George Starostin's Reviews  

JOHN LENNON

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Introduction

<Quarrymn@aol.com> (22.03.2000)

First of all, in the song 'working class hero" the line is..."you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see" so therefore that point you were trying to make doesnt really make sense. (That was an 'intentional misquotation', but it really takes nothing out of my point - G.S.) And if you dont know what I am talking about, please go read what you said about lennon, I know I didnt imagin it. But, anyhow, I think John's solo stuff is great, not that you dont, but I do believe if he wanted to make his songs polished works like Paul, and well, the beatles, I do believe he could have very easily. But you are right about one thing, I dont believe he cared enough to do that, Really, he didnt have to. He had nothing to prove in my book, and I have a very large book.

<JNicoleDan@aol.com> (27.03.2000)

John was by far my favorite Beatle. He was so quick-witted, funny, and when it came to song writing I think he surpasses all the other Beatles' talent put together. I really like his solo work, because it's just John, you don't have to wonder if Paul had meddled with it or not and it's great stuff. And through Imagine you learn so much about this man. It's like the emotion poured through songs like "Julia" carefully molded into a whole album. I love it.

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (15.05.2000)

I definitely agree with the idea that you never know what you're gonna get if you go out and randomly purchase a John Lennon CD without knowing what it sounds like. If you're looking for uncompromising integrity, then you'd probably want to go with Plastic Ono Band. If that album seems a little too harrowing, then there's the album that Lennon himself referred to as the 'sugarcoated' version, Imagine, which is both tuneful and brilliant. After that, you may want to pick up Walls And Bridges, which is both commercial and surprisingly consistent considering that Lennon's heart wasn't really into making music during that period. In fact, the album before that, Mind Games, is also commercial-sounding, but suffers from a lack of inspiration, and is almost never brought up in discussions about great Lennon music. There's also Rock And Roll for those who enjoy 50s music played by 70s session musicians (with perhaps the world's greatest rock vocalist). The rest of John Lennon's albums are also Yoko Ono albums. The first three (Two Virgins, Life With The Lions and Wedding Album) are all avant-garde albums, and therefore won't appeal to 99% of the population (although I'll admit to enjoying some of this stuff when I'm in the mood). There's also Live Peace In Toronto 1969, which is sloppy but kind of fun. Most people will, of course, reject side two because it features Yoko. Some Time In New York City, with its accompanying Live Jam, suffers not only because Yoko decided to try her hand at straightforward songs (rather than the dissonant abstractions that she was actually good at), but because even John turns in a less-than-brilliant output. Then there's Double Fantasy, which was made at a point when John was at his most utterly commercial, and Yoko was finally capable of coming up with cool songs. (Or is it just the arrangements that are so cool?) Oh, and let's not forget Milk And Honey, which is really not bad at all - just unfinished.

All other Lennon releases are either compilations (Shaved Fish, The John Lennon Collection, Imagine: John Lennon, Legend), or collections of previously unavailable recordings (Menlove Ave., Live In New York City, Wonsuponatime, The John Lennon Anthology), which are interesting mainly to those who have the regular stuff already. John Lennon certainly wasn't the only musician to ever put his innermost turmoil into his songs, but it's safe to say that he's by far the most famous musician to ever do this - and that takes quite a lot of balls on his part. While I don't agree that Lennon was never commercially-minded, I do think that it's rare to see such a popular songwriter coming up with such uncommercial songs as 'Mother.' Lennon also offers us a pretty unconventional overall philosophy of life, which is also unusual for somebody so popular.

Speaking in strictly musical terms, Lennon easily falls within the greatest lead vocalists of all time. And while his playing is essentially nontechnical, Plastic Ono Band reveals him to be intense and dynamic both on guitar and on piano - and, frankly, that's what really counts when it comes to grabbing the listener's attention and putting over the song.

Kathleen Keplar <rkeplar@norcom2000.com> (16.07.2000)

This one's for everyone who ever dreamed of getting a chance to be worthy. What is the definition of the word 'idol'? Or of 'fan'. Where's the boundaries between entertainer and artist, artist and human, human and God? What makes a person's life worthy of the time they were given to roam around this chunk of rock and do whatever they will manage to do? Heavy questions...what have they got to do with a one time  Chuck Berry wannabe from Liverpool U.K.?

Lennon is one of the true enigmas of our time. He's the best of us...and the worst. A man of clear vision and integrity one moment, and sheer lunacy and hypocrisy the next. Getting murdered on his doorstep isn't hard to believe. He didn't even have to move here to the states to meet such a fate...fate had his number all along. The 'when' and 'where' of it was just a minor detail. The world isn't a safe place for true enigmas. They scare the hell out of people, makes them do stupid things. Things even more stupid than the usual stupid things they do. John's gone, but that's okay, our world didn't deserve someone like him anyway.

No one should jump into John's music unawares. The only way to fully appreciate, or understand his music, is to get to know him a little first. John was deep into pure R&R. He lived and breathed it. His rhythm sound and style was, at first, pure Chuck Berry. He even swiped licks and lyrics from Berry outright. Berry was more flattered than anything and settled for an apology and some royalties. I despise Chuck Berry...I live less than an hours drive from his home in Wentzeville Mo. He's an ass...But John thought he was God there for awhile. And John absorbed the very best from him and his R&R founding partner Johnny Johnson. {He's the Johnny of 'Johnny B. Goode' fame.} John himself unwittingly triggered the signature sound of the sixties guitar bands. He bought a Rickenbacker six string just before the Beatles came to the states. The Ric is an American made axe but was virtually unknown here at the time. All those R&R wannabes saw and heard that black 325 on Ed Sullivan and the Rickenbacker craze was on. The Ric has a very unique sound, I know this first hand because I play a 360 myself,  it was the sound of the mid sixties, the trademark of Rock and Pop music of that era. John did it.

The harshness of much of his later work can be traced to that viscous  R&R streak in him. The Beatles came in the second wave of the R&R movement. Eddie Cockren was dead, as was Buddy Holly. Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry had serious social and legal problems and dropped from sight. Elvis had been drafted into the Army. Rockabilly had split into several different directions at once...the old guard, the founding fathers of R&R were gone or out of the picture. The guys in the suits moved in and rock went corporate for the first {and not the last} time. R&R was cleaned up, controlled by the big guys with cigars, and made very safe and profitable. The Beatles were part of this scene at first. Brian Epstien brought them in, cleaned them up and made them presentable to these tasteless vultures in three piece suits. Lennon went along with it, there was no other option back then...he had to be seething like a volcano. Once the Beatles became so powerful in the industry he was able to vent. Once the Beatles went defunct, he was able to blow. And blow he did! John's loudest, and roughest material owes its sound to the purest R&R...an artist turned loose to hurl his emotions at the world with no apologies or  censure. In 1956 Elvis was considered one of the nastiest most destructive forces ever unleashed on the world...by the early 1970s John Lennon took that crown.

The comparison ends there. John didn't just do his thing, then go Vegas the way Elvis did. And he didn't milk his glory days for every cheap assed penny the way Berry does to this day. He had clout. He had power over  his generation. He then did the deed that lifted him to the status where he reigns now. He used that power in an attempt to save the world. Call it politics, call it ego, call it nuts, call it a joke...but that's what he did. For better or worse. John Lennon openly tried to save the world. He showed his ass. He showed his genitalia. He screamed his lungs out. He got everybody to stare at him...and all he said to them when they looked was 'Peace'.  'Imagine' that.

Musically the one thing that really amazes me is how at one moment he could compose a song like 'Working Class Hero', then turn right around and write the enchanting 'Love'. 'Whatever Get You Through the Night'  then 'Cold Turkey'. {Not in that order.} He insisted that 'Imagine' was just 'Working Class Hero' with sugar sprinkled on it. That's a telling remark when you really look at it. John's music never sat still, John kept evolving. With Double Fantasy he said he'd come full circle finally...days later he was gone. Now that's fitting.  When we hear McCartney on the radio, most of us just say "Oh it's just him again..." We notice George when he's on there. And Ringo makes everybody smile when he pops up. You gotta love Ringo, ask anybody. But on that rare occasion when Lennon actually gets some air time, we listen. We may cringe, we might smile, or we might tap on the steering wheel, we might sing along to 'Give Peace A Chance'.  The point is, if you're alive, you'll react. John's showing his ass again and when he gets your attention you'll  hear his voice as clear as if he were sitting there next to you. "Peace."

Thank you John...you were worthy. For better or worse, you were worthy.

Dan Miller <m.miller1@tinyworld.co.uk> (07.12.2000)

Lets get one thing straight. Lennon is not mccartney as Mccartney is not lennon, as neither are lennon-mccartney.

In my mind there's no use in arguing over who's better. I believe that Paul Mccartney was a vastly superior musician, singer, and song craftsman than lennon, but I believe lennon was on the whole a much better lyricist, and on the whole a more interesting public figure. Their talents complemented each other perfectly, and even in their solo careers neither one really excelled above the other.

Plastic ono band was without a doubt his creative peak, and such a dead end, it all seems a bit irrelevant after that. His sound matured, but you couldnt help feel that music was just a bit of an after thought for him post the imagine album.

I dont want to shout johns praises as a solo artist nor find fault with him, as though I could do both very easily from a critical perspective, as his music has brough me so much enjoyment.

Im glad that in death people have realised the importance and legendary status of this man and his work.

Chris Papadopoulos <Chris.Papadopoulos@parliament.nsw.gov.au> (06.02.2001)

I think you should omit your disclaimer from your Lennon pages: you are very close to a "narrow-perspective fanatic", (as am I, but I'm slowly getting over it). There is no way Lennon's solo career, if that is what you are basing your rating on (you must be, as you give Pete Townshend a 1) is worth a 4. Your own reviews reflect this: you constantly and correctly bag him, but still rate him equal to or better than many more deserving artists.

Even though I only like small doses of say, Bowie, Lou Reed, Stevie Wonder or Led Zeppelin, I'd put them all above Lennon the solo act, though not above Lennon if you take his entire works into account. (You can't have done that with Pete.) Do you really think Lennon's solo output deserves equal ranking with that of the Kinks and Pink Floyd? Lennon a 4 and Van Morrison isn't even reviewed? (Perhaps his CDs are hard to get in Moscow?) All these acts produced very influential and (to varying degrees) original work, while Lennon managed neither after 1970. His Beatles stuff is another matter, of course.

