Plastic Ono Band 8½ ( 1970, UK pos 11 )
Mother / Hold On / I Found Out / Working Class Hero / Isolation / Remember / Love / Well Well Well / Look At Me / God / My Mummy's Dead
John follows 'that' by producing a low-fi vocal screaming, soul baring...wonder. Yes, wonder. To be honest with you, whilst I’ve always appreciated The Beatles, and LOVED 'Revolver' especially, I'm not their biggest fan. I don't dislike them, very few of their albums were below average, maybe one. Most were above average, excellent even. All apart from maybe two or three. You can read my 'Beatles' page here, but for now we're talking John Lennon. 'Mother' is an astonishing way to open an album. The music is plodding almost but it suits the mood that is created. Producer Phil Spector puts plenty of echo on the drums, which is no surprise - but this song isn't really about the music. 'Mother' is all about the lyrics and the feeling behind them. The feeling behind them is emphasized by John's vocal performance. If anyone had any doubts before that here is a fantastic singer, hearing this would surely squash all doubts into the ground - a wonderfully intense performance. 'Hold On' is sweet, 'I Found Out' rolls along at a furious pace as John spits out the words with some venom. There is little in the way of 'easy' listening here. This isn't 'Yellow Submarine' you know? The whole album is obviously intended as a serious artistic statement.
'Working Class Hero' grates on me a little. Nothing especially wrong with it, but 'Working Class Hero'? I can't get that concept out of my mind. Maybe he was, you know? I wasn't around at the time. I don't know. I realise that's a cop-out :) I don't care. That song just doesn't do anything for me. Luckily 'Love' is a short, semi played, semi sung wonder. Quiet, and quite beautiful. How can you sum up 'Love'. The emotion, I mean, not the song? He does a pretty good job. It's poetry, really. A simple poetic exercise maybe. You know 'Love is.... Love is....', but impressive all the same. 'God' is another important lyrical statement. And, the whole album is just that. Important, historic, impressive. And, most importantly, enjoyable. Yes, after all that soul-searching and vocal screaming. It's good listening!
Danz235@aol.com How can this album possibly only recieve an 8? THis album ENDED the sixties. "The Dream is Over" is what old John-boy said, and man was he ever right, cuz after '69 it just went down hill. Now I may be only a 17 year old naive hippy wanna be, but all I know is every time I hear "God", I get chills throughout my body for about 15 minutes. "Isolation" has such a groovy melody that it always sticks in my head. Working Class Hero isn't grating, its angry. John is pissed off man. No, hes not pissed, hes FUCKING pissed, you know? With an acoustic guitar and his voice he gets across so much emotion, the kind of emotion that these generic heavy metal bands try to get this across. THis is one of the top 20 albums of all time, friends, and it is so minimilistic and pissed off that it will stand the test of time forever.
Jason Motell JMOTELL@stny.rr.com I actually got pissed when I read your review on "Working Class Hero." To be fair, Lennon was not working class growing up, but that should not take away from the raw emotion that seeps through this song. You praise Dylan's "Masters of War" yet do not like this song?!?!?! The messages are similar, the moods are exactly the same, and Lennon sounds like he ripped off the melody a little, but "Working Class Hero" just knocks me out completely (Not that "Masters of War" doesn't--I think that song is great beyond words as well). "Imagine" maybe should be the British National Anthem, but "Working Class Hero" is the ultimate "Fuck the Government" song. I couldn't agree more with Dan235 and feel that this album will last forever.
Malcolm Dalziel email@example.com This is a cast iron 10, now i'm not easily impressed but to my mind i have only ever heard two albums that are better than this, Revolver and The Stone Roses (the closest you'll get to perfection by the way) on lyrical content alone this is a 10. As John himself said, of this album "all meat and no fat”
paradigmalexandria firstname.lastname@example.org I absolutely disagree with Platic Ono Band being an 8 1/2. You have to be kidding! This album is, in my opinion, the finest moment of any solo Beatle, and on par with any grand Beatles album- perhaps better simply because of the raw emotion felt throughout. This was a pinnacle record, and every song on here is woven together to present the story of this man's feelings and emotions at this point in his life. Its a masterpiece. I guess most people can prefer over-produced, sappy records, but POB is completely, totally a 10. I could go further. God is one of the most breathtaking songs ever written.
Kpn86@aol.com what the fuck only 8 1/2 what you on boy ?? I agree with all these guys and gals about 'Plastic Ono Band' . This album did end the 60's and there wasnt any other album that could have done that. I thank you, taxi for Adrian, no offence. "If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace." - John Lennon
This is the only good solo album by Lennon. Far better than "Imagine", though not perfect either. Really, "Well, Well, Well" can't be listened to for long, it is simply not interesting enough musically. In the genre, the best Lennon did was "I Want You" on "Abbey Road". That said, I consider "Mother", "I Found Out", "Working Class Hero", "Love" and "God" as very good stuff. "Hold On" is charming as well. The rest is weak.
I would rate it 8. And I would rate "Imagine" only 7 if not 6, despite my strong love of its three songs (1, 3 & 6).
Fidel Saúl Juárez Guzmán email@example.com
These comments would make you believe that feelings of deliberate anger and frustration ('raw emotions'... whatever) instantly produce great music. Then let us force to acknowledge another John -but this time Johnny Rotten, as an underrated musical genius instead of a walking-singing time bomb.
