Q: The album's title song is a very moving piece about your relationship with John Lennon. You're saying your love brought you heaven, but your fame brought you hell, right?
A: Well, we had a great time in the hell that the media gave us [laughs], but we created a heaven within it. We were totally, totally, strongly in love, so we just ignored the fact that it was hell. Isn't it amazing we had that kind of love? I always thought that was normal. And John probably did, too, because we were very similar. You should have that kind of a love for each other. You have to open yourself and put your emotion out to the world, instead of holding back and being a very logical person who just wants to make money or be known.
Q: We think of you as a serious artist. But you show a sweeter side in "Little Boy Blue Your Daddy's Gone," which you wrote for Sean.
A: Well, if you're only serious, that's a weight around your neck. You have to have a lighthearted side and a heavy side — two sides of the same coin. Life is like that.
Q: There was a time when you felt misunderstood by the public. But you've received a lot of awards and accolades in the last few years, including the Digital Genius Award from MTV in June. How does it feel?
A: Well, I hope it's not just because I'm 80. [Laughs] Whatever the reason is, people are being kind to me. I haven't had that in a while — but I'll take it.
Alanna Nash is a music and culture writer.
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