Lennon the solo artist started by recording rubbish, cut one really great record (JL/POB), a good one (Imagine), then managed only the odd great song before finishing with the thoroughly bland MOR of Double Fantasy, one or two tracks excepted. Is that really worth a 4? Some perspective, please, George!

Palash Ghosh <palash7@hotmail.com> (24.02.2001)

As much as I loved and admired John Lennon, it pains me to admit that his 'solo career' was primarily a disaster. The first two albums (Plastic Ono Band and Imagine) were great (not stupendous), and everything thereafter was a big joke. It was a sad and pathetic thing to behold. I don't really know what happened to John, was it the drugs, the recovery from drugs, Yoko Ono, the deportation hearings?

Whatever was the culprit, John was pretty much washed-up by 32 -- he either went completely mad, or his ego was reduced to such a minute dimension, that he no longer cared about anything. When I think about John I think of his life before coming to America -- for in the U.S., he was idolized a bit too much by people he shouldn't have been around in the first place. I wish he's never left England, maybe New York City is what destroyed him.

Sergey Zhilkin <sergey_jilkin@mail.ru> (11.03.2001)

Oh this John Lennon. Maybe the most popular foreign singer in Russia. Lots of my friends bash Paul and praise John without even hearing about one third of their albums. The reasons are very banal, though. John never was washed-up, John always had revolutionary ideas, John's paintings are so beautiful (well, I really hate someone talking about things he doesn't understand. As I discovered the formula of my friends was: weird=terrific (even if it is a piece of shit in dandelions)) and etc. ... So every time I hear such phrases I want to run to my disc-storage and put Ram or Venus and Mars into my recorder.

Well, I don't want to say that John wasn't sincere or something like this. Look, now Lennon is a legend just like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison or Marc Bolan and that's why many of his real character features are much exaggerated. I admire John for the fact that he never wore a mask of 'make love, not war' hippie, I admire him for being VERY open with the listener, I admire him for being the leader of the early Beatles and for writing tons of terrific songs! But was he much original (and please don't say that 'Wedding album' is a style of life or new life concept)? No. And that's the problem. Well, maybe only his real first try (Plastic Ono band) was original but not so many people understand it (and I confess that I don't understand it at all!). And don't think that I consider John to be a chocolate egg. No! John had lots of ideas (not all of them were good, though).

Maybe my opinion about John is marred by Yokos(o/u)ngs which are present on more than half albums but it's really hard to ignore her presence on the record. So I'll try to rate him not looking on Yoko.

Listenability: 4/5 Sometimes his slow songs (like 'Love') bore me to death and I nearly fall asleep.

Resonance: 5/5 Any questions?

Originality: 2/5 Tough on that one... Two points are given only for Plastic Ono band.

Adequacy: 4/5. IMHO, our fellow sometimes took himself more seriously than it was needed

Overall: 3.75 = * * * * on the general rating scale. Yes, it's almost 4 stars but not 'nearly 5' as some say.

Glenn Wiener <glennjwiener@hotmail.com> (05.07.2001)

John Lennonís solo career was kind of hit and miss. The first couple of releases could not even be classified as music. I am not too familiar with the Plastic Ono Band Release. Whereas these songs are fairly catchy, the mood is overly political. I do not always care to listen to political rants in my music. In addition, Johnís voice comes off as very strained and abrasive on the above mentioned tracks. However, on Imagine John delivers his watershed album. The rhythms and styles blend very well from ballads to rockers to social commentary to tender love songs and more. Afterwards John had a few other stand outs songs. I particularly like 'Mind Games' as Johnís voice seems more pleasant and the song structure seems very pleasing as well. The Rock N Roll release was a creative twist but hinted that John offered nothing new song wise in the middle of 1975 while his partner Paul McCartney was in the midst of raiding the charts with hit singles. Just as John was making a comeback with Double Fantasy, his life was cut short by a crazed assassin. One can only wonder how John Lennon would have fared in the eighties and nineties had he survived.


ALBUMS 
WEDDING ALBUM

Simon Hearn <simon@leehearn.freeserve.co.uk> (08.09.99)

I'm sure lennon, being the genius that he was, must have regretted this debacle for the rest of his life. It is a poor, poor album and gives ammunition to all those Yoko haters (no bad thing!). Luckily he would find true genius again with the "primal scream" album - plastic ono band in 1970.

Josh Fitzgerald <breezesf85@email.com> (14.03.2000)

Interesting. Not in a good way either. The first time I heard this album, I was acually laughing pretty hard. It was so corny and stupid that it made me laugh. It was pathetic. However, I now have new feelings for this album, because I am one of the unlucky few who have had the dishonor of hearing Life With The Lions. Compared with that album, Wedding Album is a dang masterpiece. There is almost humanly impossible to listen to the entire 26 minute Yoko wailing/John feedback epic "Cambridge 1969." You want to kill yourself by the 2 minute mark. Listening to Wedding Album after this one makes me acually ENJOY it. Maybe I'm a freak, but just buy Life With The Lions, and see for yourself. Ick.

M. Hancock <megane@c-gate.net> (18.04.2000)

Them saying "John" and "Yoko" isn't over their heartbeats, but over that of their unborn child who died due to miscarriage. They recorded this in Yoko's hospital room. The end of this song also means the fetus heart quit beating. Suffice to say, I never listened to it again. Or this album, but for different reasons.

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (19.05.2000)

Okay, just to set the record straight: contrary to what M. Hancock wrote, the recording of the baby's heartbeat while in the hospital room is on Life With The Lions, not on this album - so I would assume that it really is John and Yoko's heartbeats we hear on the track 'John And Yoko.'

Even though I'm not adverse to avant-garde or to Yoko Ono, I must say that both of the tracks on this album are pretty poor examples. About the best thing I can say for 'John And Yoko' is that once in a while, John really belts it out. 'Amsterdam' is little more than what you'd hear on a typical interview album, except for a couple of pretty weak musical moments. We get to hear the predecessor to 'John John (Let's Hope For Peace),' which was done live on the Toronto album. This is one of those things where Yoko sings the title of the song in verrrrry lonnnng sylllllabbbblllesss. It doesn't work here. More interesting is an off-the-cuff tune using the arpeggiated chords that were later used for 'Because.' Oh, and there's also a very off-the-cuff rendition of 'Good Night,' which I think is the only recording of John singing that (I may be wrong, though). The bonus tracks on the CD are Yoko's because this album is included in the series of Yoko Ono reissues. What we get is 'Who Has Seen The Wind?' (the b-side of 'Instant Karma,' this is one of those early Yoko attempts at doing a real song, with results that are fair at best - and that's stretching it), 'Listen The Snow Is Falling' (the b-side of 'Happy Xmas' and later the b-side of Yoko's 'Mind Train' in the UK, this is also fair at best in the songwriting department, with a nice electric guitar part - Yoko clearly doesn't have the right voice for singing ballads) and an acoustic demo of 'Don't Worry Kyoko' (which sounds drastically different from the rock version that appears on the b-side of 'Cold Turkey' - it's really just kind of sloppy and undynamic). The craziest thing about this album, though, is that with all of its uncommercial audio contents, it was packaged in a box with several souvenir artifacts of John and Yoko's wedding. This made it quite expensive for a single album.

Didier Dumonteil <dbdumonteil@wanadoo.fr> (07.03.2001)

I used to have it but I got rid of it (for a lot of dough).

JL said to a French rock critic:"avant-garde?isn't it the French word for "shit"?

Ryan Maffei <chaucer@ix.netcom.com> (16.03.2002)

LOOK HERE, YOU CUR.

Yoko Ono was an artistic genius before John Lennon could do anything besides play rhythm guitar and hear Elvis. She was one of the first artists in rock to actually meddle with the medium beyond verse, chorus, verse, chorus, even if the verses and choruses were cerebral and creative. When she yells "aoaoaoooaaooaooa" or "euh-ea-eugha-eh-ehe-hehuaheh", she is not trying to sooth the ears, but express her emotions in a new and original type of way within music.

Whether you, an intelligent man, realize this or not, you dismiss Ono several times on this page, and give her songs on Lennon's albums poor ratings simply because they are not listenable, even if they are creative and artistically coherent. Saying that all she does is inconsistently wail is like saying that all rock vocalists do is sing words in a certain key. Recognize this: If an avant-garde album is a mere facade (in your mind), with no artistic basis whatsoever (think Metal Machine Music), you should, in theory as a critic, give it a poor review. But if it is substantial piece of art, you could spare it a rating because it is incomprehensible to your Genesis- and Beatles-weaned ears (not that there is anything wrong with that), BUT DO NOT SAY THAT IT IS "NOT MUSIC", BECAUSE IT IS. IT'S JUST A DIFFERENT KIND. AND IT DESERVES A RATING. In fact, you should probably give a listen to Plastic Ono Band by Yoko sometime, with John, Ringo and Klaus Voormann. It's remarkable, and it's ROCK MUSIC, with drums and bass and guitar in key and in time.

AVANT-GARDE MUSIC IS ACCEPTABLE IN ALL FORMS, whether by Eno or Can or Ono or Fripp or Lennon or Harrison or Zappa or the Residents or Beefheart. And that should be more recognized, but it's not. Which is sad. But hey, I guess it's just my opinion...there are some people who think McCartney (the album) is a great piece of work, too, so...

[Special author note: Yoko Ono was a pretentious Japanese faux-artist, taking most of her ideas from concurrent avantgarde trends and sometimes mixing them with elements of Japanese theatrics (she did not invent these "aaaooaaaoa" and "euh-ea-eugh", contrary to what you think). All of her so-called "art" has no meaning whatsoever, and when it has, it's a superficial, trivial meaning supposed to be 'profound' simply because it is presented in an unconventional way. Only an amateur "avantgardist" like Yoko could switch so easily between 'artistic' yellings of "John, John" and the dumbest of the dumbest in by-the-book political protest songs. Any of her compositions and sound collages could have been penned by a 5-year old, and she never possessed the complexity or the innovative vision of any of the other avantgarde artists you have listed. As for saying that "avant-garde music is acceptable in all forms", this can be said about anything. A different opinion - which you seem to be unable to accept - is that, as in every form of art, there is good avant-garde and bad avant-garde. Eno, Zappa, Fripp, the Residents, and Beefheart is good avant-garde to me. Yoko Ono is abominable avant-garde, and has remained so long after I have learned to appreciate all of these artists. My Genesis weaned ears allow me to admit the substantiality of Trout Mask Replica, but no amount of Ono listening will ever lead me to accept that Two Virgins or Wedding Album is anything more than a bunch of amateurish, miserable parodies on avantgarde. At the very best. Oh, and there's far, far less distance between these albums and Metal Machine Music than you think to guarantee the necessity for namecalling.]

