In Your Ear: Music Icon Annie Lennox

Since bursting on the pop scene in the 1980s, she has sold more than 80 million albums worldwide and has won four Grammys, eleven BRIT Awards and even an Oscar. Singer, songwriter and activist Annie Lennox — formerly one half of the hit duo, The Eurthymics — tells Wis out with her first album of Christmas tunes. Lennox chats with host Michel Martin about the yuletide album, “Christmas Cornucopia”, and her process of making music.

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And finally, we end today's program with a holiday edition of In Your Ear. That's where we asked some of our guests about what they're listening to these days.

Well, today, the legendary singer Annie Lennox shares her favorites. She stopped by our studios recently to talk about her new album, titled "Christmas Cornucopia." You can listen on Thursday to hear some of her amazing interpretations of classic carols and find out what causes she's turned into her personal mission. But today, Annie Lennox shares her musical inspirations.

Ms. ANNIE LENNOX (Singer, Songwriter): Hi, everybody. This is Annie Lennox, and I would love to play you some of my favorite songs. We're going to start off with Stevie wonder, who adore, "Blame it on the Sun."

(Soundbite of song, "Blame it on the Sun")

Mr. STEVIE WONDER (Singer, Songwriter): (Singing) Wish I could tell you what I am feeling. But words won't come for me to speak. Oh, but I'll blame it on the sun that didn't fill the sky. I'll blame it on the birds and the trees.

Ms. LENNOX: I think I love every single song that Stevie Wonder has ever made. And "Blame it on the Sun," I can't even begin to explain why I love it so much. It's just a beautiful piece of music. It's incredibly touching. And Stevie's a genius, and I love him.

(Soundbite of song, "Blame it on the Sun")

Mr. WONDER: (Singing) But my heart blames it on me. Yeah.

Ms. LENNOX: It's very hard for me to choose one song over the thousands of songs that have influenced me over my life. But I have to say that if I really, really had to choose one, one, one, it would be a Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, with "Say a Little Prayer."

(Soundbite of song, "Say a Little Prayer")

Ms. ARETHA FRANKLIN (Singer): (Singing) The moment I wake up, before I put on my makeup, I say a little pray for you. And while I'm combing my hair now...

Ms. LENNOX: There's something about this song that has accompanied me through my whole life, really, since I ever heard it. It is so beautiful. I love Aretha. I wish her all health and I want to see her getting well, and I think it's very appropriate that the title is "Say a Little Prayer."

(Soundbite of song, "Say a Little Prayer")

Ms. FRANKLIN: (Singing) Forever, and ever, you'll stay in my heart, and I will love you. Forever, and ever. We never will part, oh, how I love you. Together, together, that's how it must be. To live without you, would only mean heartbreak for me. Nobody but me.

Forever, and ever, you'll stay in my heart, and I will love you. Forever, and ever, we never will part, oh, how I love you. Together, together, that's how it must be. To live without you, would only mean heartbreak for me.

Ms. LENNOX: We're going to kick off now - this is Annie Lennox, by the way. We're going to kick off with a really celebratory seasonal song by The Pogues, who I love. And this song has to be one of the classic kind of contemporary Christmas celebratory, crazy songs of all time. Here's the drunken "Fairytale of New York" with Kirsty MacColl.

(Soundbite of song, "Fairytale of New York")

THE POGUES (Rock Band): (Singing) They've got cars big as bars. They've got rivers of gold. But the wind goes right through you. It's no place for the old. When you first took my hand on a cold Christmas Eve, you promised me Broadway was waiting for me.

You were handsome. You were pretty Queen of New York City, when the band finished playing, they howled out for more. Sinatra was swinging, all the drunks, they were singing. We kissed on a corner then danced through the night.

MARTIN: That again was singer, songwriter and activist Annie Lennox telling us what's playing in her ear. To hear our interview with the pop icon, please join us on Thursday. And let me say it will be a pre-holiday sleigh ride to remember.

(Soundbite of song, "Fairytale of New York")

MARTIN: And that's our program for today. I'm Michel Martin, and you've been listening TELL ME MORE, from NPR News.

Let's talk more tomorrow.

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