Happy Birthday John and Sean!

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9 October 1978 – John and Sean celebrate a double birthday

Photo by NIshi F. Saimaru  © Yoko Ono

9 October 1978 – John and Sean celebrate a double birthday

Today marks John Lennon and his son Sean Taro Ono Lennon’s joint birthday. John would have been 78 today and Sean is celebrating turning 43. Sean was born on 9 October 1975, on John’s 35th birthday. Around that time John and Yoko decided that raising Sean, and having a more traditional family life, was the most important thing for them so John decided to cut back on work and dedicate himself to Sean’s early years. During this time John and Sean developed a very close bond.    

“I’ve been baking bread and looking after the baby. Bread and babies, as every housewife knows, is a full-time job.” John, commenting on his domestic life, Playboy, 1980

1976 – John and Sean at home in New York

© Bob Gruen/www.bobgruen.com
1976 – John and Sean at home in New York

John was thrilled to share his birthday with Sean, particularly because nine was a meaningful number for him as a believer in numerology. The number nine, or numbers which add up to nine, appeared at many significant times throughout his life. For instance: the first home he lived in was at 9 Newcastle Road, Paul McCartney has nine letters in his second name and John and Yoko’s first apartment in the Dakota Building was at number 72 on 1 West 72nd Street.

“I don’t know if it’s because he was born on the same day as me – which, that in itself was quite strange – he was born on October the 9th – which I was – so we’re almost like twins.” - John, talking about Sean and the number 9, RKO Radio Network, 1980

The pair spent a lot of time together at home and aboard. In 1980 John sailed to Bermuda for a holiday with Sean. During their visit John asked local artist Nancy Gosnell to paint a portrait of the two of them as a present for Yoko. You can view this touching portrait (as well as other personal objects drawn from Yoko’s own private collection) in Double Fantasy - a ground-breaking exhibition telling John Lennon and Yoko Ono's story in their own words.  Double Fantasy is on at the Museum of Liverpool until 22 April 2019. The exhibition features several objects connected to John and Sean such as Sean’s ‘Snugli’ baby carrier which was worn by John to carry Sean when he was a baby and original Lyrics for Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) (John Lennon 1980), a love song that he wrote for 5-year old Sean. Its lyric is often quoted: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

John and Sean sailing near the island of Bermuda.

Lenono Photo Archive ©Yoko Ono

1980 -  John and Sean sailing near the island of Bermuda.

To celebrate John's birthday, on the 9 October 2018, the Museum of Liverpool is hosting a free showing of the restored, remixed and remastered films Imagine and Gimme Some Truth.