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Rock - Released September 9, 1971 | Apple

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
After the harrowing Plastic Ono Band, John Lennon returned to calmer, more conventional territory with Imagine. While the album had a softer surface, it was only marginally less confessional than its predecessor. Underneath the sweet strings of "Jealous Guy" lies a broken and scared man, the jaunty "Crippled Inside" is a mocking assault at an acquaintance, and "Imagine" is a paean for peace in a world with no gods, possessions, or classes, where everyone is equal. And Lennon doesn't shy away from the hard rockers -- "How Do You Sleep" is a scathing attack on Paul McCartney, "I Don't Want to Be a Soldier" is a hypnotic antiwar song, and "Give Me Some Truth" is bitter hard rock. If Imagine doesn't have the thematic sweep of Plastic Ono Band, it is nevertheless a remarkable collection of songs that Lennon would never be able to better again. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released December 11, 1970 | Apple

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
The cliché about singer/songwriters is that they sing confessionals direct from their heart, but John Lennon exploded the myth behind that cliché, as well as many others, on his first official solo record, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. Inspired by his primal scream therapy with Dr. Arthur Janov, Lennon created a harrowing set of unflinchingly personal songs, laying out all of his fears and angers for everyone to hear. It was a revolutionary record -- never before had a record been so explicitly introspective, and very few records made absolutely no concession to the audience's expectations, daring the listeners to meet all the artist's demands. Which isn't to say that the record is unlistenable. Lennon's songs range from tough rock & rollers to piano-based ballads and spare folk songs, and his melodies remain strong and memorable, which actually intensifies the pain and rage of the songs. Not much about Plastic Ono Band is hidden. Lennon presents everything on the surface, and the song titles -- "Mother," "I Found Out," "Working Class Hero," "Isolation," "God," "My Mummy's Dead" -- illustrate what each song is about, and chart his loss of faith in his parents, country, friends, fans, and idols. It's an unflinching document of bare-bones despair and pain, but for all its nihilism, it is ultimately life-affirming; it is unique not only in Lennon's catalog, but in all of popular music. Few albums are ever as harrowing, difficult, and rewarding as John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 9, 1971 | Apple

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
After the harrowing Plastic Ono Band, John Lennon returned to calmer, more conventional territory with Imagine. While the album had a softer surface, it was only marginally less confessional than its predecessor. Underneath the sweet strings of "Jealous Guy" lies a broken and scared man, the jaunty "Crippled Inside" is a mocking assault at an acquaintance, and "Imagine" is a paean for peace in a world with no gods, possessions, or classes, where everyone is equal. And Lennon doesn't shy away from the hard rockers -- "How Do You Sleep" is a scathing attack on Paul McCartney, "I Don't Want to Be a Soldier" is a hypnotic antiwar song, and "Give Me Some Truth" is bitter hard rock. If Imagine doesn't have the thematic sweep of Plastic Ono Band, it is nevertheless a remarkable collection of songs that Lennon would never be able to better again. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released December 11, 1970 | Apple

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
The cliché about singer/songwriters is that they sing confessionals direct from their heart, but John Lennon exploded the myth behind that cliché, as well as many others, on his first official solo record, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. Inspired by his primal scream therapy with Dr. Arthur Janov, Lennon created a harrowing set of unflinchingly personal songs, laying out all of his fears and angers for everyone to hear. It was a revolutionary record -- never before had a record been so explicitly introspective, and very few records made absolutely no concession to the audience's expectations, daring the listeners to meet all the artist's demands. Which isn't to say that the record is unlistenable. Lennon's songs range from tough rock & rollers to piano-based ballads and spare folk songs, and his melodies remain strong and memorable, which actually intensifies the pain and rage of the songs. Not much about Plastic Ono Band is hidden. Lennon presents everything on the surface, and the song titles -- "Mother," "I Found Out," "Working Class Hero," "Isolation," "God," "My Mummy's Dead" -- illustrate what each song is about, and chart his loss of faith in his parents, country, friends, fans, and idols. It's an unflinching document of bare-bones despair and pain, but for all its nihilism, it is ultimately life-affirming; it