Anthony Mason's dream interviews: A legend and a lesser-known music pioneer

Anthony Mason's dream interview subjects

Anthony Mason has interviewed a president, business leaders, Oscar-winning actors and some of the biggest names in music from Bruce Springsteen and Elton John to Aretha Franklin and Lady Gaga. But the new "CBS This Morning" co-host, who will join Gayle King and fellow newcomer Tony Dokoupil at the table starting Monday, May 20, still has some dream interviews to make happen.

"One is Bob Dylan, for obvious reasons if you're a music fan. It's not an easy interview to get or probably an easy interview to do but that's a drop mic kind of interview," Mason said. "The second one is Bobbie Gentry, much less well known, but a big star in the '60s who inspired a lot of female artists particularly in the South in the world of country. And Bobbie Gentry had a career that kind of took off and then decided sort of in the early to mid '70s that she didn't want to -- she was going off the radar and she kind of disappeared. But I would love to talk to her because I know how many women she inspired and I think that people should remember who she was and what she did."

As he gets ready to join the "CBS This Morning" team we spoke to him about how he got his start in television, the best concert he's ever attended, and why he's looking forward to sitting with Gayle King and Tony Dokoupil every morning.

Long before Mason was sitting down with top politicians and titans of the music industry, he was just an English major with no job prospects. Thanks to a little tough love from his father after graduation, he ended up with his first job in television.

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"My father looked at me about two weeks after I moved back into his house and said, 'What are you going to do with the rest of your life?' And I said, 'I'm going to write a novel.' And dad said, 'Not in this house you're not.' And that led to my father frantically trying to figure out where he could sort of, which direction he could push his son to get him out of his hair and out of the house," Mason said. "One thing led to another and I ended up with a job at KJRH-TV 2 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which was the best thing that ever happened to me. Everything, all the fundamentals that I learned in television I learned there from some really great people."

During his more than three decades at CBS News, Mason has covered business, served as the chief Moscow correspondent, reported on wars, presidential elections, won seven Emmys and, in his most recent role, hosted "CBS This Morning: Saturday" – a show that placed an emphasis on his true passion: music. Because of that, he's attended a lot of concerts. He told us about the concert he described as "unbelievable."

"The very best concert I ever went to I think was, I'm not sure anything will ever top it, was the 25th anniversary of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame," he said. "It was Springsteen and Stevie Wonder and Simon and Garfunkel and Crosby Stills and Nash and it just went on and on and on and on. It went for six hours and I kept thinking I should leave, but I couldn't, and I stayed until one in the morning, and it started at seven as I recall."

As he prepares to assume his new role alongside Gayle and Tony, he reflected on what inspires him about his new colleagues.

"The minute I sat down next to her I was kind of blown away by how much 'herself' she really was on television. The Gayle King you see on TV is absolutely the Gayle King that I know," Mason said.

"Tony is relatively new at CBS but he's an incredibly talented guy and I've really been impressed by what I've seen so far, and a very smart guy whose already seen a lot of things in life," he said.

"We like each other already, which makes it a lot easier and I think it's going to be a lot of fun."