For brilliant minimalism I'd take Dylan's (the Zimmerman sadly Lennon doesn't believe in) Freewheelin' or Elton John's acting of a Talking Old Soldier in Tumbleweed Connection. I'd lower POB to a plain (low? ugly? hilariously overrating?) 8 because, in spite of my love for the man's music, "Well Well Well" and "Look At Me" (Julia part deux) could only stand as outtakes in the Beatles quality book, considering not only Abbey Road but the much maligned Let It Be (Hell, "Dig A Pony" would have been a highlight for this solo collection). Oh, and Lennon was one of the perpetrators for "over-production" in pop music. Am I right? Let us never forgive him for that pretentious piece of crap "Strawberry Fields Forever".
Rob Eustace firstname.lastname@example.org Sorry guys, I just don't buy this one at all. Fantastic as the Beatles were, the
bands body of solo work just doesn't stand up at all. Both Lennon and McCartney for
some reason clearly felt they had to underplay their creative genius with their
first "proper" solo releases. Both are underproduced, stripped down uninspiring
efforts. Harrison's "All Things Must Pass" blows both into the middle of next week,
but then this is largely due to the fact that Georges album was stockpiled with
Beatle rejects from the previous three years. Plastic Ono Band is no more than a 7
for me and I personally rate Lennon's entire solo ouput as one major anti-climax.
You should have stuck to what you did best John, Working Class Hero indeed, I'm
afraid I'm with you on that one Adrian.
Reidar Samuelsen email@example.com So - John Lennon was not a working class hero? Maybe he wsn't even a hero? What is a hero, by the way? And what on earth does 'working class' mean? What does putting people into boxes (i.e. 'classes') mean? What does it say about a culture that we put people into classes - like 'stand in the fucking place you were fucking born, and don't you fucking try rocking the bloody boat, d'you hear?!'
I feel that these are the issues John Lennon raises in this song, "Working Class
Hero", after having been born and not been wanted by his Liverpudlian parents and
then seen the British society from behind the scenes - so to speak - of the so-called well to do. John never seemed comfortable about being successful or being a pop star, did he? At least he didn't handle it that well, did he? And being handed over to his uncle and aunt (however kind and good they were to him) what sort of 'class' does that put him in then? (Certainly not the bourgeoisie, does it?)What does it do to a ten! year old when he realizes that his 'parents' are not his real parents? (And what the fuck does 'real' in this case mean, anyhow?) And how is a ten year old told that he does not live with his real parents (in Liverpool in the beginning of the fifties)? These are all thoughts that run through me head when I listen to this stunning record (and by the way - listen to that voice). Put on this record and listen to
King of Rock'N'Roll, no less. For me - Elvis does not reach Lennon's ankle, and I don't care that Lennon himself would probably vehemently disagree with my opinion. But then again, there you go. You can't please them all, can ye? (Even though Lennon himself came close, didn't he?)
Jennifer firstname.lastname@example.org I truly disagree with this rating of 8 1/2 for John Lennon's POB. I understand that
you or entitled to your opinion, but I just can't believe anyone could rate this
album lower than a 10. To my ears it is simply a masterpiece, a brilliant piece of
raw, nparalleled soul-spilling. And I find it ridiculous when people have to
critique certainlyrics to songs without understanding their true meaning. "Working
Class Hero" is a beautiful song, and it came from somewhere deep in John. Where
does it say that you have to actually 'be' so-and-so in order to represent it well?
How many famous writers, speakers, activists throughout history were able to convey
their feelings on matters they never personally experienced well? Many. And John's
family was working class, if you count that he lived in a dingy little crap room
with his mother before she gave him up to her sister to move in with another man.
Anyways...this is real stuff. This album is perfect. I find no flaws. I rate it a
brian email@example.com The Nirvana album of it's day! raw, powerful,intense and very painful. A brave release (especially 34 years ago!)where Lennon lays his soul bare. I can't fault it,Lennon's greatest achievment outside of you know who.10 out of 10br> DLFOusetunes@aol.com I rate this as Lennon's finest solo album, but one thing all your correspondents have failed to pick up on is that this is the product of a man being allowed - at long last - to say the stuff he'd been wanting to say for the past 8 years. The case here, is conditioning, the squeeky clean John that Brian Epstein helped create in order to supply the Beatles to the Established World of Entertainment. Lennon (and indeed George Harrison) absolutely hated that. Lennon was happy in the leathers, playing the stomping rock tunes he had played in the Reeperbahn and the Cavern. All these people now really interested in the 'pop' of the Beatles were the same bastards who didn't give a shit to the young Lennon struggling through education and 'the world' in the early fifties. Now Lennon had been conditioned and ofcause, famous and rich, they were all there like the sycophantic slags that society is made up of. John Lennon had been restrained from saying what he thought ! and from playing in a way he wanted. Minus the drugs, would you see Pepper's as typical Lennon stuff? No, me neither. Lennon was always rock and attitude and by the time the Beatles had called it a day (okay, Paul took that particular mantel), it must have felt like John could breathe again. Angry? Certainly. Pissed off? Sure. But Plastic Ono Band is the real John Lennon and recorded with absolutely no gimmickry - indeed, an echo chamber is as technical as the recording process gets. Any sane person would perhaps have recorded this stuff for their own listening. But Lennon had been made into a public figure and whilst raising those two fingers to all and sundry, in Plastic Ono Band he provided a musical equivalent of his raising his spectacles in a heated moment to declare: 'Hey, it's only John'. To me, this is the most emotionally draining album I have ever heard. It leaves you sad and yet, probably because as human beings we can all relate to i! t in whole or part. Those bells that open the album a! re a sou nd of doom. Who else would launch their 'solo career' like this? No 'thanks very much, you've been wonderful' from John Lennon. Just a sense of 'the Beatles? So what?'
