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The pop legend loves rooftop reggae, forever-young classics, and truth-seeking jazz.
When her band, the Pretenders, reached the charts three decades ago with new wave hits "Brass in Pocket" and "Back on the Chain Gang," Chrissie Hynde cut a singular figure—her edgy, androgynous sex appeal barely concealing the vulnerability of a true romantic. Now 59, she still sports her signature fringe, kohl-rimmed eyes, and skinny jeans, and she calls her poppy latest album, Fidelity! (with her band JP, Chrissie & the Fairground Boys), "the best thing I've ever done—and I never say that!" In a recent conversation, Hynde divulged a few of the "thousand things that have moved me to tears," genre by genre.
Reggae: "If I'm in a public place—say, in a roof garden on top of a hotel—and someone is playing reggae, I want to kiss their feet. I go to mid-'70s stuff by Keith Hudson, Toots & the Maytals, and Jimmy Cliff."
Start Here: Scrolls of the Prophet: The Best of Peter Tosh
Opera: "When I was 18 and had a job framing pictures in a gallery, the guy working next to me would always play opera, and I thought he was a nutter. But now I adore it. Maria Callas will never go missing in my listening, because she rocks."
Start Here: Maria Callas, The Passion of Callas
Classical: "People think classical music is for old folks, but when you look back at the people who actually wrote it and made it—Mozart was 35 when he died; Beethoven did some of his best work in his 30s. These were young guys."
Start Here: Jascha Heifetz, Mozart & Beethoven: Violin Concertos
Jazz: "The trumpeter Lee Morgan was awesome. So many of those '60s jazz players were obviously on a quest for some higher realization, some great truth, and that's what I love about music."
Start Here: Lee Morgan, Search for the New Land
The Works: "My favorite thing is the radio, just tuning in to whatever happens to be on. Radio France has an eclectic range of oddball music: cabaret, jazz, blues, classical, all sorts of contemporary Europop."
Start Here: Radio France FIP, at Players.Tv-Radio.com/RadioFrance/playerfip.php
From the October 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!