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Yoko Ono: The Six-Pack Q&A

September 6, 2007 6:32 PM ET

Rolling Stone asked artist/musician/legend Yoko Ono six questions. She gushed about John and Sean Lennon, announced she has no intentions to retire and told us the real reason the former Beatle's solo catalog made it to iTunes.

What's the most rock star thing about you?
The fact that I am still young and active -- which is what rock stars are supposed to be.

Who's the coolest person you've ever met?
The coolest person, well of course I think of John. Predictable -- you don't want an answer like that, do you? But I think it is John. When he first came into the gallery, that was the first time I met him. He was very cool and elegant, everything you want from a guy.

What's on your current playlist?
I'm very sorry to say this because you'll think that I'm bragging, but [Sean Lennon's] Friendly Fire is an incredible album. The song that's called "Tomorrow," oh God it makes me cry each time I hear it. I'm a very proud person as a mother and I would not say something like that unless it's real, but he is really amazing. And it drives me to tears which is amazing. I'm not telling him too much about it. I don't see him so much -- he's on tour.

What was your favorite album when you were fourteen?
I think I was still struggling with where to stay and what to eat [at that age]. Favorite bands ... well you know, in those days I was into classical music, Chopin.

When will you know it's time to retire?
The word retirement is not in my dictionary.

What was your part in getting the John Lennon solo catalog onto iTunes?
I'm the whole part actually. Isn't it great? Everybody's getting to feel good about it. John always liked doing something new.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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