Phantom Gtowner firstname.lastname@example.org It's an interesting LP to say the least but it just seems too raw for my tastes. That it's considered his masterpiece to some is puzzling to me. But there's lots of truths here, especially "Working Class Hero".
You may laugh, but I thought the "Imagine" LP was a return to form.
gavin thorburn email@example.com this album is without doubt the best solo beatle album.i have never heard such a moving collection of songs that really show the pain and hell lennon was going through at the time.never in the history of music had anybody put their very soul on record quite like that.ahead of its time.
john, county kildare firstname.lastname@example.org a fine piece of vinyl indeed. "working class hero" is a perfect example of how to craft a perfect song. john doesn't take any sides, or try to be politically correct, as was sometimes his lyrical downfall, he just tells the truth, and leaves us all feeling a little dirtier and uneasier, after every listen. kind of like a flawed shakesperian character having a rude awakening, and realising that we're all just as guilty as each other. the honest, dirty as a lancashire coal mine guitar work, gets me going on every listen. 9/10.
gazza email@example.com Again the common misconception that imagine is the better album continues . This is far more potent and soulful if lacking in pop hooks. It remained the only time lennon actually reached down within himself and showed all the facets of his character. Its hard not to feel sad for someone so deeply conflicted and in so much pain .
"love" sees him cooing like a baby for his ideal, "mother" sees him screaming his pain . "i found out" and the awesome "working class hero" see him spitting out his disillusionment .This is as far away from abbey road as you can get and an uncomfortable listen but a rewarding one . John was an incredible talent but it shouldnt be forgotten that their was a much darker side to his muse .
billy joe want to talk about Green Day. More precisely I want to talk about their cover of John Lennon's "Working Class Hero", a clever reinvention of a classic song. End sarcasm. I have no problem at all with bands like Green Day and Limp Bizkit (who recently covered The Who's "Behind Blue Eyes") endlessly polluting the world with their own self-penned sub-mediocre material, but when they take a stone-cold masterpiece (albeit a rarely heard one outside of the music lovers' elite) by one of the absolute immortal gods of 20th century music, and deliver a practical identical take of the song with their own lame screaming-baseball-fan voices and package it up to today's generation of dumbshit kids as "new music for the great unwashed", my blood starts to boil start slightly. Partially because they are clearly inferior versions that the masses will be exposed to, but mostly because the ignorant masses are actually exposed to such classic songs at all when they clearly don't deserve to b! e (that's just the music elitist in me talking). Specifically I feel like taking to young Billy Fucking Joel with his own fucking baseball bat and then fuck the rest of the band of cheerleaders up the arse with it. I also feel like destroying every Green Day album in every record store with a 200 mile radius, but I won't because they would probably be counted as sales. And the last thing I want is for fucking Dookie (who the fuck gets away with naming their album after a batch of semen anyway?) to reach fucking number 1 on the charts and knock (up) Fergie off the top. I hate Rolling Stone magazine for awarding the pile of shite 3 stars, at least 3 and a half too many. Oh, but it's a clever choice of material by Green Day? What a load of bullshit. I will bet the lives of my entire family that young Billy Joel has never listened to 'Plastic Ono Band' in his life. It's the irritating cunning move of a speckly-faced A&R geek to take Billy aside and tell him to wash the cum of h! is bandmates out of his mouth and gargle his way through a Joh! n Lennon classic which the "kids are sure to love". And aparently they do. I suppose we have to blame the original artists (or their estates) for actually permitting these atrocities to reach the airwaves. I guess I look at the spectacled, ridiculously-weak-voiced Sean Lennon for blame then, but come on, Pete Townshend is still alive. Does he really need the extra few bucks in royalties to subscribe to more kiddy-porn sites? Then again, Townshend was never as great as Lennon. "Behind Blue Eyes" just happens to be a beautiful song. Until that fat prick took to it with his voice and an even fatter prick (presumably) adding some pointless electronic gaseous elements into the mix. Fucking cunts. And that goes for Green Day too. As much as I used to dig Longview back in the days, I pledge to dispose of every compilation CD in my collection that contains a Green Day song (except for this particular one which also has "Yeah Right" by Dinosaur Jr - anyone know where else I can get that song! ?), and I urge any of you with a conscience and at least a partial love of music to do the same. Just don't fucking buy them back in a month's time. And whatever you do, do not buy the new fucking Green Day album. If you think "Working Class Hero" is a cool song, get Lennon's own "Plastic Ono Band", or if you're weak, "Lennon Legend" or if you have no place on this earth, just fucking download his own version of the song and "Imagine" and make your own "The Very Best of John Lennon for Retards" album. That's right, you don't deserve to enjoy real art. Go back to the days when the only cover versions bulleting up the charts were cheesy dance versions of yawningly-familiar and not-all-that-great songs anyway (see "Boys of Summer" and any Bryan Adams song). But leave the classic firmly and solely in the ears of those who deserve to hear them. And leave the fucking baseball bat up kid Billy Joel's arse in the meantime. Actually, attach Fred Durst's to the other end while you're! at it. Fucking cunts.
