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Old May 13, 2003, 10:52 AM   #1
Rocky Raccoon
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Default Yoko remix tops US chart

Yoko remix tops US chart

Tuesday, 13 May, 2003

Ono allowed the Pet Shop Boys to work on the track
A remix of a Yoko Ono song on which John Lennon was working before
his death has become a dance number one in the US.

The dance mix of Walking On Thin Ice, the song Ono and Lennon
recorded in 1980, has debuted at number one on the Billboard dance
chart this week.

Lennon wrote and plays guitar on the track.

"John said to me back then, 'You know this is going to be your first
Number One,"' Ono, now 70, told the New York Daily News. "He just
didn't say when."

The song had originally been released after the last Ono/Lennon album
Double Fantasy in 1980, and proved a hit in underground clubs months
after Lennon's death.

But Ono said she was initially unaware of its popularity.

"When John passed away I was mostly in bed, feeling almost dizzy.
Some people had mentioned to me that some clubs were playing that
song. But at the time I didn't know what was going on."

She had refused previous offers to remix the song because the idea of
working on the track was "too painful".

"It brought back such memories. I just didn't want to touch it," she

But she relented and allowed a range of producers - including Danny
Tenaglia, Rui da Silva, Felix da Housecat and the Pet Shop Boys - to
work on the track.

Lennon was holding the master tapes of the track when he was gunned
down by Mark Chapman in 1980.
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Old May 13, 2003, 02:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: Yoko remix tops US chart

It didn't debut at the top- it went from 7 - 2- 1, which is really good. Actually, I did not know this until I looked into it, but the original went to #37 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart when it was first released - giving Ono her only so far Top 40 Pop hit-

i don't think we've heard the last from Ono. With this Number one, I think she will continue in this vein for awhile- in an article I read about her- it was refreshing to learn that the ones who were buying her "Open Your Box" and sending it to number one were 16 and 17 year olds who did not connect her with the Beatles. Grand praise, indeed.
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Old May 13, 2003, 03:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: Yoko remix tops US chart

Further on this topic was an interview Yoko did with Jim Farber for the DAILY NEWS that was published today at :

At 70, No. Ono
on the dance floor

Talk about being ahead of your time.

A song recorded 23 years ago by Yoko Ono has just become the No. 1 song on the Billboard chart that measures dance-club play. It's No. 9 on the list that tallies dance music sales.

Yes, that Yoko Ono.

The undulating cut "Walking on Thin Ice" was originally released just after the final John Lennon-Yoko Ono album, 1980's "Double Fantasy," and enjoyed play in underground clubs at the time.

But in its latest incarnation on a remix CD that allows 10 of the world's most influential deejays to have their way with the song "Ice" has come to dominate the dance world.

This, from a woman who just turned 70.

"I have to be the first 70-year-old to go No. 1," Ono says with a laugh. "I should call the Guinness Book of World Records."

She may also be the most famously reviled person to pull off such a turnaround. In fact, in several musical subcultures, Yoko has been a touchstone for years. Rock bands including Sonic Youth and the B-52s have made their admiration for her experimental recordings widely known.

But who knew the heroes of today's deejay culture felt the same way?

Ono surely didn't.

The singer says she was surprised several years ago when representatives of an important club-oriented label, Twisted Records, asked if they could remix her old song "Open Your Box."

"I thought, why would they want that one?" Ono says. "It's old and it had been censored. But I said okay and forgot about it. When it heard it, it was so good, I was crying."

So Ono gave the company the go-ahead to revive other old tracks, like "Kiss Kiss Kiss" and "Yang Yang."

But the cut that scores of deejays really wanted a crack at was her catchy and odd electro-tinged cut "Walking on Thin Ice." Ono was reluctant since it was recorded just before Lennon's murder outside their apartment in the Dakota.

"It brought up memories," she says. "I just didn't want to touch it."

The singer claims she wasn't aware the song had earned play in clubs when it was first released.

"When John passed away I was mostly in bed, feeling almost dizzy," she explains. "Some people had mentioned to me that some clubs were playing that song. But at the time I didn't know what was going on."