Kevin MacNutt <egebamayasi@hotmail.com> (26.09.2002)

I am a fan of avant-garde. I have listened to hours of John Cage, Edgard Varese, Pierre Henri all the way up to the rock avant-gardists such as Can, Faust and Laurie Anderson. I own both the Wedding Album and Two Virgins and have to say that they are pure unadulterated crap. I am also an art major (in Photography) at James Madison University and have to put up with these quasi-intellectual/faux artists all the time and it make me absolutely sick. Yoko Ono would not have had mention outside of her artists circle if not for John Lennon. She basically used him. Chances are she didn't love him, she love his popularity and basically rode it's wave and still is today. We were lucky Lennon came back to earth in 1970 since at the rate he was going we were likely to see Life With The Lions, Vol.2 with John and Yoko shouting each others names whilst taking a crap. If you want to hear Japanese avant-garde, check out Damo Suzuki or Yakamastura Eye (from the Boredoms) and for get Ono.


LIVE PEACE IN TORONTO 1969

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (19.05.2000)

If this album comes across as being a little less than great, than I think the lack of rehearsal is the main culprit. And yet, they really perform pretty well. My favorite moment is the ultra-dirge version of 'Money.' The version of 'Cold Turkey' here is interesting in that it amounts to basically a working version of the song, since this concert was given a couple of weeks before the single was recorded. John hadn't yet crystallized the arrangement. His voice seems a little unfocused as well. For that matter, the b-side, 'Don't Worry Kyoko,' is also very unfocused here. Even the official version is somewhat one-dimensional, but the band doesn't have any power on this one. I think I should mention, too, that the single was released in the same month (Oct.) as the Kinks' 'Mr. Churchill Says,' so it's very unlikely that the connection between them is anything more than coincidence. Heck, it wouldn't be hard to fill up a record store with the songs that used that old three-chord riff, anyway. The whole album is generally helped along by some slick licks from Clapton, and the rest of the band plays fairly well for not knowing what they're doing. As far as Yoko goes, I must say that I enjoy at least certain stretches of 'John, John (Let's Hope For Peace)' - particularly the parts where she's really making far-out noises with her voice. And the feedback (which I'm convinced is totally intentional) fits in with this concept well. The best Yoko music, however, is on her first two solo albums - not the ones she did with John (funny - the same is true of John's music, too - isn't it?).

Morten Felgenhauer <Morten.Felgenhauer@kvaerner.com> (09.01.2001)

I give this one 5/10 - side A is mostly good and side B is mostly shite. I'll be more specific: I really love the rockers and although John is a bit nervous in the beginning (it was, after all, his first concert proper since 1966) he soon loosens up. "Shoes" includes Perkins' cool intro (with extra pause) and not that shitty Elvis version. "Money" and "Dizzy" really rocks and "Yer Blues" isn't any worse than the other versions in existence (White Album & R'n'R Circus). Then we face the problems, aka Yoko Ono. I must stress that I have nothing against her and I'm truly glad that John met the Woman in his life (not to mention all the songs inspired by her). BUT! Why did she have to appear on John's albums? I liked it better when they did an album each, like Plastic Ono Band. She has never produced one second's worth of "music" that I can't live without. And as mentioned above she more or less ruins the remaining part of the album. It's rather odd that on "Cold Turkey", where her screams would not be out of context, she can hardly be heard at all. Buy this one for the first half, or buy the 4CD box Lennon, where the best songs are included.

Palash Ghosh <palash7@hotmail.com> (16.02.2001)

I find this bizarre little album kind of entertaining Ė- if only for its sheer value as a historical curiosity.

But take Eric Clapton out of the equation and you'd likely have another embarrassing disaster on your hands.

I heard this faster live version of 'Cold turkey' before I heard the single version, and I prefer the Toronto edition -- it 'kicks' a little more (it almost makes heroin withdrawal sound kinda enjoyable!). I also like 'Money' and even the clumsy 'Blue suede shoes.' 'Yer blues' is rather weak, though (but, of course, I'm probably unfairly comparing it to the great version from The White Album. All in all, side one is surprisingly cohesive, considering the 'band' had little time to prepare.

Side 2 I won't even mention (it never happened)

Didier Dumonteil <dbdumonteil@wanadoo.fr> (07.03.2001)

Side one displays a nervy spontaneous rock."Money" is particularly strong.Lennon's voice is angry,roaring,and predates his sensational follow-up.Sometimes Lennon skips words but who cares?Ah had he continued like that over the second side.Alas!I enjoy some Yoko's stuff ,but only when she's halfway between reason and lunacy ("walking on thin ice","we're all water").Here,all we have got is 100% sheer lunacy.


JOHN LENNON/PLASTIC ONO BAND

Josh Fitzgerald <Joshsf@aol.com> (22.05.99)

One correction to your review, in "Mother", Lennon doesn't scream "Momma don't turn", he says "Momma don't go." Just to let you know. Probably the best Beatle solo album. While some of the songs are semi-bland, the songs are really personal and probably John's most deepest album.

My rating-9 1/2

Scott & Wendy <Scott_Merrick@bc.sympatico.ca> (26.07.99)

Another correction:

The coda explosion on 'Remember', after Lennon sings 'Remember - the fifth of November' would be referenced by Guy Fawkes and not Hawkes.

Lennon is again going back to his boyhood and remembering Guy Fawkes Day, which is the British equivalent of the North American Halloween for it's celebration observance.

John must have had some very mischievous fun each November 5th when he was young.....

One of the landmark albums of all time, mainly because of Lennon's brilliant unrestrained vocals and the superlative production. Listen to 'Mother' and then listen to 'Nothing Compares 2 U' by Sinead O'Connor.

Obvious homage, wouldn't you say?

[Special author note: well, well, ain't I the dirty little misspelling bastard! Both of these things I know as well as anybody, but I obviously wrote the review under stress or something. Maybe I was drunk. Hmm, I don't remember being drunk while writing reviews. Anyway, thanks for all the corrections - history should be taught with precision, shouldn't it?]

Joshua Fiero <jfiero1@lsu.edu> (08.01.2000)

Hmm. Great review, but I'm not sure I'd call "God's" thoroughly poisonous lyrics one of the great human rights statements. I don't think anyone who would have the nerve to say that the only real things are himself and his wife cares a whole bunch about other people (saying they doesn't exist just doesn't give one an impression of great compassion). In fact, I think the libretto for most of Ono Band is self-obsessed garbage. Still a great album, but man . . . as silly as McCartney always is, I generally like the bastard. Lennon, however, strikes me as a total dick, especially on this one. The stuff he did that has genuinely touching lyrics is, for the most part, on Double Fantasy, in my opinion. Not that it matters one way or another, though.

Cara Bradbury <cara@bradbury.ukf.net> (27.03.2000)

Definatly John's best solo album. 'Mother' IS the best song on here with great ,moving lyrics such as ' I wanted you/you didn't want me' . 'Well , Well , Well ' is also a great song although it's quite repetitive , it makes no difference. This one has good guitar bits . Have you noticed the initials of the title ? I reckon John had the whole concept of the ' world wide web ' up his sleeve for ages..... not !

' Look at me ' is a fab song to chill out to with John's soothing voice....great ! If you don't have this album IT'S A NECESSITY !

John McFerrin <stoo@imsa.edu> (19.04.2000)

Oh my goodness. This album is absolutely beautiful. Like Prindle, I don't like 'Hold On', but the rest ... The way he sings those "I don't believe in ..." lines in 'God', the entirety of 'Love', the screams of 'Mother', the low-key but pissed off lines of 'Working Class Hero' ... all of these make me cry. I would personally choose 'God' as the best track of the lot, but really, any of them will do.

14.

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (19.05.2000)

I would definitely rate this as John Lennon's best album, although I think Imagine runs a close second. And if we count Beatles albums, then I would put it neck to neck with The White Album. Every song on this is brimming over with emotional self-revelation. Klaus Voorman and Ringo Starr were the perfect choices for bass and drums on this album. Everything is stripped down and bone-bare. There's nothing left to listen to but the songs themselves - and even then, the melodies and lyrics are as basic as can be. If you ever want to show people that sophistication doesn't mean a hill of beans when it comes to good music, play this album to them. Favorite songs (impossible to say, but how about): 'Isolation,' 'God,' 'Mother,' 'Hold On (John),' 'I Found Out.' Heck, they're all good. And 'Working Class Hero' sure brings the world into focus - there's not a word in that song that I don't agree with.

Incidentally, I'm pretty sure the only song on the album that hadn't been written recently at the time was 'Look At Me.' The guitar arpeggio is no coincidence, since it was written in India in the spring of 1968, when songs like 'Julia' and 'Dear Prudence' were penned. And just to keep things straight, I would like to refer to Joshua Fiero's comments about 'God.' If you read the book 'Lennon Remembers,' you'll find that Lennon wanted to deflate the Beatles' image, since it didn't represent who they were as actual people. By saying that he didn't believe in Beatles, he wasn't saying that he didn't think they existed as human beings. He was saying he didn't want to play along with the public's misconceptions about them. As for the various other people and things he didn't believe in, these also have had a lot of fictitious baggage attached to them, so I'm personally glad that somebody came out and said he doesn't believe in these things. It's one of the reasons I'm a John Lennon fan.

Ryan Mulligan <pxpres@idt.net> (02.07.2000)

A great album., and the best of his solo career by far. "God" is about as emotional a song as I've ever heard. My personal pick for best song would be "Working Class Hero". Maybe the best solo album by a beatle with only All Things Must Pass contending. "Mother" is good. "Love" is good. "Well Well Well" is good, but maybe they should've shaved a minute off it. "All the rest are good too, cept maybe "My Mummy's Dead", but that shouldn't really count. A solid effort, too bad he couldn't make more stuff like this. Good guitar playing by John too.

Paul Walker <seraphim7s@yahoo.com> (03.10.2000)

Hey, Scott and Wendy! The Fifth of November is NOTHING TO DO WITH Halloween. Halloween (All Hallows Eve) is celebrated on the last day of October in much the same way as Americans - trick or treat, silly games, scary stories etc. but the Fifth of November celebrates the brutal death of Guy Fawkes. He was executed for treason as a leader of Catholic plot to kill James I. Most of the history behind it is forgotten. Christ, I'M a Catholic and I still burn the ol' Guy Fawkes. Usually there are fireworks and bonfires, and a barbecue or something - but it's nothing to do with Halloween. OK?