Imagine 9 ( 1971, UK pos 1 )
Imagine / Crippled Inside / Jealous Guy / It's So Hard / I Don't Want To Be A Soldier / Give Me Some Truth / Oh My Love / How Do You Sleep? / How? / Oh Yoko!
John surrounds his songs in a more crowd pleasing and mellow production style, but the songs are actually just as hard hitting lyrically as before. Who cares anyway? 'Imagine' should be made the new British national anthem, and that’s that! I realise that's hardly an objective viewpoint, but what the piss? 'Crippled Inside' is so very funny and happy! Two classic songs to open then, not just one? YES! You have to admit, 'Crippled Inside' is nothing serious, its just John tossing around ideas, but the music is perfectly formed, if slightly ramshackle in execution. Always charmingly so though, and the whole thing is just so John. The opening of 'Jealous Guy' always makes me cry. ALWAYS. I'm listening to it now, actually. The goose bumps have started, the eyes are watering. I've had sadness in my life and lots of people have. Paul was always seen as the man of the people, but what the hell is this? This is John Lennon writing an emotional heartbreaker, a song you can cry to, drowning in sorrow or equally as a slow dance with a loved one - in celebration. It's a work of genius. The subsequent ( and many ) cover versions have never quite captured the beauty and simplicity of this original version. This is still the best version, and it's another classic song, no question. Not everything is classic though. Is 'Its So Hard' classic? Really? You like it? Well, there’s nothing obviously wrong with it, just that it's a standard blues progression and nothing more.
'I Don't Want To Be A Soldier' sounds so good. Mr Spector out did himself here. Turn up the volume, listen to this loud. It's funky! It's good! 'Gimme Some Truth' hits hard lyrically and doesn't have obviously pleasing to the ears music or melodies but still is unmistakably by the same hand that played a large part in writing many Beatles classics. A great guitar part in the middle section helps. 'Oh My Love' is dreamily mellow, in the manner of 'I'm Only Sleeping' from 'Revolver'. No psychedelia here, but who cares? It's still a lovely song. 'How Do You Sleep?' whether directed at Paul McCartney or not, is still a largely tuneless dirge. 'How' is a little too syrupy, a song where the Phil Spector liking for string sections possibly wasn't such a good idea. But! BUT! Just as the album is slipping away, 'Oh Yoko!' comes in, one of the happiest songs ever written. By that I of course mean, in terms of making the listener happy! He wrote a love song about and for Yoko. He could have just played it to her and never recorded or released it. The lyrics are poetry, the melody is so very uplifting and the vocal performance one of Johns best. A Bob Dylan style harmonica comes in towards the end of the song which only makes me smile even wider! It sounds slightly silly, but that's a good thing. Silly is smile. This is ultimately a great album, even with one or two moments of filler. Enough all time classic songs see to that.
Simon Brigham firstname.lastname@example.org This album is so overrated it's hilarious. The only great songs are Imagine, How can you sleep? and Oh Yoko. The rest are awful to mediocre. peace and love.
James Harrison email@example.com 'Imagine' in my opinion is a 10. Its complete in its simplicity, and you go through so many different moods during the album. I think that it is Lennon at his best, as a post Beatle that is.
God knows I adored John Lennon for "Imagine", and "Jealous Guy". I simply can't believe some other comments on this review neglect "Jealous Guy", one of Lennon's best melodies. But, honestly, this album isn't a masterpiece, and is over-rated. That won't justifie either why Lennon is so hated by some people! Himself was considering "Plastic Ono Band" better, and he was right. "Gimme Some Truth" is also one of the Lennon songs that would deserve to be in any of his Best Of (but usually forgotten). All the rest isn't indispensible.
Not a 10,but pretty fucking close! If u can't enjoy,"Jealous Guy" and feel touched by it's sheer beauty and honesty,you have no soul and should be made to listen to Capitol Radio for the rest of your life.
Simon Brigham firstname.lastname@example.org I looked at the other reviews posted, and I remembered that I forgot to put "Jealous Guy" as one of the great songs (in my opinion) on the album. So thanks. :) (Although, I still don't like "I Don't Wanna Be a Soldier" and "Gimmie Some Truth" - - - I think they're too repetitive.) If only Plastic Ono Band and Imagine were put together as one album (and stipped of the not-good to mediocre songs). THEN it would be his best album. (In My opinion.) Here is the tracklist of the *IMAGINARY* album: SIDE ONE: 1. Mother 2. I Found Out 3. Working Class Hero 4. Isolation 5. God SIDE TWO: 1. Imagine 2. Jealous Guy 3. Oh my Love 4. How Do You Sleep? 5. Oh Yoko! Thanks for your time :)
bass player edd email@example.com
i am a huge beatles fan and think John is a genious but i felt his solo career was
disappointing. Imagine has to be the most overrated song ever.
