JOHN LENNON – ” John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band ” 50th Anniversary

Posted: December 16, 2021 in MUSIC
John Lennon Plastic Ono Band The Ultimate Collection

There’s a multitude of configurations of the 50th-anniversary edition of John Lennon‘s Plastic Ono Band album to choose from. It just depends on how committed you are to the singer’s first and best post-Beatles solo work, famously made under the influence of Dr. Arthur Janov’s primal scream therapy . The main prize, in any case, is the six-CD Ultimate Collection box set, which allows for the deepest dive imaginable into the iconic LP by way of 159 tracks (87 of which are previously unheard) and a revealing hardback book with lyrics and rare photos. It seems crazy that such a raw album of 11 songs should carry so much baggage. But it quickly becomes clear that Lennon and bandmates Ringo Starr and Klaus Voormann put a huge amount of effort into getting these songs, variously about abandonment, disillusionment, and love, exactly right.

Of huge value on the boxset, particularly with the “evolution mixes”, is the insight it provides into just how incredible and incendiary the three major players were as musicians and the chemistry between them in evolving these tracks. The many versions of the angry “I Found Out” showcase Voormann perfecting his distinctive brand of rumbling bassline, Lennon entering a whole new realm of abrasive guitar noise, and Ringo at his explosive and inventive best, never repeating himself on those fills.

It’s also fascinating to hear them try to nail “Remember”, with its complex tempo changes, as well as to hear “Love” turn from a guitar ballad into a tender piano ballad. Then there’s the hugely enjoyable studio banter, with Lennon expletive heavy, self-deprecating, and entertainingly frank about what he thinks of each take. All this while he proves, again and again, that he’s the greatest rock singer who ever lived.

Released 11th December in 1970 John Lennon’s first solo album after the breakup of the Beatles was released. Released on Apple Records, Yoko Ono’s similarly titled album was issued on the same day. Backed by the Plastic Ono Band, which included the artist and musician Klaus Voormann and Beatles bandmate Ringo Starr, the record was co-produced by Lennon, Ono and Phil Spector and is widely regarded as one of Lennon’s best solo albums.

Speaking recently about the anniversary of the album, Klaus Voormann remembered recording process:

‘To me, this album is the best of all albums I’ve ever heard. It’s so personal, [John] came into the studio with no songs, just sat down together with Yoko – always together with Yoko – and as quick as possible got what he just wrote onto tape. That was his aim and that’s what he did. We all understood.

Ringo was great and so we just played. Two takes mostly, and the thing was done. It’s brilliant. There’s mistakes in it and it doesn’t matter. The mistakes are OK, you know? Intimacy, that was the key. It’s so personal and so open to life – and you can hear it! Most of the records, it’s all covered by strings and big choirs and guitars, and he just did it really, really simple. It was such a great statement.’

SUPER DELUXE BOX SET CONTAINS: 6 CDs – 102 new Stereo Mixes – over 6 hours of audio. 2 Blu-Ray Audio Discs – 159 new Stereo Mixes – Over 11 hours of audio in Hi-Res 192/24 Stereo, 5.1 Surround and Dolby Atmos Mixes. 132 Page Hardback Book With Rare Photos, Memorabilia and Extensive Notes. WAR IS OVER! Poster and 2 Postcards.

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