Dan Miller <m.miller1@tinyworld.co.uk> (07.12.2000)

I wish I could find fault with this album but i cant. I dont find it the most enjoyable album to listen to, but then again its not meant to be.

It acheives its purpose perfectly, and is probably the most emotionally raw record by any artist ever. I dont think you can analyse the songs themselves, because they are pretty basic, three chords max right, but as a concept it is truly outstanding.

I found it a bit self pittying, in that in 'Mother' he speaks of his desertion by his parents, yet at the same time he was doing exactly the same to his own son. That however was what made lennon the brilliant,  tortured artist that we all love.

I like how in the sleeve notes Yoko is attributed to wind effects.

Morten Felgenhauer <Morten.Felgenhauer@kvaerner.com> (09.01.2001)

It seems like this is the only album where he was "just John" and this is certainly where we see Lennon the Artist most clearly. Of cource he was a complicated man of many facets, but I feel that he often wasn't honest to his public (or himself) when writing "pop" songs or being "political". This album is of course his artistic masterpiece as a solo performer, and those who prefer their music with sugar on it should check out "Imagine". 10/10.

Sergey Zhilkin <sergey_jilkin@mail.ru> (19.01.2001)

This comment will be baised on ritorical questions so if you have weak heart or bad nerve system, stop reading here. WARNING: Don't get my comment wrong - I DO NOT despise John's feelings.

1) Can an album touch you if you are not aware of the feelings that it's author had (I mean the situation when YOU haven't felt the same)?

2) Can such tracks as 'My mummy's dead' be counted as songs?

3) What if these simple tunes don't touch your heart? Will you still praise an album just because of feelings that John have had?

4) Do you really think that lyrics play main role? Role that bigger than music's role?

5) Do you believe in your words? Do you really like this album so much? Then why do you rate it higher than Double fantasybut the last one is still called his best effort?

6) Sandwich always falls on it's 'face' while cat always falls on its legs, right? So what will happen if we put sandwich on cat's back and let the cat fall?... Sorry... that's another story...

PS. My rating is 12/15.

Palash Ghosh <palash7@hotmail.com> (15.02.2001)

When I first heard Plastic Ono Band, I was utterly stunned by its stark simplicity and angry, desperate tone. John cut out all things he deemed unnecessary -- after divorcing himself from The Beatles, he cut his hair, cut out all soupy arrangements, cut out tricks like double-tracking, and proceeded to make a very powerful record based on the simplest arrangements and the most painfully honest lyrics.

He made the most 'un-Beatley' album possible, which, of course, was his intention. It's almos hard to believe that just two years before this, he was singing along to 'Hey Jude'!

I think John was sub-consciously influenced by Bob Dylan's The Times They Are-A Changin' album, which is equally grim, unsparing and challenging. (Maybe John took his Dylan-worship a bit too far?)

Highlights on the album are 'Working class hero,' 'Isolation' and 'I found out.' This album really doesn't 'rock' at all, it's more like hard-edged folk-blues.

I, too, must agree that Ringo didn't really get a chance to show how good a drummer he was until AFTER The Beatles split up! He really shines on some of these bare-bones, stripped-down numbers.

Didier Dumonteil <dbdumonteil@wanadoo.fr> (07.03.2001)

The only solo Beatle album that I rate as high as any collective effort.At the times it was so DIFFERENT that it scared a lot of people.Because  a nice album this is definitely not..

The yelling at the end of "mother" or in"well well well" is so intense that it gives  goose pimples.The former literaly brings back the child JL to life.I had been through the same tragedy as Lennon the previous year,and his "mother",it was too much for me and I was on the verge of tears each time I would play it.

Full of despair and disillusion -"I found out" (with a magnificent Ringo)-,a misfit in a society that was hard on him at the time(working class hero ),Lennon bares his soul as no one,before him!And it's not Dave Dee,Dozy,Beaky,Mick and Tich!It's John Lennon,from the greatest group that has ever been.Besides,"God" ,-"maybe the finest vocal in rock (rolling stone)"-,is a real wholesale massacre.Someone on the site said that,had the Beatles stayed together,it would have been nice to see George play a prominent part on the new album.Who could imagine(sic) "my sweet Lord" or"Hear me Lord" side by side with "God" and "I found out"???

This album was the beginning of the me-decade;all the singers/songwriters of the seventies own Lennon an enormous debt:Neil Young's " tonight the night",Joni Mitchell's "blue", Lou Reed's "kill your sons " on "Sally can't dance",Richard Thompson's "I want to see the bright lights tonight" and "shoot out the lights" Randy Newman'"God 's song(that's why I love mankind")on "sail away",and much later Kurt Cobain !"A lot of people hated JL/POB but few have really forgotten it" (Greil Marcus,rolling stone guide 1978)

Joel Larsson <joel.larsson@privat.utfors.se> (10.05.2001)

I agree! Imagine that...

Anyway, John's vocals are awesome! Is this what every heavy metal dudes try to sound like?

I someone asked me which rocker that I like best, It'll be "I found out". It's so kickin' that I just can't stand still when I hear it.

Not even me have got much things to complain about if we're talking 'bout the rest, either. Some small problems do exist, but In the court either isn't that perfect album.

It's one of the biggest disasters in rock history that John's dead (his mummy, too, but she wasn't that rock hero...) but I suppose everybody already knew that.

Gerard Nowak <gero@gower.pl> (26.05.2003)

I liked him more as the dreamweaver.


IMAGINE

Simon Hearn <simon@leehearn.freeserve.co.uk> (08.09.99)

Yeah, a great album this - but why do people harp on about 'IMAGINE' - 'JEALOUS GUY' is more revealing and is as just a stunning song, period. With this album and its predecessor, Lennon made sure the world knew him as the best post-beatles solo artist. Upon listening to this Macca must have been gutted!

<Johntheguitarman@aol.com> (30.01.2000)

classic album. good

Steve Knowlton <knowltos@co.washtenaw.mi.us> (02.02.2000)

The song "Imagine" strikes me as Lennon's attempt to create a universal anthem -- an attempt that fails in the first line of the lyrics. Many, perhaps most, of the people who share Lennon's sentiments of brotherhood, peace, etc. do so because of their firm belief in a loving God.

What a bonehead!

Glenn Wiener <Glenn.Wiener@Entex.com> (01.03.2000)

John's best solo recording hands down. Only the somewaht redundant 'I Don't Want To Be A Soldier' is even a slight misfire and that one has an interesting echo effect on it. Everything else is just Grade A quality. and 'Imagine' is very beautiful for such a simple chord progression.

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (20.05.2000)

For me, this album, as great as it is, doesn't quite match up to Plastic Ono Band simply because there's at least one song on it that does nothing for me, which is 'How?' The melody is just typical ballad-writing - no better than some of the dreary stuff McCartney has come up with over the years. I think the best ballads on the album are 'Jealous Guy' and 'Oh My Love.' My favorite songs, however, would have to be 'How Do You Sleep?' and 'Give Me Some Truth,' both of which reveal Lennon at his angriest. I'm also very partial to 'Crippled Inside' and (I hope you're sitting down, George) 'Oh, Yoko.' In fact, 'Oh, Yoko' is such an innocent and lovable tune, that it would fit in quite nicely on a Kinks album (that is if Ray Davies was in love with Yoko). I must say that both George Harrison and Nicky Hopkins play really well all over this album. John went with a larger ensemble and a sweeter production style than on the last album, but it works quite well.

Now, about the comments made by Steve Knowles. Perhaps you should check out the rest of the song. For instance, if you put that first line in the context of the entire first verse, you may find that Lennon is pointing out that people use heaven in the afterlife as an excuse to let suffering go on in the here and now. Not once does Lennon (who believed in God) say that there isn't a God. Heck, he doesn't even say there isn't a God in the song 'God.' He categorically leaves God off of the list of things he doesn't believe in. And as far people who believe in brotherhood and peace because of their firm belief in God go, I would say that brotherhood and peace are good enough reasons in themselves to believe in brotherhood and peace.

Dan Miller <m.miller1@tinyworld.co.uk> (07.12.2000)

A great album, as lennon himself put it, like plastic ono band but sugar coated. There are some duffers, 'I dont want to be a slodier', 'Its so hard' ( it bloody well is listening to it), and 'How do you sleep' (not that its a bad song, its just that i believe John  is very much indebted to McCartneys talents as a songwriter).

However 'Jealous Guy', 'Oh Yoko', 'How', 'Gimme Some Truth' and 'Crippled Inside' are among the very best of his songs, and who can argue with material like 'Imagine' ( was it elvis costello who sang "was it a millionaire who said imagine no possessions" ? Hmm, as Macca said "too many people preaching fantasies"  I do love the imagine album though, and I think it demonstrates perfectly lennon's need to be adored, but to stand up as his own man also.

Sergey Zhilkin <sergey_jilkin@mail.ru> (01.01.2001)

This is very unpredictable album for me. Unexpected mix of soft piano songs with depressing cuts, such as 'Give me some truth' and 'How do you sleep?'. Many thanks to George Harrison who plays slide guitar here - this lead break is fantastic. I find these songs (I mean tracks where we get a chance to hear George Harrison's work) the best ones on 'Imagine'. As for title song, 'Jealous guy', 'Oh my love' and 'How?', they don't suck but they don't touch me either (though it doesn't mean I don't like them). 'Imagine' is thought to be one of John's best songs but I find 'Give me some truth' or 'I'm losing you' way better. 'Oh Yoko' doesn't suck, too. I just learned not to care for lyrics much so these lines about Yoko pass through my head without staying there.

And here's my opinion about 'How do you sleep?'. I think that it started to restore relations with Paul. Remember that Paul composed 'Dear friend' after that (actually, he wrote it before John did 'How do you sleep?', but 'Dear friend' wasn't put on RAM because it didn't fit well).

So here's my rating of Imagine - 8/10 and the best song should be 'Give me some truth' because it's more impressing (and depressing, too) than 'Imagine'.

Morten Felgenhauer <Morten.Felgenhauer@kvaerner.com> (09.01.2001)

A very good album and a favourite of those who love the "nice" John Lennon (not that every song on here is nice, but you get my drift). Predictably my favourites include "Imagine", "Jealous Guy", "Give Me Some Truth", "How do you sleep" (sad lyrics though) and "How". A solid 9/10. Why don't any of you bastards who always knock Paul for being the soft one critisize John for being soft here? Or on anything he recorded after 1972 for that matter? Tell me! I really want to know.