N.M. firstname.lastname@example.org look man i know you dislike the beatles but this album is a slam dunk 10. The opening track should be enough and then we get "jealous guy", "oh my love", "gimmme the truth", "how" and "Oh Yoko" this is an amazing album. BE FAIR!!!!!
DLF email@example.com If you'll excuse me, I'll leave the title track for now. Lennon's second album proper, contains moments of sheer beauty (Jealous Guy - my favourite ever Lennon song), hatred with humour (Crippled Inside), sheer angst (How Do You Sleep), acoustic folksy tom foolery (Oh Yoko), more finger pointing (Gimme Some Truth) and gentle calm (Oh my Love). Then there's the wonderful How? More proof of the wide range of John's song writing skills. On Imagine John is that little bit more relaxed than on its predecessor Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. But, only just! There are some vitriolic attacks on his former song-writing partner and on the state (education, adults, life). Infact, it's really only the lush production that gives these songs the soft edge. If this album was recorded like Lennon/Plastic Ono Band it would be a totally different matter. Anyway, along with the production and pleasant orchestrated sections we get a star performance from George Harrison. His nasty, g! ritted teeth solo on How Do You Sleep is stunning. It really is a musical equivalent of John's snarled words. I think it's fair to say George shared John's ahem, 'dislike' of Paul at this point of his life! George also contributes neat finger picked notes to Oh My Love, slide to the slightly overlong I Don't Wanna Be A Soldier and slide and dobro to Crippled Inside. There's also another angry slide section on Gimme Some Truth. And so to the title track. I believe this song was never intended to become the anthem that it has. Lennon's death propelled it to new and I might add, undeserving heights. To me it's a missrepresentation of John. For once, his lyrics let him down. 'Imagine no possessions' he asks while sat in the White Room at his piano in his multi-million pound estate. Don't get me wrong, it is indeed a beautiful song but come on! If John had known what it would become after his death he'd have probably deleted it!! Still, the album is a ! corker although I do rate Lennon/POB just that little bit more! !
badger firstname.lastname@example.org Just have to comment on the,''imagine no posessions'' criticism. Yeah, he was rich,blah,blah,blah..........buthe's saying,to IMAGINE that's all...just IMAGINE.....he's not saying that he himself is in that situation,he was well aware of how rich he had become!.it's the samme lazy criticism that always comes out about the song, I mean,he wasn't fighting in Vietnam but still wrote,''Give peace a chance'',is that wrong? do you have to be at war to talk about peace? or be poor to write about IMAGINING not having possesions???(which is only one line in the f*&king song anyway!)it's like criticising Lennon for writing a great song like,"Working clas hero'' because he wasn't bought up quite in that ''working class''environment-having his mum killed by a drunk copper when he was about 10 and being dumped on his auntie was hardly a fantastic start in life! I don't remember him going to public school or University and you wouldn't see nice bland Public school boys like Chris Martin or! that bunch of comformists Keane,sleeping in a shite hole at the back of a cinema and backing whores onstage for hours and hours for little or no money in Hamburg ,just to try and pursue their dreams of making it oneday.........anyway,back to Imagine. It's a beautiful and moving song,no matter how familiar it is nowadays.
Phantom Gtowner email@example.com A major developement in Lennon's solo career. The best tracks Give Me Some Truth, Jealous Guy, Oh Yoko, Imagine and others are well worth a listen. How Do You Sleep is a slowed down rip-off of Love Potion #9 and easily one of the LP's low points. Don't argue with Paul in public, John. It's so low class.
john, county kildare firstname.lastname@example.org i've never been turned on by the title track. sorry, i know it means so much to so many people, and john deserves kudos for doing his best. i just can't stand its harriet harmann and tony blairisms. it's not john's fault that "imagine" has been hijacked as an anthem of political correctness, as opposed to the honourable intentions that he meant for it, but i just have to pass on it. again, sorry. apart from that, the album is a fine piece of work, although i do agree with the comments on john washing his laundry in public i.e. "how do you sleep" leave mccartney alone, ok!!! he's a good bloke and deserves more respect. i would gave "imagine" 9/10, as an overall album.
gazza county kildare email@example.com This album marked the end for john as a songwriting talent - when he moved to the USA his songwriting deteriorated even further , i think he may have wrote 3 or 4 good songs on the later albums combined .
This is a more polished album that the 1st - clearly more musical arrangements were created here than the emotional
drive which fuelled the 1st album.
Jealous guy and gimme some truth are by far the best tracks here - and i dig the string arrangement on "how do you sleep" but the title track is a pampered millionaires witterings , and how and crippled inside smack of self pity .
As talented and as instinctive an artist as lennon was he was also clearly easily led , and this record was obviously aimed at getting airplay and commercial reward rather than baring his soul - which is strange as one would have thought lennon would have concentrated on more raw material as thats why he left the beatles in the 1st place ?
danny firstname.lastname@example.org Did you ever hear the live version of Jealous Guy buy Roxy Music (off the High Road)? I'd say it ties the Imagine version. Filled out with the soul singers and full band, it really blows the original away. But the fragility of the original vocal can be just as engaging I suppose. Certainly one of the best songs ever written. As far as the Imagine LP goes, I like it better than any one album that the Beatles did. There's more wit to this album than any other Beatles associated release that I've heard, and I think that's why it's my favorite. I'm still trying to hunt down a copy of POB to compare it though.