The song never made the charts back then.

Ono says she and John always had an interest in dance music. "We were thinking about trying to create some dance movement," she says. "A song that's made of music and lyrics is a powerful thing. But when you put body movement on top of it, it's even more powerful."

Ono's reluctance to bring back "Ice" thawed after the Pet Shop Boys came to the project. It was the only track on which they wanted to work.

According to Billboard's dancemusic editor Michael Paoletta, "Deejays consider this song a treasure. They'd remix it for free."

Ono says this was news to her, as was the whole world of clubs. "It's a world that starts at 2 in the morning!" she says.

Though club aficionados have celebrated the remixes, Ono says some people have bashed her because deejays created the remixes without her input.

"I usually work on everything, down to every beat," Ono explains. "This was a healthy thing for me, to finally let it out of my hands."

The reason Ono's remix has done so well, Paoletta says, is because Twisted Records employed such a broad range of deejays from Felix Da Housecat's hard-edged version to Peter Rauhofer's mellow "chill" mix to the Pet Shop Boys' synth-pop take.

"Many times, remixers emulate the same sound. But this set has real diversity. So it's being played in gay clubs, alternative clubs, pop clubs, electroclash clubs the whole spectrum," he says.

Ono marvels that it's being played at all. Yet she says one person saw it coming.

"John said to me back then, 'You know this is going to be your first No. 1,'" she says. "He just didn't say when."

Originally published on May 12, 2003
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Old May 13, 2003, 03:43 PM   #4
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This explains what I am confused about. The number 9 on the dance music SALES is what was number 1 last week and went from 7-2-1. It debuted number 1 on dance PLAY. Wow- so happy for her.

I knew Yoko was talented when after john's death, I pickedup a video form of IMAGINE- it had two cuts of Yoko on it- one was called "Mrs. Lennon." And you know what, it was good! It had a beautiful haunting melody. I also bought "Open Your Box" but it's a bit too rave for me, but "Yang Yang" is awesome, much more popish and accessible and it has some great rhymes on it- it goes:
Yang Yang
talking to himself on the phone
I own you
I own you
so give us a song
then it goes:
I hate you
I hate you
where did it go wrong?

I was like, "Oh, if she talking about John saying she owns him and demanding to give us a song?" I thought it was so ballsy, so in-your-face, I loved it! I knew she knew people said she controlled John and for her to sing "I own you!" it's just great rebellious sort of anger, which the punk movement embodied at that time. Very good.
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Old May 13, 2003, 05:09 PM   #5
Apple Scruff
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Default Re: Yoko remix tops US chart

I agree Walrus. Yoko's always had a very distinctive edge to her music, and her art.

My favorite thing Yoko ever made was Season of Glass. I think its a flat-out beautiful record, from beginning to end, and most people wouldn't believe it. I'm not very hip on everything Yoko, but this particular album I got because I had read so many positive reviews. It was just like one of those daring little decisions you make, and I'm quite glad I got it.

According to Yoko, SOG came to her as a way to release her emotions following her husband's murder. So songs like I Don't Know Why and No No No were very cathartic for her. My favorite song, though, is Silver Horse. Absolutely stunning...

Silver Horse
(Yoko Ono)

When I come in my dream to a house
I've never seen before
I have a tendency to look for the exit door
'Cause I never know it may be that house again
I never know I never know

When I come in my mind to a stream that's running gently
I have a tendency to run like a frightened deer
'Cause I never know it may take me to that ocean again
You never know you never know

I usually stay away from being carried away
But one day I saw a silver horse
I thought he might take me to that somewhere high
I thought he might take me to that deep blue sky