Palash Ghosh <palash7@hotmail.com> (15.02.2001)

The Imagine album hasn't aged as well as Plastic Ono Band mostly because the latter record is so spare that it CAN'T age, it's ageless! Although John returns to more conventional songwriting and musicianship here, I think it's not as good as the first LP. The title track is an indisputable classic, as good as any of the great Beatle ballads. Other highlights include 'Jealous guy' (actually a remake of an unused song from 1968); 'Crippled Inside' (a cool little bluesy number where John kind of sounds like a snarling feline!); and 'Gimme some truth' (which really cooks due to that nasty slide). The remaining songs leave me a little cold, although 'Oh my love' has a lovely tune.

As a huge John Lennon fan, I've always been a bit embarrassed by the anti-Paul diatribe, 'How do you sleep?' How could JOHN sleep after attacking his ex-mate so viciously? It's an appalling thing he did, and I suspect that he later regretted doing this.

The presence of George Harrison on this record has always puzzled me. Did John and George mend their tiff by now? Did they ever really even HAVE a tiff? Was Paul the sole reason for The Beatles break-up?

Didier Dumonteil <dbdumonteil@wanadoo.fr> (07.03.2001)

The title track has become such an anthem that  we could use it in lieu of all our national anthems.Wouldn't it be nice?

It's a much more accessible album than the ominous POB.

A lot of treasures are here to be found:"gimme some truth" with a first-rate George solo and lyrics à la Walrus,even if it alludes to politics."jealous guy" aka "child of nature " during the Beatles "white album" sessions,rejected because of "mother nature's son", an almost romantic plea."How do you sleep" is musically splendid,but the lyrics seems nowadays mean,nasty and irrelevant."How? " on the other hand is heartfelt and gorgeousThe words are made of questions ,like "look at me".The final "oh Yoko" contrasts a lot with "my mummy's dead which closes the previous work.As George said:"it's not always gonna be this grey"

Daniel Mawbey <danm9@optusnet.com.au> (14.09.2002)

Imagine - sure, its a great album, but IMO its just a rehash of Plastic Ono Band. It also prooves that it wasn't Yoko who clouded John's creativity, it was John's ego.

We begin with a piano ballad, as we do with POB, ("So do heaps of albums! Who cares??!" you say), but when it's over, we're led into the second track by a double tracked guitar playing single notes just like 'Hold On'. The difference here is that it evolves into a horrible hokey tune with generic lyrics. 'I dont wanna be a soldier mama' is just a carbon copy of 'I found out'. Its one melody sounds exactly like 'I told you before, stay away from my door, dont give me that brother etc', just that this time round its slowed down. 'Its so hard' is a straight boring blues number thats even worse than 'Well Well Well', at least 'Well..' deviated slightly from the blues structure. Track 6, like on POB, we experience John's views on the world. Again, when we get to track 7 we have a confessional love number, 'oh My Love', HOWEVER this one is just as good as it's predecessor on POB. Thats kinda where the comparisons end.

John was a sloppy lyricist. WHY MUST EVERYONE GO ON ABOUT HIS LYRICS???!!!! John confessed himself, that Imagine's (naive yet beautiful) lyrics where taken from a poem Yoko wrote. 'Crippled Inside' sports some of the most terribly generic words ever strung together! What is so damn confessional and emotional about saying something about a tie and a suit then linking it with "you can comb your hair and look quite cute"??!!! Disgusting! Yuck! Absolutely NO professionalism. 'I don't wanna be a soldier' is pretty bland. No wonderful revelations in that song- and it's definitely not powerful in an emotional sense. Although I really like 'Gimme Some Truth' can some please explain how this guy gets off writing things like 'son of tricky dicky gonna mother hubbard soft soap with me' and then insult Paul McCartney for being a soft lyricist? **George, back me up on this one!! Please?!** Also, don't even mention 'It's So Hard', i just hope he was intentionally writing badly on that one. 'Oh My Love''s words were 'half'-lifted from a Yoko poem. John said that- not me.

John mentioned in an interview that he felt Macca 'died creatively in a way', so explain to me why (if that was the case) would he blatantly rip off 'the Long and Winding Road' on 'How'. Sounds to me that maybe John, too, 'learnt something in all thoses years'.

Now the pro's. 'Imagine' is undeniably done to death yet a great song all the same. 'Jealous Guy' is good Lennon- interpret that how you want too. 'Gimme Some Truth' is a angry and melodic rocker- as is 'How do you Sleep'. 'Oh My Love' shines with the rest. Starting with a optomistic love song major guitar part, which gets turned into an almost mournful tragedy by a minor key piano part. 'Oh Yoko' - although it was written about ... her. It too damn catchy to hate just because of it's subject matter.

There. I hope people read this.


SOMETIME IN NEW YORK CITY

Dan Watkins <dan_watkins@hotmail.com> (13.07.99)

I've never heard this album (just "Scumbag" and "Jamrag"), but I thought I'd add some historical poop about the Lennon/Zappa jam. Frank Zappa invited John and Yoko to join in on his show. At the end of the show, Frank and John came to the agreement that they would both release their own verions of the jam on their own albums. When Lennon's album was released, John and Yoko took credit for the song "Jamrag". This upset Frank because the song was actually a song he had written titled "King Kong". To add to the trouble, the performance was poorly mixed. It is rumored that two members of Frank's band, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman (a.k.a. Flo and Eddie of the Turtles) were making fun of Yoko, which made John and Yoko decide to mix out Flo and Eddie's vocal comments in "Scumbag" along with Don Preston's keyboard (you think it's a bit boring and repetitive, eh?). Zappa didn't release his version of the show until 1992 on Playground Psychotics. The performance consists of five tracks: "Well" 4:43, "Say Please" 0:57, "Aaawk" 2:59, "Scumbag" 5:53, and "A Small Eternity With Yoko Ono" 6:06. I highly recommend Zappa's version over Lennon's. If you come across it in a used CD store or something, you might want to check it out. I wouldn't buy it if I were you unless you're a Zappa fan.

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (20.05.2000)

In general, this album is a weak one for both John and Yoko. If we just isolate the studio half, we find Yoko coming up with her first sizable batch of actual songs. Before this, she had mostly done the abstract stuff, and only occasionally came up with a song when there was a b-side needed for John's a-sides. To be quite blunt, she wrote really lousy songs at this point. One need only fast-forward to Double Fantasy to hear the difference. John's material on this album is not bad at all. However, he seems to have picked up Yoko's tendency to fit 8-syllable lines of lyrics into melody lines with only six or seven notes. My favorite on the studio half is 'Sunday Bloody Sunday,' which actually seems to benefit from Yoko's warbling background vocal. I'm also partial to 'Woman Is The Nigger Of The World' and 'New York City.' And I'll agree that 'John Sinclair' would've been a pretty cool song if only there wasn't all those 'gottas' in it. In one case, 'The Luck Of The Irish,' we have a pretty decent ballad from John that's pretty much ruined by Yoko's amateurish middle section.

Then there's Live Jam (not Apple Jam - that's on All Things Must Pass). Personally, I prefer this to the studio half of the album. The Plastic Ono Supergroup section on side three is suitably monstrous for both 'Cold Turkey' and 'Don't Worry Kyoko.' In fact, 'Don't Worry Kyoko' rates as my favorite track, at least once the long improvisation really gets under way. The performers are totally playing their asses off, and Yoko is excelling at what, at the time, was what she knew how to do best. The Frank Zappa side (four) is somewhat less satisfying, but certainly not by any fault of the Mothers. 'Well' would hold up a lot better if Yoko wasn't choosing this tune as a vehicle for her usual routine. Incidentally, the version on Zappa's Playground Psychotics is substantially longer. 'Jamrag' appears as two separate tracks on the Zappa album - 'Say Please' and 'Aaawk.' In this case, the Mothers are playing some pretty cool stuff, and don't need the supplemental contribution from Yoko. In the case of 'Scumbag' (which is far more interesting on the Zappa album, since nothing's been mixed out), it's actually Lennon who mars an otherwise decent performance this time, by bringing the whole 'Scumbag' idea into it in the first place. The only track that I like all the way through is 'Au' (which appears on the Zappa album as 'A Small Eternity With Yoko Ono'), simply because everybody seems to be on the same page.

In general, Lennon was going through an artistic lull here, but things would eventually improve.

Palash Ghosh <palash7@hotmail.com> (15.02.2001)

I can readily understand the deep and profound hatred that most folks harbor for this album. It represents the abyss of John Lennon's creative life -- he was hanging around with the wrong people and his songwriting skills plunged to the most simplistic kind of political sloganeering.

And, despite all this, I've actually kinda grown to like this album! One reason is the sheer audacity and vulgarity behind it all! Who but John Lennon would put a doctored photo of a naked Richard Nixon dancing with a naked Chairman Mao on the front cover of an album?? Either John was completely crazy by now or he was still undergoing the side-effects of heroin withdrawal, I donít know. It also shows how reckless and guileless he really is!

You gotta admire him for creating one of the world's most beloved musical groups and then proceed to systematically destroy his image and reputation. Now that takes balls!

As for the music, it's not really THAT bad (although the lyrics are all uniformly rotten to the core). 'Nigger' is actually a great song, with really soars. 'Sinclair' has some nice slide guitar in it, and 'Sunday' is another pretty good number.

I agree it's outrageously laughable for a Japanese woman to be singing the praises of Ireland!!!!

And I must admit I like the bluesy sax on 'Born in a prison'.

It's clear that by now, John Lennon was finished as a songwriter and musician. He never recovered. And he was only 32. This album was his epitaph, eight years before his actual death.

Didier Dumonteil <dbdumonteil@wanadoo.fr> (07.03.2001)

I like Yoko's songs on this one."We're all water" is funny and quite mad,which is fine with me."Sisters o sisters" is a catchy twist and "born in a prison" a moving ballad. John's ones fluctuate between being very good and very bad:

On the plus side,we've got the woman manifesto,with its spectorian wall of sound.Who can resist the rockn'rolling "New York City" ?My Lord,what a singer! "Luck of the Irish" is in the music hall vein and is very tuneful.But I agree:it would have been better without Y's vocals.