Carolyn email@example.com I just started to listen to John's Imagine album after not playing it for several years,I haven't played any solo John Lennon albums in a few years because it's always too depressing,it just rubs in further what an extremely talented singer,song writer,(and guitar player too, Eric Clapton says in an online interview called,Eric Clapton In His Own Words,that John was a pretty good guitar player,and he would have known since he played live in concert with John as a member of John's 1969 Plastic Ono Band)John was and how a crazy obsessed fan took him away! Anyway I listened to the whole Imagine album and it's even better than I remembered it! Every song is very good,and John's music is so good too not just his lyrics, which just demonstrates that he was always a very talented music composer not just a great poet and singer,and his typical beautiful singing voice. I don't think How Do You Sleep is tuneless at all,I hate to admit liking anything thats angry ag! ainst Paul,but it's a pretty good song,the music is funky,and it's actually creepy the way John sang it he sang it differently on purpose from anything else on the album,and you can really hear what John could be like when he was hurt and angry,more than what he shows on this song,but this song shows it. He wrote this out of being hurt from some digs by Paul and Linda on Paul's Ram album. I don't think any song on here is filler at all,and Oh My Love is beautiful,Give Me Some Truth and It's So Hard are great rock so is I Don't Want To Be A Soldier.
Mind Games 7 ( 1973, UK pos 13 )
Mind Games / Tight As / Aisumasen (I'm Sorry) / One Day (At a Time) / Bring on the Lucie (Freda Peeple) / Nutopian International Anthem / Intuition / Out the Blue / Only People / I Know (I Know) / You Are Here / Meat City
Inbetween this and 'Imagine' John released ( together with Yoko ) an album titled 'Sometime In New York City'. John and Yoko worked with political themes and produced an album that was certainly no way to follow-up either of his first two solo efforts. Still, it was perceived by the public at large as a John & Yoko 'weird' effort and not perceived as an album proper. John would do these things sometimes and stick the material out there into the market place whereas a more conservative Paul would keep such material behind closed doors. Anyway, one result of this was that 'Mind Games', when it appeared, was perceived by some as a return to form. Smart move, John. Release a pile of dung as a follow-up to 'Imagine' so your next effort is welcomed with open-arms more than it otherwise would have been! Still, let's talk about the title song instead. It's rather perfect Lennon/Beatles pop. Love the vocals, adore these vocals. These vocals carry the composition above rather standard rock/pop music. Well crafted music mind, as is the chugging, echo filled, light pop carry on from 'Imagine' that is 'Tight As'.
Worthy lyrics here and there. John focused more on lyrics, Paul more on the melodies and the musical side..... it's a cliché, but it's true. Which do YOU prefer? Nice musical moments do abound, though. Nice musicianship and great Lennon vocals. Just the sound of his vocals is almost enough, in places. I love the sweet harmonies of 'One Day' and 'Freda People' is a great Lennon pop song that works for me and should for you, too.
Things carry on, clever lyrical word-play, decent if unadventurous musical themes. Great sounding vocals with the lyrics trying to provide the albums beating heart, because the music doesn't. The music is just rather nice - no rawness aka 'Plastic Ono Band' and no great melodies aka 'Imagine'. Comes across as light pop music all these years later. You know, like Crowded House or something..... Controversial? 'I Know' is a nice song with sweet guitar parts and works as a good pop/rock song. 'You Are Here' sounds like the sort of material Paul may easily have produced in the mid-seventies. It's nice pop but it doesn't scream, it doesn't shout and it doesn't change anybodies life. Doesn't make anybody swoon and unless you happened to be a Lennon fan already, probably wouldn't convert you to the Lennon cause, whatever that happened to be. The guy made music, and did it well. That's all. 'Mind Games' is just another Lennon album. That's it, really. Oh, before I go. I really don't like 'Meat City', it's messy to my ears and lacks much of a purpose other than picking through Johns lyrics is you're the kind of person that enjoys doing such things.
Well, I would probably give the same note. With "Walls & Bridges", this one is just honest, but kind of average from Lennon. But it's still Lennon, and I think his fans should enjoy it. For myself, it's just okay. I can live without. To me, "Mind Games", "Aisumasen", "One Day (At A Time)" and "Out The Blue" are pleasant. But I think Lennon's *genius* stopped around 1971. Though songs like "Woman" and "Grow Old With Me", a few years later, were far to be bad.
Steve Slydaddy05@optonline.net By the time this album was released John Lennon must have realized his joint efforts with Yoko Ono on vinyl were not what the people wanted & weren't working. But it was a little late.People were getting sick to death of their antics & just wanted to hear good music. Such was not the case with Mind Games. Johns creativity at this point sounds amateurish,lackluster & far from the genius he professed to be. Mind Games is really a feable attempt to bounce back from Sometime In New York City (which in my opinion is more of a Yoko Ono solo album). Aside from Mind Games, Out of the Blue is the strongest cut. Walls & Bridges is far better than this weak, weak album. This should have been titled B sides & throwaways. A very poor showing from a ex-Beatle. I'll be generous & say its a weak 5.
kevin cramsey firstname.lastname@example.org "Mind Games" is the only good song, and it is quite good. The rest is either dull ("Out the Blue," ) or inane ("Bring on the Lucie." John just didn't seem to have his heart in this. Mere product.
