Annie Lennox Revisits (And Revises) Her 1986 Interview Cover Story

By
Illustrations by Richard Bernstein

Published August 21, 2019

On Second Thought offers iconic subjects the rare chance to revisit an interview from our archives, and reckon with the good and the bad of it. In this edition, we sit down with Annie Lennox to discuss fame, fashion, and astrology. On the occasion of “Now I Let You Go…,” her site-specific installation of personal artifacts and found objects at MASS MoCA, the synth-pop icon revisits—and revises—her cover interview with Mark Matousek from 1986.

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ANNIE LENNOX: “I once met Andy Warhol in a lift. I went into the elevator and he was there, and I almost wanted to jump. Should I be cool and ignore him? Should I say hello? Then he looked at me and said in that unique voice he had, ‘I really liked your Interview cover.’”

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“Doing interviews while you’re trying to record is not great for a singer, because if you have a strained voice, the last thing you should be doing is talking. So I think when that interviewer came I was kind of irritable.”

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“Fashion is now a trillion-dollar industry, but at that time it was a very different thing. You didn’t have designer labels in the same way. You didn’t have branding in the same way. Fashion designers came to me saying, ‘We’d like you to wear these clothes,’ and I would say ‘No. I’m not a clothes horse.’”

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“Do you know what happened to Revolution? It was a period piece, obviously, set in 1776 during the American Revolution, which they recreated in Norfolk—so you can imagine it wasn’t cheap. It got terrible reviews, and it actually made the film go bankrupt. Poor Hugh!”

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“At the time, I was called a ‘gender bender’ and I hated that tabloid label. It was so boring to have to explain—because what is there to explain? We had the possibility to present ourselves as a whole bunch of different personas and we just reveled in it.”

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“I don’t know why I mentioned horoscopes. I’m not an astrological follower.”

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“I have always distrusted fame. I have never bought into it. It’s illusory stuff. Magical stuff. But people project onto those who have that kind of shine.”