is unique not only in Lennon's catalog, but in all of popular music. Few albums are ever as harrowing, difficult, and rewarding as John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 9, 2020 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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John Lennon’s Gimme Some Truth, an extensive 4-disc compilation album, was released in 2010. Is the Autumn 2020 version an anniversary re-release? Has the music industry got to the stage where it just reissues compilations every ten years? No, not quite. This version actually celebrates Lennon’s 80th birthday (he was born on the 9th October 1940) and it’s more sober than the one from ten years ago. We find 36 songs that embody Lennon’s work - 36 candles that have lit up the lives of several generations. From Instant Karma and Angela to Power To The People, God and (of course) Imagine, all the classics are there. There are no unreleased tracks, the real novelty comes from the sound. Taken from The Beatles’ catalogue, these songs have been heavily reworked, remixed, rearranged and remastered. The sound is undoubtedly fuller, brighter and more precise. Die-hard fans might be annoyed (and perhaps rightly so) by this post-mortem facelift. Why change a sound to which we have always been accustomed, and which bears witness to such an era? But look past this and you’ll see a whole new world – one with more colours and expression. Everyone will at least agree on one thing: Lennon’s sentimental, troubled and political songs are still as relevant today as they were forty-five years ago. © Stéphane Deschamps/Qobuz
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Rock - Released December 11, 1970 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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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, he turns 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 kinds 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 arguably 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 parts that were eradicated from the original final mixes back to life. 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. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rock - Released September 9, 1971 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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After the harrowing Plastic Ono Band, John Lennon returned to calmer, more conventional territory with Imagine. While the album had a softer surface, it was only marginally less confessional than its predecessor. Underneath the sweet strings of "Jealous Guy" lies a broken and scared man, the jaunty "Crippled Inside" is a mocking assault at an acquaintance, and "Imagine" is a paean for peace in a world with no gods, possessions, or classes, where everyone is equal. And Lennon doesn't shy away from the hard rockers -- "How Do You Sleep" is a scathing attack on Paul McCartney, "I Don't Want to Be a Soldier" is a hypnotic antiwar song, and "Give Me Some Truth" is bitter hard rock. If Imagine doesn't have the thematic sweep of Plastic Ono Band, it is nevertheless a remarkable collection of songs that Lennon would never be able to better again. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 9, 1971 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Some Ultimate Collection’s can feel like a rip-off. But John Lennon’s Imagine avoids this pitfall by including many treasures, spread over four discs. This 2018 edition is organised like a journey, taking the listener from the writing process to the demo recording sessions in the former Beatle’s private studio at his home in Tittenhurst Park, near Ascot, and then to the final stages of production with crazy Phil Spector. The whole was remixed by Paul Hicks under Yoko Ono’s supervision, in the Abbey Road studios, using high definition 24/96 audio transfers from the first generation of multitrack tapes. These new mixes unveil a previously unheard sonic depth and impressive definition and clarity. The first CD features the remixed original album, the singles and B-sides. The second consists of all the outtakes and extras. The third includes the the raw studio recordings. And finally, the fourth tells the story of each song, from the demo to the final version, through a sort of audio documentary that dissects the whole album… It is fascinating to hear some of parts in isolation like the chords, the piano, or the vocals… But this generous Ultimate Collection shouldn’t draw your attention away from the essential part of it: the original album, released in September 1971. John Lennon’s post-Beatles phase was off to a flying start with an brilliant first solo attempt created with Yoko (John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band). The standard remained high on this Imagine album, with the eponymous single acquiring a legendary status (understatement) and becoming a timeless anthem of peace. Surrounded by the likes of George Harrison, Nicky Hopkins, Klaus Voormann, Alan White and Jim Keltner, the man with the spectacles from Liverpool