February has been a busy month for Yoko Ono. 35 years after her husband’s violent death on a cold New York night in December 1980, John Lennon’s favorite muse proves that she is still a creative force to be reckoned with.
According to ITV News, Yoko Ono received a New Musical Express Lifetime Inspiration Award for creative achievement and promotion of peace on February 17. On February 18, the clever creatrix celebrated her 83rd birthday. The day after that, Yoko Ono released a new collaborative remix album.
Tom Bradby of ITV News caught up with John Lennon’s still-stylish muse one day after the NME event at the O2 Academy in London. Yoko admitted that although 35 years have passed since her husband’s death, she misses him every day. She talked about life with the former Beatle.
“Every day was different. See, most people think that, well, he was a rocker, just a kind of rock baby. No. At home, he was a very gentle person. Extremely, extremely concerned about me, and so concerned about the world, too.”
Born in Tokyo in 1933, Yoko Ono’s career has already spanned three generations. Nonetheless, the still-stylish octogenarian who inspired such songs as “Woman,” “Oh Yoko!,” “Feels Just Like Starting Over,” and “Watching the Wheels” evinces more energy than many people half her age.
In a backstage interview at last Wednesday’s Inspiration Awards event, Yoko told New Musical Express about her non-secret to remaining vital and creative in her 80s.
“I don’t know if there’s a secret, but it seems like when you accumulate age, you start to become more loose, and so you can do anything you want. When you’re young, you block yourself, but the block is going away, away, away. It’s great. That’s my experience – it might be that some people get total block, but I think that age does wonders to unblock you. It’s really great.”
When asked about her decades-long friendship with recently deceased David Bowie, she replied, “I liked his music, and I think he really did like my music, which is very rare, so I remember it!”
If early reviews are any indication, Yoko’s brand new album, Yes, I’m a Witch, Too is well worth a listen. The Guardian rates it four out of five stars and says the February 19 release “paints a pleasingly knowing portrait of the 83-year-old giving her final say and raving it up.”
Rolling Stone’s review of Yes, I’m a Witch, Too offers similar sentiments, calling Ono’s avant-garde spirit a “beacon.”
If you think the title of Yoko’s new remix album seems familiar, you’re right. Yes, I’m a Witch, Too was released as a sequel to her 2007 remix album, Yes, I’m a Witch, and, like its predecessor, the new album is a mostly pleasing, sometimes perplexing melange of musicians and musical styles that, to the casual listener, seem have very little to do with one another. Still, somehow, Mrs. Lennon manages to pull the whole thing off with panache.
Prior to her husband’s tragic demise 35 years ago, John Lennon and Yoko Ono participated in a number of exceptional collaborations. According to Ono’s biography at Rolling Stone, the first Lennon/Ono album, the oddly experimental Two Virgins, was recorded shortly after the couple met in 1968. The couple’s final collaborative project during John’s lifetime was Double Fantasy, released just weeks before Lennon’s murder. The album won Grammy of the Year in 1981.
Nearly 35 years ago, in March 1981, Geffen Records released Season of Glass. The album, which featured an image of the slain Beatle’s bloody spectacles, was the first of Yoko Ono’s solo recordings to be well received outside Ono’s typically unconventional following, according to Rolling Stone magazine.
[Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]