On the other hand,"John Sinclair" has a tune that could have been written by a six years old."Angela" 's lyrics are  trite to a fault.The second disc is the greatest rock swindle.A "would be free bonus record" ,it actually doubled the price we had to pay since the very beginning.And as I can't say something nice about it...


LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (22.05.2000)

It's a shame Lennon never went on tour, since it would have given him a chance to get more into the swing of things, so to speak. Nevertheless, this wasn't a bad show at all. Oh, sure, some of the songs sound a little clumsy, but there are several others that hang together very nicely. Aside from the trouble John seems to have singing it, 'Come Together' sounds pretty good here - particularly the drums, although they should've given the sax player a coffee break. Actually, a long coffee break, since he doesn't fit in at all on 'Cold Turkey' (which is otherwise another decent reading of this much-released song), 'Mother' (which, I think, is the weakest track - the playing is sluggish and John can't hit the notes) and 'Imagine' (where the hell were they? a cocktail lounge?). Generally, the other songs all sound fine, if not quite as good as the studio versions. I could pretty much do without this version of 'Hound Dog,' however. It just doesn't drive enough.

Incidentally, there is another excerpt of 'Give Peace A Chance' that was released a decade earlier that was included on the compilation, Shaved Fish, which is apparently part of the same recording. It's hard to recognize it as a Lennon recording, though, since you only hear him briefly, and otherwise hear several other singers (who basically sound like gospel singers).

Son of incidentally, this CD greatly benefited from the extraction of the three Yoko songs that were performed in the show. And who can we credit with extracting those songs? Well, I'd guess that the producer of the CD must have made the decision. Now, if I could just remember what her name was....I seem to recall she used to be married to one of the Beatles....

Didier Dumonteil <dbdumonteil@wanadoo.fr> (08.03.2001)

I had a vinyl bootleg and the sound of Mother/Come together/Cold turkey was much better than  on the official release.Too bad Lennon had to pass away before having recorded a live album worthy of the name.Or the harsh truth is it that Lennon ,like his former group ,was not a public performer?After this concert,anyway,Lennon was never the same again.Never again,we would have these vital tracks of the first two-mainly the first actually-.


MIND GAMES

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (22.05.2000)

There really is only one song on this album that I would consider to be weak, and that's 'Meat City,' which is very unfocused, although it seems to be the only track that sounds like an album-closer to me. The rest of the songs are all fairly solid material. And yet, somehow, the whole album seems to be lacking something. In fact, when I set out to respond to this one, I had to play it a couple of times just to remember how the tunes went. I guess that's what it is - the songs just don't glue themselves to the brain like they do on virtually every other Lennon album. And yet (again), I can't say there's really anything wrong with these melodies. In fact (hope you're sitting down, George), I think 'One Day At A Time' is one of the prettiest melodies Lennon ever came up with, and personally, I like the way he sings it. 'Intuition' is also a pretty strong song, as is 'Out The Blue' and I could swear at least a couple of others that sure enough have already exited my brain - and I just listened to them twice! And then there's the one that's on most if not all the compilations, 'Mind Games,' which I think never comes across as well as any of the other compilation tracks. I certainly don't dislike any of the songs on this album. Oh, and about 'Only People' - I think what it is about that chorus is that it sounds too much like it came straight out of a fast-food commercial.

About the session musicians: that guitarist who plays so nicely on 'Aisumasen' is David Spinozza, who plays on the whole album, apparently. Also, and this is for the Kinks fans out there, the bass player on this album is none other than Gordon Edwards, who spent about a year in the late seventies as the Kinks' keyboardist.

Dan Miller <m.miller1@tinyworld.co.uk> (07.12.2000)

This is without a doubt the worst post beatles work John did, and thus probably his worst effort. To me it sounds like he is out of ideas, both lyrically and musically. 'Mind Games', 'Out The Blue', 'I know' and 'Bring on the Lucie', are all OK, but the rest are highly uninteresting.

Palash Ghosh <palash7@hotmail.com> (16.02.2001)

I used to think that Mind Games and the subsequent Walls and Bridges marked the return of John Lennon as a decent songwriter and musician after the debacle of Some Time in New York City. But, in recent years I've reassessed and concluded that these two records from the mid-1970's were just prolonging the agony of his awful mediocrity. The title track is phony-baloney New Age garbage, and most of the rest of these sings flat-out stink. I do, however, like 'Aisumasen' a lot, the guitar solo in there is very nice (almost sounds like George playing!) But, Lennon was still 'coasting' on his Beatles fame, little did the public realize he had nothing left to give.

Didier Dumonteil <dbdumonteil@wanadoo.fr> (08.03.2001)

Lennon has lost his soul.This is not a bad album.Worse,this is a pleasant album.Now that they got the message,now that the confessional genre has spawned a whole school of artists,Lennon,who was at the very beginning of all that ,beats the retreat.The songs sing mechanical,devoid of humor and verve.The title track is the only one that posesses something of the  past epic sweeps.The remake of "jealous guy" is pleasant too,but it's a remake."Out of the blue" has Abbey Roadesque harmonies.It was a disappointment when it was released.It has not improved with time.


WALLS AND BRIDGES

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (23.05.2000)

I'm having trouble figuring out whether I really like this album or not. Like on the previous album, most of the songs are fairly solid. And yet, little of this really jumps out at me and reveals itself as topnotch John Lennon music. I guess I'd pick 'Steel And Glass' as my favorite track, but it's utterly impossible to not think about the similarities to 'How Do You Sleep?' In case anybody cares, John apparently wrote it about Allen Klein. I also really enjoy the Lennon-Nilsson collaboration 'Old Dirt Road,' as well as most of the other songs. I could pretty much take or leave the real poppy stuff ('Whatever Gets You Thru The Night'; 'What You Got'). Overall, I think I like this album more than Mind Games, but maybe I don't really give a shit one way or the other. No matter how you slice it, he hadn't gotten back to the peak he reached earlier in the decade.

There is one funny little detail on this album. There's a little guitar riff on 'Beef Jerky' that's played on the higher strings that sounds very similar to a guitar riff in 'Let Me Roll It' by Paul McCartney and Wings, which had been released nearly a year earlier on Band On The Run. A technical point: Phil Spector wasn't involved on this album or on the previous one. By this time, though, John had recorded the portion of Rock And Roll that was produced by Spector. After Walls And Bridges, he recorded the rest of that album, but without Spector.

Another technical point: I think 'Bless You' is probably one of those dreaded Yokosongs, George.

Dan Miller <m.miller1@tinyworld.co.uk> (07.12.2000)

This album has really grown on me. I think it is very well produced , and a vast improvement on Mind Games. 'Whatever Gets u Through The Night', 'No. 9 Dream', and 'Nobody Loves You'.... are fantastic.

Its no return to the form of Plastic Ono Band, or Imagine, but they were pretty creative dead ends so its a little much to expect that of every JL album. Its a basic pop/rock record really, but there's nothing wrong with that.

Palash Ghosh <palash7@hotmail.com> (16.02.2001)

Walls and Bridges is an improvement over Mind Games, but not by much. I really like 'Whatever gets you thru the night' (the only song here that has any life and energy in it) and 'Old dirt road' has a nice subtle melody and feel to it. Otherwise, this is just another pile of trash from a thoroughly dissipated talent.

One thing that really bothers me about this record is the excessive use of loud, irritating brass orchestration. Some of these numbers might've been rendered just a bit more tolerable if they were drowned down by those hideous ugly horns.

I can only wonder what Paul and George (not to mention the fans) thought as they watched John's precipitous decline.

Didier Dumonteil <dbdumonteil@wanadoo.fr> (08.03.2001)

M.Ghosh,at the time,George was on the wane too,so.As for Paul,although he enjoyed his golden records ,he wasn't an influential force anymore.Has he ever been one after the split?VoilÞ la question.

Walls and bridges,although it never matches the heights of POB and Imagine is a moving album.Unlike mind games,something vibrates within this platter.Anger,anxiety,disillusion,infinite sadness haunts the best tracks:"going down on love" "scared" "nobody loves you..." "what you got".Even when the music turns lighter, a bizarre feeling of bitterness percolates:"whatever gets you thru the night" "n°9 dream".The weird Nillsson album "pussycats" which JL produced at the same time shares the same gloomy atmosphere (hear,for instance the intense cover of J. Cliff's "many rivers to cross").Little did we know it would be John's last  "complete" album.

Glenn Wiener <glennjwiener@hotmail.com> (04.11.2001)

Pretty good but not on the level of Imagine or the best works from Double Fantasy. Truthfully I like 'What You Got' as its got some rock n roll in it. John's voice is overly strained but at least it diverts from the usual singer-songwriting mode that fills up this album. Don't get me wrong, there are many good songs-'Surprise Surprise(Sweet Bird Of paradise)', 'Bless You', 'Whatever Gets You Through The Night', 'Nobody Knows You When Your Down And Out', and 'Dream #9'. However each of these songs are comprimised but a steady horn or string arrangement. In some cases even both. Where is the energy and rock n roll? How about a good guitar or piano passage that existed throughout the Imagine album on such tracks as 'Give Me Some Truth', 'Crippled Inside', and 'Jealous Guy'. Shoot the drums on this release do very little. And the piano and guitar embellishements are certainly good but definitely stiffled. Good yes but certainly not essential.

By the way, the reason 'Ya Ya' was even included on the record had to do with a contractualy agreement for John to do a ocver song. John did not like the idea so he more or less half asses it. 'Beef Jerky' isn't offensive but most definitely filler and inappropriate.


ROCK'N'ROLL

Josh Fitzgerald <Twired1@aol.com> (15.07.99)

Lennon was all but forced to do an album of covers as a lawsuit settlement. It wasn't because he was running out of ideas (or maybe he was - it was the Lost Weekend).

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (23.05.2000)

A very entertaining album, though John's singing starts to get monotonous after a while. He's sings in the same range on every song. I particularly enjoy 'Ain't That A Shame,' 'Peggy Sue,' and the Little Richard medley ('Rip It Up' and 'Ready Teddy').

Josh is right about the lawsuit story. You might notice that the first couple of lines to 'Come Together' show up in the middle of 'You Can't Catch Me.' Morris Levy, who owned the publishing rights to that song, let John know that he considered this to be copyright infringement. To avoid a lawsuit, John agreed to record some songs owned by Levy.