once again shows he can do it all: moving and introspective ballads, (Jealous Guy), highly poetic lyrics, pop dreams, as well as mad rock’n’roll (It’s So Hard, I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier, Gimme Some Truth). The shock of the album comes when Lennon openly attacks his ex-comrade Paul McCartney on How Do You Sleep. All of this was produced by the mad scientist of sound, Phil Spector, who gives the album a unique quality that would go on to influence many other albums… © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rock - Released November 17, 1980 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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The most distinctive thing about Double Fantasy, the last album John Lennon released during his lifetime, is the very thing that keeps it from being a graceful return to form from the singer/songwriter, returning to active duty after five years of self-imposed exile. As legend has it, Lennon spent those years in domestic bliss, being a husband, raising a baby, and, of course, baking bread. Double Fantasy was designed as a window into that bliss and, to that extent, he decided to make it a joint album with Yoko Ono, to illustrate how complete their union was. For her part, Ono decided to take a stab at pop and while these are relatively tuneful for her, they nevertheless disrupt the feel and flow of Lennon's material, which has a consistent tone and theme. He's surprisingly sentimental, not just when he's expressing love for his wife ("Dear Yoko," "Woman") and child ("Beautiful Boy [Darling Boy]"), but when he's coming to terms with his quiet years ("Watching the Wheels," "Cleanup Time") and his return to creative life. These are really nice tunes, and what's special about them is their niceness -- it's a sweet acceptance of middle age, which, of course, makes his assassination all the sadder. For that alone, Double Fantasy is noteworthy, yet it's hard not to think that it's a bit of a missed opportunity -- primarily because its themes would be stronger without the Ono songs, but also because the production is just a little bit too slick and constrained, sounding very much of its time. Ultimately, these complaints fall by the wayside because Lennon's best songs here cement the last part of his legend, capturing him at peace and in love. According to some reports, that perception was a bit of a fantasy, but sometimes the fantasy means more than the reality, and that's certainly the case here. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released February 17, 1975 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Hi-Res Booklet
Although the chaotic sessions that spawned this album have passed into rock & roll legend and the recording's very genesis (as an out-of-court settlement between John Lennon and an aggrieved publisher) has often caused it to be slighted by many of the singer's biographers, Rock 'n' Roll, in fact, stands as a peak in his post-Imagine catalog: an album that catches him with nothing to prove and no need to try. Lennon could, after all, sing old rock & roll numbers with his mouth closed; he spent his entire career relaxing with off-the-cuff blasts through the music with which he grew up, and Rock 'n' Roll emerges the sound of him doing precisely that. Four songs survive from the fractious sessions with producer Phil Spector in late 1973 that ignited the album, and listeners to any of the posthumous compilations that also draw from those archives will know that the best tracks were left on the shelf -- "Be My Baby" and "Angel Baby" among them. But a gorgeous run through Lloyd Price's "Just Because" wraps up the album in fine style, while a trip through "You Can't Catch Me" contrarily captures a playful side that Lennon rarely revealed on vinyl. The remainder of the album was cut a year later with Lennon alone at the helm, and the mood remains buoyant. It might not, on first glance, seem essential to hear him running through nuggets like "Be Bop A Lula," "Peggy Sue," and "Bring It on Home to Me," but, again, Lennon has seldom sounded so gleeful as he does on these numbers, while the absence of the Spector trademark Wall-of-Sound production is scarcely noticeable -- as the object of one of Lennon's own productions, David Peel once pointed out, "John had the Wall of Sound down perfectly himself." Released in an age when both David Bowie and Bryan Ferry had already tracked back to musical times-gone-by (Pin-Ups and These Foolish Things, respectively), Rock 'n' Roll received short shrift from contemporary critics. As time passed, however, it has grown in stature, whereas those other albums have merely held their own. Today, Rock 'n' Roll sounds fresher than the rock & roll that inspired it in the first place. Imagine that. © Dave Thompson /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 17, 1980 | BEATLES CATALOG MKT (C91)