I came to realize that the horse had no wings
(No wings! Well it wasn't so bad, you know)
I learned to travel the world around
And run on the ground in the springtime
And that's the story of a wandering soul
A story of a dreamer

~~~~~~And JOHN really, really loved Silver Horse too. He was crazy about the song, accorsing to Yoko. He'd listen to it with such tranquility. Good for Yoko! I'm glad she has her number one, and her husband had to be a damn psychic. [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

[size="1"][ May 13, 2003, 06:11 PM: Message Edited By: Apple Scruff ][/size]
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Old May 13, 2003, 05:17 PM   #6
Apple Scruff
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Default Re: Yoko remix tops US chart

I'd also like to say something else about Walking on Thin Ice, which is an outstanding piece of work. John had a LOT to do with that track- and this is something I read directly from the Double Fantasy crew. It was Yoko's song, yes, but John put a great deal of work into the arrangement, production, and wrote his guitar parts into it. He was very, very involved with the development of Yoko's masterpiece, and I kind of feel this is a joint victory for Yoko AND John.

Not like John needs anymore, mind you, but John and Yoko were JohnandYoko and this is kind of-to me- a symbolism of how strong their union was. You know, Yoko finally gets her dues and, as she says, "John's smiling" about all of it. I like to think of it in that way. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

[size="1"][ May 14, 2003, 12:21 PM: Message Edited By: Apple Scruff ][/size]
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Old May 14, 2003, 10:36 AM   #7
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Default Re: Yoko remix tops US chart

are there any early versions of "Walking On Thin Ice" that are available on bootleg or on the john lennon anthology? it would be awesome to hear the original recording w/o the dull disco beat added to it. to me, john was all about rock'n'roll. i cannot imagine his music having a disco beat incorporated into it.
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Old May 14, 2003, 01:28 PM   #8
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I don't really know if this is Yoko's "Masterpiece." I think some of that is hype. There's not much melody - it really has no chorus at all- and actually the words are the most powerful part of the song, which are nice- the new version is very "Pet Shop Boys" heavy background- it's great, but I don't think it will be remembered as the definitive "Yoko" track.
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Old May 14, 2003, 02:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: Yoko remix tops US chart

"Walking On Thin Ice" is a more commercial-friendly Yoko song. NOT her masterpiece for me, but hell, everyone's got a different take.

Regarding any early version of WOTI, I would assume they would be in the Lenono vaults and who knows if they'll ever see the light of day...I'd love that, though.

As a Yoko fan, the sudden resurgence feels good. It really was never that necessary for the public to embrace Yoko. Maybe that's what she always dreamed of, and certainly she gets off on it. But really, Yoko thrives, and thrived for a long time, on the distance that most people gave her work. It was a non-conventionalism she bred that gave people the opportunity to "enter at their own risk."

A few years ago when I was living in New York with my then-boyfriend, now fiance and my best girlfriend I was absolutely obsessed with Approximately Infinite Universe. The energy and emotions exerted throughout that album were just what I needed at that time, when I was very uncomfortable with my life. I was going to art school there and I always felt like I was some sort of outsider, although I had many friends.

Even when I was younger, I always felt so repressed, so angry, always felt like I needed to rebel- from rules, my parents, whatever. I'd do things just to piss my dad off, because he was the most suffocating, overbearing parent imaginable. I couldn't stand him. My mother is quite a bit younger than him, he had me at an older age, and he felt like he had to be this really over-protective dad. He had his heart in the right place, but I felt miserable- so utterly confined!

And so I always loved Yoko's music because it was a huge escape for me. I had such a strong connection with that screaming, the shrills, the flat-out strangeness she protruded. Everything she did just blew me away.

Therefore, I've always been a much bigger John and Yoko fan than a Beatle fan. They always came off as people who cared, to me, whether or not anyone wanted to hear or even if anyone else gave a sh*t as much as they did. Back then, they were laughed at a lot, and even now in retrospect many think they were too naive or silly with their ideas, but they were so serious about them at the same time- and that has inspired me. I realized the potential of the human voice to make a difference, and just how big of an impact that difference can be.

So that's what John and Yoko have done for me.

Incidently, my top 5 Yoko albums are:
