful Boy'. He is always there jumping out and saying things."

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