Walls And Bridges 5 ( 1974, UK pos 6 )
Going Down On Love / Whatever Gets You Thru The Night / Old Dirt Road / What You Got / Bless You / Scared / #9 Dream / Surprise Surprise / Steel And Glass / Beef Jerky / Nobody Loves You / Ya Ya
John, john, john. What you done, John? You see, 'Walls And Bridges' isn't really very good, is it? Oh, ok. It's not awful or anything, because you do get the vocals of John Lennon, singer of many famous Beatles hits, and you do get the Phil Spector, totally ill-suited to John Lennon whilst very suited to George Harrison ( who dumped him! ) production style. I can barely listen to this album, it's a good job John took a few years off to find himself and came back with commercial material that people actually liked. 'Mind Games', whilst not peak John form, at least had a few moments that reminded you of his integrity and who he actually was. Not that for 'Walls And Bridges'. Second song 'Old Dirt Road' is so lacking in anything that anybody who doesn't adore MOR might go for, that it's akin to selling out. Elsewhere, we have some funkiness! The opening tune, 'Going Down On Love' sounds very funky, yet sounds so ill-conceived considering John's public image, that's it's rather like the cover art to his and yoko's 'Two Virgins' album. Disgusting, something you want to turn away from. Elton John would have rejected material such as 'Going Down On Love' as being too weak, neither George nor Paul, I doubt even Ringo would have been happy to sing such insipid material as 'Going Down On Love'. We move on. 'What You Got' gets even more funky than the opening 'Going Down On Love', yet it seems John couldn't really do funk if his life had depended on it. Even the lyrics are trite and simplistic and lord only knows what on earth was going on with John for this 'Walls And Bridges' project. You've got problems? At least be professional in the recording studio. This is utter tripe that I can barely bring myself to listen to. Let's face facts, if he wasn't beatle-john, and was an unknown, he couldn't have even got a deal with the vast majority of the material contained on this particular record.
'Steel And Glass', if we ignore the emotional aspect of 'Beatle-John' singing it, would have most listeners turning away if it had been recorded by, I don't know, Alvin Stardust. Gary Glitter. Those names are valid names to throw in here, by the way. Valid names, they were both recording more enjoyable songs that most of what appears on this particular album. And, the lyrics are awful, since when did John write such bad lyrics? Still, 'Beef Jerky' is ok and 'Nobody Loves You' is actually good. The closing 'Ya Ya' sounds like the kind of material he would have vomited upon whilst being in The Beatles, yet it's good enough to close his 1974 solo 'Walls And Bridges' album. What, his ears suddenly fell off??? Still, at least two singles, 'Whatever Gets You Thru The Night' and '#9 Dream' were hit singles for him and good enough to be mediocre. Actually, '#9 Dream' gets this album an extra point. It's dreamy. <
Adrian, my friend, I think you're being a little too hard on Our John and cannot share your obvious disappointment over Lennon's 1974 offering Walls and Bridges. Personally, I rate this above Mind Games (whose flat production is more akin to McCartney's dreadfully produced Band on the Run), but significantly lower than both Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine. I'ts certainly better than Sometime in New York City: Now THAT'S a five out of ten rating! With one or two exceptions, Walls and Bridges is quite a strong collection of well crafted, well performed and beautifully produced songs. Agreed, with the exception of #9 Dream - which no-one else in the whole world could have written - the songs aren't as strong as most of his earlier material but in the main you hear a mellower John, a maturer John and in my humble opinion, this album offers Lennon's finest vocal performances ever committed to tape. Moreover, did we really want another album full of angry Joh! n? This is quite a nice album to chill to, Sunday afternoon more than MOR. 7 out of ten.
Carolyn email@example.com Like Paul's Red Rose Speedway I totally disagree with your poor rating for Walls and Bridges! I have loved this album for years and it's better than Mind Games. All of his songs on here are very good up until the Ya Ya. This album alonng with his first Plastic Ono Band are my favorite Lennon solo albums. And number 9 Dream is so beautiful!
Pablo Castro firstname.lastname@example.org Are You kidding ? Walls and Bridges is obviously better than Mind Games. Better produced, played, sang than the previous one. And there are very good moments of writing : What You Got, Bless You, Whatever Gets you through The Night, Scared. It´s very varied too. Loses only to Imagine and Platic Ono Band.
john, county kildare email@example.com "steel and glass" is a BRILLIANT song!!!! oh, adrian........ don't be so cruel.
kier smith firstname.lastname@example.org never! 5!? i'll give you 5 reasons why it isnt a 5!
