The legendary Yoko Ono stopped by Billboard's New York offices on Dec. 15, to receive a plaque commemorating her fifth consecutive No. 1 song on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart. Ono looked decades younger than her 77 years, and displayed a sly sense of humor during her visit.
"Is that normal?" she asked of her five no. 1s, and seemed tickled to learn it was not, in fact, very common. After having some fun with the notion of a posed photograph, Ono eventually settled in for a more traditional picture and a short conversation about events of recent months.
She's proud of her music, and for my money, more people have an opinion of it than have actually heard it. Her fifth consecutive number one, for example, "Wouldnit" is a wry bit of writing set to a very danceable new wave beat. "Music is a part of me" she said, describing her process of scribbling ideas on scraps of papers, and eventually gathering them together to take to the studio.
Ono says she had wanted to see the Beatles music on iTunes for a long time, and was pleased to see that it had finally happened. She was excited at the potential of Twitter, where she has more than a million followers.
"Communication is life," she said. And she was reflective about what would have been the 70th birthday of John Lennon, on October 9, as well as the 30th anniversary of his death on Dec. 8. In particular, she seemed pleased that an opinion piece she wrote for the New York Times, recalling her last year with John for the anniversary of his death seemed to connect with readers. "Things become special on their own," she said. "It's just a little thing that I wrote and I didn't think anything of it. I guess that's the one that communicated the most."
After a few minutes of speaking, Yoko tended towards quixotic one-word answers (example: "What is occupying your mind these days?" Answer: "Breathing.") so I wrapped the interview, feeling like maybe I should have quit while I was ahead. I couldn't help but listen in when her assistant and publicist came into the room and asked her how things had gone.
"He was a good kisser," said Yoko, and swept out of the room.