The most distinctive thing about Double Fantasy, the last album John Lennon released during his lifetime, is the very thing that keeps it from being a graceful return to form from the singer/songwriter, returning to active duty after five years of self-imposed exile. As legend has it, Lennon spent those years in domestic bliss, being a husband, raising a baby, and, of course, baking bread. Double Fantasy was designed as a window into that bliss and, to that extent, he decided to make it a joint album with Yoko Ono, to illustrate how complete their union was. For her part, Ono decided to take a stab at pop and while these are relatively tuneful for her, they nevertheless disrupt the feel and flow of Lennon's material, which has a consistent tone and theme. He's surprisingly sentimental, not just when he's expressing love for his wife ("Dear Yoko," "Woman") and child ("Beautiful Boy [Darling Boy]"), but when he's coming to terms with his quiet years ("Watching the Wheels," "Cleanup Time") and his return to creative life. These are really nice tunes, and what's special about them is their niceness -- it's a sweet acceptance of middle age, which, of course, makes his assassination all the sadder. For that alone, Double Fantasy is noteworthy, yet it's hard not to think that it's a bit of a missed opportunity -- primarily because its themes would be stronger without the Ono songs, but also because the production is just a little bit too slick and constrained, sounding very much of its time. Ultimately, these complaints fall by the wayside because Lennon's best songs here cement the last part of his legend, capturing him at peace and in love. According to some reports, that perception was a bit of a fantasy, but sometimes the fantasy means more than the reality, and that's certainly the case here. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 16, 1973 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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After the hostile reaction to the politically charged Sometime in New York City, John Lennon moved away from explicit protest songs and returned to introspective songwriting with Mind Games. Lennon didn't leave politics behind -- he just tempered his opinions with humor on songs like "Bring on the Lucie (Freda Peeple)," which happened to undercut the intention of the song. It also indicated the confusion that lies at the heart of the album. Lennon doesn't know which way to go, so he tries everything. There are lovely ballads like "Out of the Blue" and "One Day (At a Time)," forced, ham-fisted rockers like "Meat City" and "Tight A$," sweeping Spectoresque pop on "Mind Games," and many mid-tempo, indistinguishable pop/rockers. While the best numbers are among Lennon's finest, there's only a handful of them, and the remainder of the record is simply pleasant. But compared to Sometime in New York City, as well as the subsequent Walls and Bridges, Mind Games sounded like a return to form. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2010 | EMI Catalogue

Booklet
The crown jewel in Apple/EMI’s extensive 2010 John Lennon remasters series, Signature Box contains all of the solo studio albums Lennon released during his lifetime (minus the trio of experimental duet LPs with Yoko Ono released on Apple and Zapple), his first posthumous album Milk and Honey, a disc of non-LP singles, a disc of home demos, but not the 2010 showcase item Double Fantasy Stripped Down, which is available only as a bonus on the indvidual reissue of Double Fantasy. It is, in other words, close enough to complete to perhaps invite a little bit of quibbling about what is absent -- Live Peace in Toronto could fit in nicely with this batch and there are outtakes from Menlove Ave missing but the real niggling comes with the home demo disc, which emphasizes demos and alternate takes of songs from Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, leaving behind demos of songs Lennon gave away, including “I’m the Greatest” and “Goodnight Vienna,” which he handed over to Ringo, and songs that never made it to one of his records. Ultimately, this is nitpicking because Signature Box is handsomely produced and contains the best-sounding Lennon remasters -- remastered by the team that did the acclaimed 2009 Beatles remasters, using the original mixes, not the recent remixes -- which is enough to make this more than worthwhile for the serious Lennon fan. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 9, 1971 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Some Ultimate Collection’s can feel like a rip-off. But John Lennon’s Imagine avoids this pitfall by including many treasures, spread over four discs. This 2018 edition is organised like a journey, taking the listener from the writing process to the demo recording sessions in the former Beatle’s private studio at his home in Tittenhurst Park, near Ascot, and then to the final stages of production with crazy Phil Spector. The whole was remixed by Paul Hicks under Yoko Ono’s supervision, in the Abbey Road studios, using high definition 24/96 audio transfers from the first generation of multitrack tapes. These new mixes unveil a previously unheard sonic depth and impressive definition and clarity. The first CD features the remixed original