1.Approximately Infinite Universe
2.Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band
4.Season of Glass

But I listen to the Ono Box more than any of them, since it has everything I love about her in one huge unit. Subconsciously, I know what I've just written will come off as a bunch of twaddle to many, but I only want to reinforce in this Yoko thread just what she's done for me- and it had nothing to do with me liking her merely because John loved her.

[size="1"][ May 14, 2003, 09:09 PM: Message Edited By: Fly ][/size]
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Old May 15, 2003, 07:56 AM   #10
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Default Re: Yoko remix tops US chart

Yoko Ono Hits #1, But Probably Not How Lennon Imagined It

John Lennon predicted that "Walking on Thin Ice" would be Yoko Ono's first #1 record.

What the late Beatle could not have known was that it would take his wife more than 20 years to reach the top and that when she did, it would be the dance chart that she conquered.

"I think that [the song] was originally played in a lot of discos because people were shocked and frightened by John's sudden death and they were trying to ritualize their fear and make it less frightening," Lennon's 70-year-old widow said of the track, which was originally recorded during the sessions for 1980's Double Fantasy, the couple's final album together.

It became an underground hit when DJ Larry Levan of New York's famed Paradise Garage began spinning it in the early 1980s, but with the help of recent remixes by the Pet Shop Boys, Danny Tenaglia, Felix Da Housecat, Peter Rauhofer and Rui Da Silva, an EP of 10 "Walking on Thin Ice" remixes topped the Billboard Dance Club Play chart last week, more than 20 years after the song was released.

The remixes feature pounding beats underneath Ono's urgently whispered, almost robotic vocals: "I may cry some day/ But the tears will dry whichever way/ And when our hearts return to ashes/ It'll be just a story."

"Music is an important thing ... but when you start to dance, the feelings carry this incredibly powerful energy," said Ono. "I'm kind of surprised that it was #1, but when I wrote the music I was thinking about dance. One thing I didn't have in mind at all was that it might be a big hit all these years later. I think that now[, like after John's death,] there's a feeling in the air that is rather tense and we're not sure about the future."

Though Ono has been a fixture in the art, performance and avant-garde music world for nearly 40 years, acceptance in the dance community is somewhat surprising, especially given that until recently she spent hardly any time in clubs. But late last year she performed an impromptu set at New York's Roxy, adding some of her signature wordless vocalizations over Rauhofer's mixes of her music, setting in motion the "Walking on Thin Ice" remix project.

Ono had already agreed to have several of her songs remixed a year earlier, including the controversial 1971 single "Open Your Box," which had been banned from U.K. radio due to such provocative lyrics as "Open your mouth ... open your legs." Remixes of Ono's "Kiss Kiss Kiss" and "Yang Yang" followed, suddenly making the septuagenarian a staple of club mixes alongside the Felixes and Madonnas of the world.

It was the crowd's enthusiastic response at the Roxy that energized Ono and pushed her to delve further into the club world. Ono said she and Lennon purposely avoided such 1970s New York celebrity hot spots as Studio 54, though she went dancing "once or twice" with son Sean Lennon in the '90s. "It's nice. I feel very close to people who are dancing because I'm dancing in my heart," she said.

For Tenaglia, remixing "Walking on Thin Ice" was like opening a window into his youth. "I remember hearing it in my 20s at Paradise Garage and being really inspired," said Tenaglia, 42. "When I got the chance to remix it, I felt like it was a classic. I was worried because I'd been so touched by the record that I thought the only thing little old me could possibly do was destroy it. There's such a history to the song, some of which I didn't even know. I just learned that those were the masters that [Lennon] was holding when he was shot."

Tenaglia said he also agreed to participate because he was excited about bringing the song to a new generation of club kids who might have only a vague idea who Ono is. "When I first played it, it was an immediate hands-in-the-air reaction, whether they knew it was her or not," said Tenaglia, an infrequent remixer whose last remix was a 2002 Grammy-nominated stab at Depeche Mode's "I Feel Love."

When asked if she was surprised to best Madonna and Justin Timberlake on the dance chart, Ono said age ain't nothing but a number when it comes to music. "I never counted their ages," she said of Madonna and Timberlake. "Each person has their own age, and experience counts. Maybe I'm not very experienced in this area, so I'm the youngest. In style maybe I'm more contemporary than some people."

As to whether she ever imagined that she'd be shaking it in clubs at 70, Ono said quietly, "No, but it is a nice surprise. A nice gift."
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