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Yoko Ono is not known for making pop music. Despite this, she had a lot to say about top 40 songs. The avant-gardist revealed why nobody should be concerned with intellectualism when it comes to music. Her comments were odd, considering that she was the wife, muse, and longtime collaborator of the one and only John Lennon.

Yoko Ono said pop music is a great form of communication

Yoko has had a huge impact on mainstream music. The book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono features an interview from 1980. In it, John said Yoko inspired Beatles songs like “Don’t Let Me Down,” “Get Back,” and “Happiness Is a Warm Gun.” In addition, she worked on several of her husband’s most famous solo tracks, such as “Imagine,” “Power to the People,” “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” “(Just Like) Starting Over,” and “Working Class Hero.”

In All We Are Saying, Yoko discussed her feelings about pop. “Pop songs are a very strong form of communication,” she opined. “Most people think you write a pop song because it is a very commercial form and you can make more money for it. That’s not it at all.

“Pop music is the people’s form, you see,” she added. “Intellectuals trying to communicate with the people usually fail. It’s like trying to communicate in archaic German or French in Japan. If you go to Japan, talk Japanese.”

Pop music is smarter than critics think

Pop music is often seen as lacking intelligence. Yoko didn’t care about that. “Forget all the intellectual garbage, all the ritual of that, and get down to the real feeling — simple, good human feeling — and express it in a sort of simple language that reaches people,” she said. “If I want to communicate with people, I should use their language. Pop songs are that language. They’re a very strong form of communication.”

On one level, Yoko is right. No type of music connects with the masses as much as top 40 tunes. On another level, she’s wrong. Pop music can be intellectual. Considering who she was married to, that should have been obvious to her. The Beatles are widely considered one of the most sophisticated pop music groups ever, and John carried that sophistication into his solo career.


John Lennon Said The Beatles’ ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ Was About His Desire for Someone Like Yoko Ono

How Yoko Ono’s biggest song performed

While Yoko was a fan of pop music, very little of her solo work made the pop charts. Her most famous solo tune is the new wave/disco track “Walking on Thin Ice.” It peaked at No. 58 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it far from a pop hit. It lasted on the chart for 10 weeks. It might have received more attention than Yoko’s other singles because it came out in the wake of John’s tragic death. Either way, it’s still one of the best dance songs of the 1980s.

“Walking on Thin Ice” appeared on the albums Walking on Thin Ice and Disco Not Disco. The latter appearance is perfect, as “Walking on Thin Ice” is both disco and not disco. Neither album reached the Billboard 200.

Yoko was never a pop star but she had a lot to say about that style of music.