album, the singles and B-sides. The second consists of all the outtakes and extras. The third includes the the raw studio recordings. And finally, the fourth tells the story of each song, from the demo to the final version, through a sort of audio documentary that dissects the whole album… It is fascinating to hear some of parts in isolation like the chords, the piano, or the vocals… But this generous Ultimate Collection shouldn’t draw your attention away from the essential part of it: the original album, released in September 1971. John Lennon’s post-Beatles phase was off to a flying start with an brilliant first solo attempt created with Yoko (John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band). The standard remained high on this Imagine album, with the eponymous single acquiring a legendary status (understatement) and becoming a timeless anthem of peace. Surrounded by the likes of George Harrison, Nicky Hopkins, Klaus Voormann, Alan White and Jim Keltner, the man with the spectacles from Liverpool once again shows he can do it all: moving and introspective ballads, (Jealous Guy), highly poetic lyrics, pop dreams, as well as mad rock’n’roll (It’s So Hard, I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier, Gimme Some Truth). The shock of the album comes when Lennon openly attacks his ex-comrade Paul McCartney on How Do You Sleep. All of this was produced by the mad scientist of sound, Phil Spector, who gives the album a unique quality that would go on to influence many other albums… © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rock - Released September 26, 1974 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Walls and Bridges was recorded during John Lennon's infamous "lost weekend," as he exiled himself in California during a separation from Yoko Ono. Lennon's personal life was scattered, so it isn't surprising that Walls and Bridges is a mess itself, containing equal amounts of brilliance and nonsense. Falling between the two extremes was the bouncy Elton John duet "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night," which was Lennon's first solo number one hit. Its bright, sunny surface was replicated throughout the record, particularly on middling rockers like "What You Got" but also on enjoyable pop songs like "Old Dirt Road." However, the best moments on Walls and Bridges come when Lennon is more open with his emotions, like on "Going Down on Love," "Steel and Glass," and the beautiful, soaring "No. 9 Dream." Even with such fine moments, the album is decidedly uneven, containing too much mediocre material like "Beef Jerky" and "Ya Ya," which are weighed down by weak melodies and heavy over-production. It wasn't a particularly graceful way to enter retirement. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 27, 1984 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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The sessions for 1980's Double Fantasy were supposed to yield two albums, the second to be released at a future time, but Lennon's assassination tragically halted the project in its tracks. A bit over three years later, Yoko Ono issued tapes of many of the songs planned for that album under the title Milk and Honey, laid out in the same John-Yoko-John-Yoko dialogue fashion as its predecessor. Not unexpectedly, it's a rougher, less polished product, lacking the finishing touches and additional takes that Lennon most likely would have called for. Nevertheless, Lennon's songs at this point in their development were often quite strong, tougher than those on Double Fantasy in general, and the ad libs and studio chatter that might not have made the final cut give us more of a glimpse of Lennon's delightfully quirky personality. "Nobody Told Me," the advance single off the album, is a rollicking, quizzical piece of work, maybe the best thing to come out of John's 1980 sessions, despite the unfinished-sounding transition to the chorus. "Borrowed Time," another single, is a thoughtful, sparely worded meditation on growing older attached to a Caribbean beat. Yoko's contributions, while not as strong as John's, are surprisingly listenable -- the reggae-based "Don't Be Scared," in particular -- and more current in texture, and her lyrics do tend to answer John's songs. As the album comes toward the close, the tone turns sentimental, culminating with one of John's loveliest tunes, "Grow Old With Me," as presented on a home-recorded cassette in lieu of a studio recording. The ironies of this song and some of the other Lennon material are obviously poignant in the light of the cruel events of December 8, 1980; that and the fact that these songs haven't been as exposed as much as those on Double Fantasy lead some to prefer this sequel. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Rock - Released June 12, 1972 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Hi-Res Booklet
