YOKO ONO ENJOYS RARE MUSIC HONOUR
John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono has received a lifetime achievement honour at the Mojo magazine awards in London, the first music prize of her career.
Ono, more used to flak from Beatles fans who thought her main achievement was to cause the band to split, thanked Mojo for their “courageous” decision.
With Lennon and on her own, she has made two dozen albums in 41 years.
“It's really great that I went on stage and people were very warm towards me, I didn't expect that,” she said.
After picking up the accolade, she added: “For the longest time I never expected people to be so warm when I get on stage.”
Asked what her late husband would have made of the award, Ono replied: “He would have said, 'I told you so, man.'
“He was the only person who was really believing and promoting my work. Without that I might have been pretty discouraged.”
Ono, 76, received support from other musicians at the ceremony.
Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr said she deserved the award because she had “an awful lot of utterly terrible press that was completely uninformed and out of control for no reason”.
“But also her records are pretty great,” he said, “she didn't really need to be a Beatle wife.
“She was doing some pretty good stuff as it was, and I think she's fantastic.”
Mark Ronson, who has produced Amy Winehouse and Duran Duran, will perform as part of the Plastic Ono Band at the Meltdown festival in London on Sunday.
He said: “I'm a fan of hers. All those early Plastic Ono recordings are just incredible.”
Mojo editor Phil Alexander, who hosted the event, praised Ono as “a huge influence on modern music”.
He said: “She may have been married to one of the most famous men in the world, but she also helped change music as we know it in her own right.
“First, by introducing avant-garde sensibilities to her husband but, just as significantly, by continuing to push the boundaries of what was deemed the norm way after that.”
Other acts honoured by Mojo included Fleet Foxes, who were named best live act, and Elbow, who won best song for One Day Like This.
Paul Weller beat both of those acts to the prize for best album.
The winners of five competitive categories were voted for by readers and another 14 honorary prizes were handed out.
Blur, making their first public appearance together ahead of their forthcoming reunion gigs, collected the inspiration award.
The Manic Street Preachers won the maverick award and bassist Nicky Wire said it was an achievement to have spent 20 years signed to the same major label and still be regarded mavericks.
Johnny Marr said he was “very honoured” to receive the trophy for classic songwriter from former Suede guitarist and Duffy producer Bernard Butler.
Mott the Hoople entered the Mojo Hall of Fame, Joy Division won the vision award and the Pretty Things picked up the hero award. Phil Lynott, the late lead singer of 1970s rock gods Thin Lizzy, won the icon award.
Island Records founder Chris Blackwell was decorated with the Mojo Medal, rock 'n' roll pioneer Joe Brown was recognised for his outstanding contribution to music and The Zombies received the classic album award.