Valid John and Yoko Ono

Valid John and Yoko Ono. Rock Legends widow remembers Lennon on his 70 years old birthday.

ANDERSON COOPER, AC 360°:Tonight, a 360 exclusive we're really excited to bring you-Yoko Ono. She doesn't give many interviews, but she recently agreed to sit down with me to talk about her life with John Lennon. As you probably know, Lennon would have turned 70 years old this month. Ono has been remastering his music, and she celebrated the anniversary of his birthday in Iceland, where she performed with the Plastic Ono Band, which is still making music after all these years. It is hard to believe that Yoko Ono is 77 now. She looks amazing. In December, it's gonna be 30 years since Lennon was murdered, shot dead outside the Dakota apartment building here in New York where he and Ono lived. As news of his death broke, a crowd gathered outside the Dakota. Mourners stayed throughout the night. Ono vividly remembers hearing them singing the night she was widowed. She still lives at the Dakota today, and just across the street in Central Park is Strawberry Fields, the memorial dedicated to Lennon five years after his murder on what would have been his 45th birthday. Thirty years. That terrible day is still vivid for Ono. We talked about what she remembers and how she managed to move on. There's a lot I want to ask you about, both your work now, what's coming up, and also just, given that this is the anniversary for John's birthday, how did you first meet? How did you first meet John?

YOKO ONO, ARTIST AND WIDOW OF JOHN LENNON:Oh, OK. Well, I was doing a show, my own art show in Indica Gallery in Mason('s) Yard in London. And john just came in, just walked in with the owner of the gallery. And I was a bit upset about it, because, you know I told the owner that nobody should get in before the opening. And it was just before the opening. I said, "What is he doing?"

ANDERSON COOPER, AC 360°:You didn't know he was a Beatle?

YOKO ONO, ARTIST AND WIDOW OF JOHN LENNON:Of course not. Of course not. I don't know how to put it, but I thought he was (a) very elegant, very beautiful guy. I saw his face and I thought, well, he's rather, you know elegant. But I, you know, and I thought, well, I could think of having an affair with somebody like that, but I didn't want to because I'm too busy, that's what I said, because I was really busy at the time. So, you know, forget it.

ANDERSON COOPER, AC 360°:So what... when was there that connection? When was there the moment of, "Oh, OK, I recognize you?"

YOKO ONO, ARTIST AND WIDOW OF JOHN LENNON:Well, I started to feel that he did sort of have a special feeling for me, probably in 1967 when he visited my apartment. And the way he visited was kind of nice. You know, he just suddenly appeared.

ANDERSON COOPER, AC 360°:Why do you think there was such prejudice? Why did so many... you know, I guess some of it stems from people saying that you broke up the Beatles, but I mean, the Beatles were on their way to breaking up before you were...

YOKO ONO, ARTIST AND WIDOW OF JOHN LENNON:They didn't think about that. I think that I was used as a scapegoat, and it's a very easy scapegoat. And Japanese woman and, you know, whatever.

ANDERSON COOPER, AC 360°:You think there... some of it was sexism, racism?

YOKO ONO, ARTIST AND WIDOW OF JOHN LENNON:Sexism, racism, but also just remember that the United States and Britain were fighting with Japan in World War Ⅱ. It was just after that in a way. So I can understand how they thought.

ANDERSON COOPER, AC 360°:Did it hurt?

YOKO ONO, ARTIST AND WIDOW OF JOHN LENNON:Well, it did in a way. But you know, it was sort of like a distant thing in a way, because john and I were so close. And we were just totally involved in each other and in our work. You know, I just kept on being... getting ideas, and he was, too. So that was much more exciting.

ANDERSON COOPER, AC 360°:What do you think he would have been like at 70?

YOKO ONO, ARTIST AND WIDOW OF JOHN LENNON:John was an incredibly spiritual and intelligent guy, but aside of (from) that, he was a very attractive guy, and you know, he would not have changed. I'm sure of that, because, you know he had this kind of like cheekbone and the bone structure that would not (have) failed in years. And, of course, he would not be retiring. I mean, he would never have... well, he did think about retiring. He said, "In the end we should be in Cornwall, you know, in rocking chairs and waiting for Sean's postcard or something." Well, that didn't happen. And I'm sure that, if he got to be 70, then he would have forgotten all of that. No, we have to do something now. And I'm sure this is when he would have been totally activist.

ANDERSON COOPER, AC 360°:Why did you decide to stay at the Dakota?

YOKO ONO, ARTIST AND WIDOW OF JOHN LENNON:Well, because it is our home. You know, you don't just leave home. And also for Sean, that was the only home that he knows with... having time with his father. You know? Everything in the house really reminded us of him. Every room is where he touched. How're you gonna leave that?

ANDERSON COOPER, AC 360°:I would find it hard. I mean, after my brother died, we moved from the building, because I... I don't know, my mom and I both found it just really hard. But for you it gives you strength.

YOKO ONO, ARTIST AND WIDOW OF JOHN LENNON:For me it gives's the reminder of love that we had, too. You know? It gives me power.

ANDERSON COOPER, AC 360°:Do you still come here to Strawberry Fields often?

YOKO ONO, ARTIST AND WIDOW OF JOHN LENNON:Well, you know, when I take a walk -I walk a lot because it's very good for your health and everything. So when I take a walk in the morning, I... of course I pass here, just checking, you know. Everything's all right, you know, that kind of thing, yeah.

ANDERSON COOPER, AC 360°:What's your feeling when you come here?

YOKO ONO, ARTIST AND WIDOW OF JOHN LENNON:Well, I feel good that I made this tribute to John. I mean, this is a tribute to John, and I realize that it was very important to do it.

ANDERSON COOPER, AC 360°:I mean, we all remember the day, the night he died, and people coming spontaneously and thousands of people outside singing. Did you hear those songs?

YOKO ONO, ARTIST AND WIDOW OF JOHN LENNON:Of course. Because I was... my bedroom was right in front of it. I'm right next to it. And so all night I'm listening to them singing or sometimes they'd play the radio, John singing. And when John was singing, it just made me feel strange because I mean he's supposed to be in bed with me, and then, you know. It wasn't very easy.

ANDERSON COOPER, AC 360°:Was it helpful? Did it make it harder?


ANDERSON COOPER, AC 360°:And now, I mean, on this 70th birthday, what do you want people to celebrate? What do you want people to do tonight?

YOKO ONO, ARTIST AND WIDOW OF JOHN LENNON:His spirit, and the fact that there's so much that he gave to us and to sort of thank him. And I know that people love him for what he has given them, you see, because he did give a lot.

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