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Plastic Ono Band: Lennon Laid Bare

Door Marc Zisman |

In late 1970, when Plastic Ono Band released its first album, The Beatles were still not officially finished. And yet here is an impressive debut solo album, with John Lennon opening his heart, his soul and his mind – in short, this was Lennon laid bare; the complete Lennon, dreamy and lucid, calm and edgy.

Urged by Yoko Ono to undergo therapy, Lennon turned this extremely raw record into the perfect outlet. The masterpieces follow one after another ("Working Class Hero", "Mother", "God", "Power To The People") while, behind the glass at Abbey Road studios, playing utterly against type, genius American producer Phil Spector, inventor of the famous Wall of Sound, soberly shapes this fascinating inner journey which never goes down the path of the easy blockbuster hit.



Accompanying John on this journey are Ringo Starr, Klaus Voormann on bass, Yoko, Billy Preston and Spector on piano for one track. There’s no fancy dressing on his limpid ballads, which are sometimes extremely oneiric (the incredible "Love"), heartbreaking (the opener "Mother", as its name suggests about his mother, killed by a car in 1958), or even verging on angry on the simple (not simplistic) rock numbers ("I Found Out")… Fifty years after its release, this elemental record benefits from the luxurious reissue treatment with almost 7 and a half hours of music! These kind of 5-star editions always pose the question: who is it for? Obviously, you have to be a hardcore fan of the Fab Four and / or Lennon to immerse yourself in such a musical (and financial) commitment. For those among us who are simply musical tourists, it's aguably more advisable to stick to the eleven tracks of the original Plastic Ono Band



As with the 2018 reissue of Imagine and the subsequent best-of Gimme Some Truth, this Plastic Ono Band Ultimate Collection has been completely remixed from the original tapes by sound engineer Paul Hicks. The 'Ultimate Mixes' are the closest to the originals but have been cleaned up a bit, making Lennon's vocals clearer. The 'Out-takes' are rawer mixes, whilst the 'Elements Mixes' bring back to life parts that were eradicated from the original final mixes. Finally, there are also some other demos, jams on which we come across songs formerly covered by The Beatles ("Matchbox", "Honey Don’t"), and even covers of the Fab Four ("Get Back", "I’ve Got A Feeling"). This treasure chest also includes songs that weren't on the original album, including "Give Peace A Chance", "Instant Karma" and "Cold Turkey". Here's an Ultimate Collection that lives up to the name.

LISTEN TO "PLASTIC ONO BAND (THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION)" BY JOHN LENNON ON QOBUZ


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