The original sessions for this album took place at the end of 1973 (almost right after the recording of Mind Games, so we can't expect him to have had much new material at this point), and were produced by Phil Spector. Then, suddenly, Spector went into hiding and took the tapes with him. While John tried to get them back, he went about recording Walls And Bridges. Right after that album was finished (again, no time to come up with a lot of new songs), he went back into the studio to record some more songs for the oldies album, this time handling the production himself. At some point in late 1974, John gave Levy a copy of the masters. Then, in early Feb. 1975, a mail-order album appeared called Roots which sported 15 of the tracks recorded (Rock 'n' Roll has only 13). This album was on the Adam VIII label. The album notes claim authorization from Lennon and Apple. Not only was this authorization denied, but Apple rush-released Rock 'n' Roll by the end of the month to curtail sales of Roots. The Apple album, however, includes only four of the six Spector-produced tracks found on the other album ('You Can't Catch Me,' 'Sweet Little Sixteen,' 'Bony Moronie' and 'Just Because'). The Adam VIII album also includes 'Angel Baby' and 'Be My Baby,' both of which have surfaced in recent years. There are also some longer fade-outs on Roots, and in the case of 'You Can't Catch Me,' the opening lines appear where they belong, and were edited into the middle of the song for the Apple release (perhaps to distract us from their connection to 'Come Together'?)

Didier Dumonteil <dbdumonteil@wanadoo.fr> (08.03.2001)

The brass arrangements kill the songs!Only "Peggy sue" and "slippin' and slidin'" recall Lennon's great covers:"bad boy" "rock and roll music" "dizzy miss Lizzy" "money"."Be my baby" -sung with a delightful delicacy- and "Angel Baby" would have redeemed the project but they were left in the can for ten years or more.

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (03.12.2003)

Just a really fun exercise. The arrangements are a bit too horn-heavy for me, but that's just a minor complaint. Despite the edit that Robert mentions, this version of "You Can't Catch Me" does make it obvious that John accidentally nicked the riff when writing "Come Together." I agree that the peak track is "Stand By Me," which is one of those powerful, apocalyptic love songs. The original, (performed by the lead singer of the Drifters, Ben E. King, and written by Leiber-Stoller) is great, but John manages to preserve the original power of the piece and add his own stamp on it at the same time. Interestingly, this is one of only two songs that his father performed that Julian Lennon included in his live shows (the other being "Day Tripper.")

Incidentally, John won a countersuit against Morris Levy for putting out that shoddy Roots album. Good for him!


DOUBLE FANTASY

Simon Hearn <simon@leehearn.freeserve.co.uk> (09.09.99)

Hmmm. I always have said to any new listener, who doesn't own a Lennon album - "got get Imagine and Plastic ono band". I have to change my opinion. IT is a few months since I listened to this in its entirety and I have to say listening to it again has made my think that this is the best of his solo efforts.

'Watching the Wheels' is absolutely terrific - haunting, moving and at the same time it has a hopeful quality. Of course, 'woman' is a great track and shows Lennon as a guy who is not afraid to lay his emotions bare for all to see (owners of plastic ono band will know this only too well). I also love 'Beautiful Boy' - a song which makes my hair stand on end. All in all a class album deserving the 9, but now in my opinion, a 10.

Cara Bradbury <cara@bradbury.ukf.net> (27.03.2000)

Great album , but if you've already got the John Lennon Collection and don't like Yoko's songs too much ( they fill half the album ) I wouldn't bother buying it . The only different song on here is ' Cleanup time ' . But if you don't have the John Lennon Collection then go , go , go and buy Double Fantasy. The seven Lennon songs on here are fab .

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (23.05.2000)

Of course, buying The John Lennon Collection instead of Double Fantasy means not having 'Cleanup Time,' which would be more than just a missing song. It's arguably the strongest track on the album. It gets a good run for its money from 'Dear Yoko' (damn that's catchy stuff!) and 'Watching The Wheels.' I also enjoy 'Beautiful Boy' (he sounds more like a big teddy bear than a teddy boy, wouldn't you say?) and 'I'm Losing You' (the middle part melody is fantastic). The only Lennon song on here that doesn't quite do it for me is the drastically over-rated 'Woman.' I realize it's heartfelt and everything, but it's just so melodically unexceptional.

Then there's the Yoko stuff. I think her songwriting had improved over the years, but technically speaking, it still wasn't that great. However, the arrangements on her songs make all the difference. If you just pay attention to the arrangement of 'Beautiful Boys,' for instance, and ignore the flawed piece of songwriting that it actually is, it turns out to be a pretty amazing piece of music. This is the case with most of Yoko's tunes on here. While I like some more than others, I can't actually say that I dislike any of them. And even though some of them sound a bit dated now, they all seemed a lot more daring to my ears back in 1980 than any of the Lennon material on here.

Rich Bunnell <taosterman@yahoo.com> (31.07.2000)

I agree-- who cares about the Yoko songs? I get about fifteen seconds into "Kiss Kiss Kiss" and decide not to listen to a single second of her material for the rest of the album. Maybe there're only seven Lennon tunes, and thus most rational CD listenes will only program their CD for seven of the fourteen tracks. This is fine, because despite the fact that this gives you only approximately twenty-five minutes of Lennon material, it's ALL ace and makes up for the relative ripoff that this album might seem like. "(Just Like) Starting Over" is a gorgeously harmonized '50s-style hit single, "I'm Losing You" has a great weary guitar lick (why the hell does Prindle hate this song?), "Beautiful Boy" is pretty and memorable, and....well....all of Lennon's songs are amazing. Full-sounding, produced, these are seven pop masterpieces. I follow the exact same logic as you in that thanks to Yoko's songs the album can't achieve a 10, but it's still great enough to receive a very solid 9/10. What awesome songs!!!

Glenn Wiener <Glenn.Wiener@Entex.com> (23.10.2000)

John should have known better to let Yoko contribute her crappy songs to this album. John should have tried to write about three more. Than this would have been a recording that rivaled Imagine. But no he had to do the fifty fifty deal with his much less talented partner. Actually 'I'm Moving On' is pretty darn good as it follows the pattern of 'I'm Losing You' quite nicely. All of John's songs are fairly pleasant. However 8 winners out of 14 just don't cut it for me.

Dan Miller <m.miller1@tinyworld.co.uk> (07.12.2000)

I dont consider this a proper album. I combine the lennon tracks of M&H with these, and make a really excellent final JL album. I cant stand Yoko Ono, she irritates me greatly, call me a snob but I just cant listen to her "music" - its crap, there's no getting around it. My oh my, the times John must have laughed inwardley at Yokos insane babble. He must have been making this album with her for a laugh. To me it seriously taints the ease with which I can listent to the often brilliant final recordings of Johns.

Many critics had a go at him for producing banal pop rubbish, but I enjoy that aspect of this album. All the songs are great pop, and in 'watching the wheels' you had a great lyric also, but you cant help feel a little irate at the hypocracy of it. Lennon had continuously attacked Paul for making such music, and yet here he was singing all lovey-dovey about his woman. You'd think that people would have had enough of silly love songs - obviously not john, "and what's wrong with that?" as a certain Mccartney once said.

Palash Ghosh <palash7@hotmail.com> (16.02.2001)

When Double Fantasy came out, there was some excitement about John's return to recording. That goodwill carried over for a while, but upon closer inspection, this record is just more garbage (albeit, better-produced and somewhat sweeter garbage than the dreck he put out from 1972-1975). 'Watching the wheels' is a pretty solid song and "Beautiful boy" is a charmer, but the rest of it just REEKS.

Didier Dumonteil <dbdumonteil@wanadoo.fr> (09.03.2001)

Now "double fantasy " is forever linked to its context.Everytime you hear one of its tracks you're back in december 1980,this nightmare that never ends.Would "beautiful boy" have become so harrowing ,so endearing if..

?

Yoko's songs are sensible,therefore worthless.Why didn't they include "walking on thin ice" which features the best lines Y. has ever written and the most prodigious atmosphere she has ever created?(E.Costello butchered it on a bonus track of "punch the clock")

John has three classics here:

Woman:exponentially tuneful,wonderfully sung ,this song reaches for the sky  or for the stars.This ballad is on a par with "across the universe " or Paul's "here there and everywhere"

Starting over:Very close to the great Roy Orbison(when will he be on the site?),recalling the Beach Boys' "don't worry baby",it's a song "Þ tiroirs" .THe British press was harsh when this single was released:"Lennon wants to be slagged off ."The song began its live -as Lennon Anthologies shows- as a slow and wistful ballad,and it grew into a lush epic.The intro 's contrast with that of "mother" is absolutely stunning.

Watching the wheels:It's the key of the record.JL had earned his happiness,and he wanted a family life.THat's why this record  is very simple ,the most accessible Lennon has ever made.

The rest of the tracks:"I'm losing you" began its life at the times of walls and bridges(hear the demo "strangers' room" on L.A.)It was not that much strong in the first place but the events turned it in an almost haunted song;the end makes me think of a moan of agony."Clean up time " has lines taken from "cry baby cry".This one and "dear Yoko" provides the low points of the album.

Too  bad Lennon's comeback was so short-lived!

Devon Bott <devon@gtec.com> (02.05.2003)

I think that Yoko's songs on this album were better than John's. Dated? Maybe, if Bjork, Tori Amos, and Ani Difranco are anything tho, Yoko is the fairy godmother to all of them. You get a definate sense of her Japanese heritage in the melodies, and the songs are very touching. Of course, I can only listen to the album in the context of John's murder, so this album does tend to choke me up in places.


MILK AND HONEY

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (25.05.2000)

I guess the result of sharing Double Fantasy with Yoko was that John had a lot of extra songs lying around. I'm glad she decided to release these, as they're all pretty darned good (except maybe 'My Little Flower Princess' which seems pretty thin). 'Nobody Told Me' is damned infectious, even if the chorus is a jumbled mess. My favorite, however, would have to be 'Grow Old With Me' since it sports one of John's most beautiful melodies. I also think the demo turned out to be a good way to release this, since it's a song about growing old and sounds sort of antiquated like a 78 record. Yoko's songs don't hold up as well as on Double Fantasy. This may have something to do with Jack Douglas not being involved as a producer. There is a bit of interesting atmosphere on some of her tracks, but most of the songwriting is thoroughly unexceptional. In particular, 'O' Sanity' is pretty much a throwaway. And I actually feel a little guilty not liking 'Let Me Count The Ways,' since it's obviously very heartfelt and the lyrics are pretty good in spots. But, as far as the melody goes, it makes me think of drawings made by children. We applaud the 5-year-old for coming up with the piece of creativity, but when the 45-year-old comes up with something equivalent, we go to the yellow pages to look up mental health professionals.

