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Old Jul 08, 2004, 01:09 PM   #1
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Default Yoko Ono Makes Old Song Gay Friendly

Jul 8, 3:02 PM EDT

Yoko Ono Makes Old Song Gay Friendly

AP Television Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Yoko Ono has joined the chorus in support of gay marriage by recording "Every Man Has a Man Who Loves Him," a gay-friendly version of a song she wrote nearly a quarter-century ago.

The song "Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him," included on her last album with John Lennon before he was killed in 1980, was also retooled into another version: "Every Woman Has a Woman Who Loves Her."

It's both a political statement and a tribute to an audience that has improbably made her a hit act in the dance clubs at age 71.

"I should think that people would be more interested in politics and all that is happening, rather than two lovebirds who are looking to wed," she said. "I think it's very nice that in an age when love is so scarce that people are willing to gamble on getting married."

Ono recently performed "Every Man Has a Man Who Loves Him" at a gay pride rally in New York and the song is moving up Billboard magazine's dance club charts.

One of her gay friends told her that his mother had invoked the title of Ono's old song - "Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him" - in an attempt to steer him toward heterosexuality, she said.

Ono, whose avant-garde music was often ridiculed by fans of Lennon and the Beatles, said that's given her a connection to the gay and lesbian community.

"I'm an outsider in many ways," she said in an interview at her home in Manhattan's Dakota building, "and I think that's what they tune into."

A spokesman for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in New York said any gesture of support from a public figure is appreciated.

"If it were Britney Spears doing this would it have a larger connection? Sure," said Ector Simpson, the gay center's director of cultural programs. "Does it have some value? Yes."

Ono had some minor hits on the club scene in the early 1980s with "Walking on Thin Ice" and "Kiss Kiss Kiss." But in recent years she has successfully opened her back catalogue to the dance scene's hottest producers and remixers.

"Hell in Paradise," a remix of a song she originally recorded in 1986, is No. 5 on this week's dance music chart in Billboard magazine.

Asked if this success gives her some feeling of vindication, Ono replies - only half-jokingly - that "I thought I would get it 30 years ago."

"When you make a song, you don't think it's going to be a dud," she said. "You don't think it's going to be thrown in a trash can, which my records literally were initially."

Lennon's widow doesn't release her music now under the name Yoko Ono. Rather, the act is simply billed "ONO."

"I thought that there would be people who would warm up to `ONO' - not that old image of Ono and Lennon," she said. "It's great. It's almost like I'm reborn."

2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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