While Lennon claimed to have always been politically minded, given his working-class upbringing in class-conscious England ("I've been satirizing the system since my childhood," he once mused), rock-pop sensibilities, clever wordplay, or matters of the heart usually took precedence in his musical output. But here Lennon and Yoko, accompanied by New York's Elephant's Memory, sing and scream freely against sexism in "Woman Is the Nigger Of The World" and "Sisters, O Sisters." They protest incarceration in "John Sinclair," "Attica State," and "Born In A Prison," colonialism in "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "The Luck Of The Irish," and racism in "Angela." The richness of Phil Spector's production fills out the danceable grooves on nearly every track. Also featured is Lennon's paean to his adopted home, "New York City," with allusions to doping clerics and transsexual rockers as well as the highly quotable line, "What a bad-ass city!" On the bonus disc, Lennon and Ono get it on with Zappa and the Mothers in live sets from London and New York. Things heat up considerably with "Cold Turkey," freak out with "Don't Worry Kyoko," and veer into the ridiculous with audience participation on "Scumbag." SOMETIME IN NEW YORK CITY is some of the groovin'-est, most tuneful agit-prop ever committed to disc. © TiVo
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Rock - Released October 9, 2020 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

John Lennon’s Gimme Some Truth, an extensive 4-disc compilation album, was released in 2010. Is the Autumn 2020 version an anniversary re-release? Has the music industry got to the stage where it just reissues compilations every ten years? No, not quite. This version actually celebrates Lennon’s 80th birthday (he was born on the 9th October 1940) and it’s more sober than the one from ten years ago. We find 36 songs that embody Lennon’s work - 36 candles that have lit up the lives of several generations. From Instant Karma and Angela to Power To The People, God and (of course) Imagine, all the classics are there. There are no unreleased tracks, the real novelty comes from the sound. Taken from The Beatles’ catalogue, these songs have been heavily reworked, remixed, rearranged and remastered. The sound is undoubtedly fuller, brighter and more precise. Die-hard fans might be annoyed (and perhaps rightly so) by this post-mortem facelift. Why change a sound to which we have always been accustomed, and which bears witness to such an era? But look past this and you’ll see a whole new world – one with more colours and expression. Everyone will at least agree on one thing: Lennon’s sentimental, troubled and political songs are still as relevant today as they were forty-five years ago. © Stéphane Deschamps/Qobuz
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Rock - Released December 12, 1969 | Apple

Although one of the world's best-kept secrets at the time, this was John Lennon's declaration of independence from the Beatles, the document of a concert appearance at Toronto's Rock and Roll Revival festival about a month after the conclusion of the Abbey Road sessions. Thrown together literally on the wing (they rehearsed only on the flight from England), the ad-hoc band consisting of Lennon, Yoko Ono, Eric Clapton on guitar, Klaus Voorman on bass, and Alan White on drums hit the stage to the surprise and delight of the thousands who packed Varsity Stadium. "We're just going to do numbers we know, you know, because we've never played together before," confesses John, who was reportedly extremely nervous before going on. But the repertoire ought to have been a cakewalk for a quartet of seasoned rockers -- blues-based oldies ("Blue Suede Shoes," "Money," "Dizzy Miss Lizzie") and basic recent Lennon numbers ("Yer Blues," "Cold Turkey," "Give Peace a Chance") -- and they lay it down in a dignified, noisy, glorified garage band manner. Lennon is in fine vocal form, confident and funny despite his frequent apologies, while Yoko confines her caterwauling to "Cold Turkey." That was side one of the original LP. Side two, alas, was devoted entirely to Ono's wailing, pitchless, brainless, banshee vocalizing on "Don't Worry Kyoko" and "John John (Let's Hope for Peace)" -- the former backed with plodding rock rhythms and the latter with feedback. No wonder you see many used copies of the LP with worn A-sides and clean, unplayed B-sides -- and Yoko's "art" is just as irritating today as it was in 1969. But in those days, if you wanted John you had to take the whole package. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo

Rock - Released December 18, 2020 | UMG Recordings, Inc.

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John Lennon in the magazine
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    John Lennon - 40 Years On What remains of the music of the ex-Beatles frontman, murdered two weeks before Christmas in 1980?
  • Gimme Some Truth!
    Gimme Some Truth! John Lennon’s Gimme Some Truth, an extensive 4-disc compilation album, was released in 2010. Is the Autumn 2020 version an anniversary re-release? Has the music industry got to the stage where it just reissues compilations every ten years? No, not quite. This version actually celebrates Lennon’s ...