As far as the direction music would have taken had Lennon lived, I strongly suspect it would be pretty much what it is. First of all, musicians don't tend to be particularly trendsetting once they hit their forties. And secondly, John Lennon, as consistent as his songwriting was, had stopped being innovative years before he died.

Didier Dumonteil <dbdumonteil@wanadoo.fr> (09.03.2001)

Don't consider it a genuine Lennon album.He had no control on the production and for a very good reason!Only one great song "grow old with me".Too bad the treatment was so crude.It deserved an orchestral arrangement.After a long and winding road,(!) G.martin(!) did it on the L.A:  he covered a weak tape with his strings.

"Nobody told me" "I'm steppin' out " and "I don't wanna face it" are decent but unexceptionnal tracks."Little princess" can easily be dismissed:it sucks.

Darren <dspitzer@livemarketing.com> (22.08.2001)

"Nobody Told Me." Don't it make you smile?


MENLOVE AVE.

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (25.05.2000)

Definitely for Lennonphiles only. Most of the tracks on side one are fully produced but not the best songs, while side two is basically The John Lennon Anthology, but focusing only on Walls And Bridges. I still enjoy several tracks, however, notably 'Rock And Roll People' (it's good to hear Lennon's own version of this track, which he gave away to Johnny Winter), 'Steel And Glass' (even a working version is worthwhile) and 'Here We Go Again' (which is interesting but not that great). I don't think there's anything terribly wrong with the rest of this stuff, but it should have been saved for the Anthology/Wonsaponatime project. And my, but that Phil Spector fellow sure knows how to glop on tons of production, doesn't he?

Teresa Juarez Guzman <ggr74017@prodigy.net.mx> (26.11.2000)

Probably, I'm the only person around willing to sit through this product again and again. My thoughts on "To know her..." are enough to defend the whole record as a must for music seekers of John Lennon through his crazy sessions in 1974: it surely reflects (looong and bluuuesy as it is; non pleasant for the ears but, damn, it shows a lot of passion!) the hurtful need for acceptance. After this, we get alternative versions (the best for sure, just compare the corny "Walls and Bridges"' number three track to the masterful, wistful Lennon-Nilsson's "Old Dirt Road" included in this compilation: all you need is waterrr... without those dated effects in the final take... ) of "Scared" (without the stupid howl), "Nobody Loves You (When You're Down And Out", "Steel And Glass" and "Bless You" (again, without the overproduced final take.) My argument? Because these were the first versions I ever listened, they've grown fond to me, independently (because?...) of their direct, more natural approach. It sure isn't a 10, nor a 9. But it's still very emotional and that means a lot to me, and I cannot rate my emotions easily. Or maybe I can. Dylan's Time Out Of Mind made me cry for about half an hour, and that would rate it above from Menlove Avenue!... Seriously: this (and Dylan's too!) is a fine album destined to a record collection for a lost weekend.

Didier Dumonteil <dbdumonteil@wanadoo.fr> (09.03.2001)

Yoko,searching for a few dollars more,scrapped the bottom of the barrel.

"Here we go again" is as pleasant to listen as to forget."Angel baby" has been on the bootlegs for so many time it doesn't interest anymore."To know her is to love her" is horrible ,because of the bombastic arrangements totally inadequate for this exquisite but intimate ballad.Prefer Spector's Teddy Bears'  version on the "back to mono " box set.The rest is outtakes and more garbage.

Eric Rogozin <erogozin@mtu-net.ru> (17.04.2001)

It's surely worth hearing and buying, because it has some new songs and wonderful glorious half-acoustic versions of songs from Walls And Bridges. "Steel And Glass" is one of my favourite Lennon songs ever and it's nice for me to hear another version (outtake) of this song. The same goes for "Bless You" - charming beautiful ballad. In short, side B is interesting.

When speaking about side A, it's also interesting. "Here We Go Again" and "Rock And Roll People" are hidden gems, "Angel Baby" and "Since My Baby Left Me" are interesting. About "To Know Her Is To Love Her", it's a very good song, but I have never heard such an IDIOTIC ARRANGEMENT of a good song like on this album. Remember the version of "To Know Her Is To Love Her" on Live at the BBC: it's so marvellous and exciting; but on Menlove Ave this song has very idiotic arrangement like I said before.

In general, Menlove Ave shows the greatness of John once more. 


WONSAPONATIME

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (01.06.2000)

I think this release was a pretty good idea, as it brings together the best (or so it seems) tracks from The John Lennon Anthology and puts them on one CD. I do think most of the better tracks were used, but there are a few instances where I would have chose differently. It seems a shame that 'I'm The Greatest' wasn't included, since it was probably the best Lennon song that wasn't released by Lennon. For those out there interested in trivial details, 'I'm Losing You' is the version in which Lennon is backed up by Cheap Trick. Also, 'God Save Oz' was released by the Elastic Oz Band under the title 'God Save Us' with Bill Elliott singing lead. Chronologically, it shows up between the 'Power To The People' single and the Imagine album. The b-side shows up on the Anthology, and is called 'Do The Oz', and is sung by John and Yoko (even on the record).

Overall, I think this is a pretty enjoyable CD. Some tracks sound pretty close to the official versions, but at least they're not over-arranged the way they were on Mind Games and Walls And Bridges.

mjcarney <mjcarney@netzero.net> (22.07.2000)

Basically, this isn't a bad summary of the 4 disc boxed set.  I don't own this, but own the boxed set, and I would say that this is average, but of course it is missing most of the best songs from the boxed set.  The biggest disapointment on this is the missing of "Imagine(Live)" which is instead replaced by the interesting, yet unrewarding 'Imagine Take one' (which is inferior to the original).  'Imagine Live' is breathtaking, just Lennon alone with an acoustic, it is for me what the song should have been, more folky rather than a piano ballad.  The disc is also missing most of Lennon's unreleased demo's from Disc 4 of the set.  "Dear John" "Life Begins at 40" and "The Happi Rishi Kesh Song" (for humor's sake) would have been great on here rather than the overly done "Grow Old With Me","I'm Losing You" and "Woman is the Nigger of the World (Live).  I mean--why do we need another version of that last song live when the one on Live in NYC is already far superior.  Of course some songs from disc one are missing too, but that is why it is only a one disc sampler.  It is pretty good, but I know for me that I would end up wanting the boxed set after hearing this disc making the disc completely useless in the long run.  If it had the anthologies best tracks, it would be all you would really need in the less expensive route, but as it is it can't get anything better than a 5/10--you will just want to hear more.

Didier Dumonteil <dbdumonteil@wanadoo.fr> (10.03.2001)

I own the whole thing too.It's a good job for Lennon's buffs.Yoko delivers the goods here.A whiter shade of paled "Imagine""long lost John which spawned "oh Yoko",the genesis of "Starting over" "mind games " and I'm losing you",funny spoofs on "Yesterday" and Dylan's "gotta serve somebody "("serve yourself").THe fourth disc is by far the most interesting because the rate of unreleased tracks is higher"life begins at 40" influenced by Hank Williams,"Rishi Kesh song'","Mr Hyde's gone" (Beautiful Boy n°2) and the couldn't -care-less but endearing "dear John"Lennon leaves us whistling ("It's real") as Otis Redding did in 1967.(docks of the bay")John 's solo career has perhaps not been the one we expected,but for what he have done,the least we can do is to thank him for having brought so much "bonheur" to thousands of people.Think that without him and his mates,your favourite site would not exist.So,hats off!


ANTHOLOGY

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HIT PACKAGES 
JOHN LENNON COLLECTION

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (01.06.2000)

Even casual fans who aren't completists should buy one of the Lennon compilations, if only to make sure they own 'Cold Turkey,' 'Instant Karma' and 'Happy Xmas' - three of his greatest songs. Not to mention 'Power To The People,' which is pretty strong, and 'Give Peace A Chance,' which is not terribly impressive but nevertheless historical. For those who are completists, well, you gotta have The John Lennon Collection in order to include 'Move Over Ms. L' in your collection. No other CD has it. Incidentally, four of the songs on the CD are bonus tracks not included on the original LP: the aforementioned 'Move Over Ms. L,' 'Cold Turkey,' 'Happy Xmas,' and 'Stand By Me.'

For those who want every Lennon recording, however, you still need to find Imagine: John Lennon, the CD that accompanied the film of the same name. This includes an acoustic guitar demo of 'Real Love' and Lennon demonstrating 'Imagine' for the first time to the session musicians. (It also includes several Beatles tracks.) And for those who want every odd mix of every Lennon track, you'd still need to find Shaved Fish, since there's an edited mix of 'Give Peace A Chance' which is erroneously listed as the first half of a 'medley' with 'Cold Turkey' (which is included in its complete form). There's also an experpt of a live 'Give Peace A Chance' which is superimposed onto the end of 'Happy Xmas.' Also.....Lennon Legend includes the single edit of 'Mother.'

P.S. Just as a correction, 'Give Peace A Chance' was the song credited to both Lennon and McCartney - not 'Cold Turkey.' In fact, I think Paul's rejection of the latter song was part of Lennon's impetus for keeping his name off of it.

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (03.12.2003)

Lennon was even a more erratic solo artist than McCartney, which is why a hits collection is enough for just about everybody. Collection does have a slight advantage over Shaved Fish, in my mind, since it excludes the cacophonous "Woman is the Nigger of the World"(the worst single John ever did) and includes all of the good stuff from the latter. Plus you get "Move Over, Ms. L," which is a really fun number. I find it interesting that it also includes "Love" in favor of "Mother." I guess the record company guys figured that people prefer the cuddly, vulnerable John to angry, suffering John. All of these tunes are great, though. You do get a sense of the range of John's talent, without having to hear how he also misused it at times.


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THE JOHN LENNON VIDEO COLLECTION

Gerard Nowak <gero@gower.pl> (31.05.2003)

The live version of "Imagine" is from a TV show called "Salute to Lew Grade". As far as I know, this concert was a part of an obligation imposed on Lennon in court, after Grade (apparently Chuck Berry publisher)had sued him for plagiarism on Berry in Beatles' "Come Together". McCartney said that Lennon knew the song was similar to one Berry song and asked Paul to arrange it in such a way to make this resemblance disappear - it seems they didn't succeed. That is why John's backing musicians wear those strange masks in the show, that's how THEY salute to Grade. Anyway, this performance (April 1975) was Lennon's last live appearance ever.


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