'old dirt road' beautiful. 'whatever gets you through the night' - boogie! great track, no.9 dream - a bit left of the field, dreamy, wistful - one of john's finest - 'steel and glass' - nasty, spiteful - John sneering - classic Lennon, and i love, 'suprise, suprise' sweet bird of paradox'.......sounds like he wrote it in 10 minutes, but no less great because of it........' nobody loves you when your down and out' is absolute genius. I reckon Lennon lovers ewverywhere would all agree that this is one of his finest. - Fine album, always upsets me when i hear bad talk of this album - similar when ive heard people dismiss 'Ram' by McCartney....which thankfully you rated at 8........give this a go people, if your into Lennon, then your missing a few gems without it........
Kevin C Reading I agree with the reviewer. This album is not very good. #9 Dream is the only track worthy of Lennon's talents. I l like "Old Dirt Road" for some odd reason, though its so matter-of-fact it barely exists. Something like that. I give the album a "4"
Brian Gregory London Ridiculously low rating! You seem to have a bit of a grudge against The Beatles and solo Beatles for some reason? for effect maybe? This album is certainly superior to the unfocused and devoid of melody affair,that was 'Mind Games'. It doesn't reach the peaks of 'POnoBand' or 'Imagine' but is still certainly above average and was a big hit in '75. 'Whatever Gets you thru the night' was a no1 single and still sounds great,'Scared' is classic solo Lennon,while 'No9 Dream' is fantastic,Beatles quality-no wonder it's Kate Bush's favourite song and one of her biggest influences,so beautiful and dreamlike.
I think that you misunderstood 'Steel and glass'. By common consent one of the best solo Lennon takes,a fantastic and powerful album track.
Rock N Roll 7½ ( 1975, UK pos 6 )
Be Bop A Lula / Stand By Me / Medley / You Can't Catch Me / Ain't That A Shame / Do You Wanna Dance / Sweet Little Sixteen / Slippin And Slidin / Peggy Sue / Medley#2 / Bony Moronie / Ya Ya / Just Because
The story behind this records conception could fill this page by itself, but i'll try to summarize. Produced by Phil Spector were the cuts 'You Can't Catch Me', 'Bony Moronie', 'Just Because' and 'Sweet Little Sixteen'. It was originally intended the entire album would be produced by Phil, John hooking up with him towards the start of Johns famous 'lost weekend'. The sessions were informal although the atmosphere soon turned bad as various people filled themselves with alcohol. From these beginnings to its final release 'Rock N Roll' took around a year to complete. Phil walked off with the tapes for six months, John wrote and recorded 'Walls And Bridges' in the meantime, producing the remaining tracks for what eventually became 'Rock N Roll' himself. 'Rock N Roll' is a strange album, in any event. John wasn't at his best emotionally and the Spector produced cuts stand-out from the John produced cuts, which almost come across as weaker copies of Spector. Well, with one or two exceptions. John's recasting of 'Do You Wanna Dance' to a reggae rhythm, for example. It's an excellent interpretation. 'Ya Ya' appears on two Lennon albums in a row, lasting a minute or so longer this time around. Elsewhere, John records with echo although without the richness of the Spector cuts. It's hardly too much of a problem, though. The creative spark behind the album is mostly Lennons. His vocals are rough, in a good way. His vocals are raw and when we reach US top-twenty hit 'Stand By Me', full of desperation. He was of course apart from Yoko at the time.
'Sweet Little Sixteen', the famous Chuck Berry number joins 'Peggy Sue' on the album, revealing one possible intention, John to pay tribute to those that had originally inspired him. 'Sweet Little Sixteen' is slowed down, given brass instruments and made soulful. Doing it straight would have reminded everyone of The Beatles, I suppose. Not something John would want to do five/six years into his solo career. 'Peggy Sue' in contrast, is given a much straighter reading. John apes Buddy's vocal stylings amid the echoed bass. A real tribute to a hero John would always hold dear. It is of course the differences in the material that make the album interesting, though. I've already mentioned several of them. The first medley isn't one of them, John acceptably and quite clearly having a ball with a track, brass apart, that sounds much like a 1962 Beatles John may have sounded. The 2nd medley is a ramshackle dirge, although it has plenty of charm. Well, calling it a dirge might give the wrong impression. It's a drunken shuffle through three minutes and forty two seconds, but at the same time, more revealing than the previous two albums put together. 'Rock N Roll' may not be entirely pleasant then, but it's certainly intriguing and addictive. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth, but instead of washing it out, you take another sip and drink a little more. Appropriate, really.
Double Fantasy 6½ ( 1980, UK pos 1 )
Just Like Starting Over / Kiss, Kiss, Kiss / Cleanup Time / Give Me Something / I'm Losing You / I'm Moving On / Beautiful Boy / Watching The Wheels / Yes, I'm Your Angel / Woman / Beautiful Boys / Dear Yoko / Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him / Hard Times Are Over
Sales of 'Double Fantasy' received a boost thanks to five bullets from Mark David Chapman. This album was John's comeback after five years in the wilderness. By alternating his songs with Yoko songs, what was he trying to tell us? An exploration between man and woman, a love album of devotion? Or was he simply short of adequate material or rather more accurately I feel, adequate confidence to fully lay himself bare for the public's judgement once again? Anyway, i'll discuss the Yoko songs first. It's half her album, after all. We've got '(Just Like) Starting Over', 'Cleanup Time', 'I'm Losing You', 'Beautiful Boy', 'Watching the Wheels', 'Woman' and 'Dear Yoko' from the pen of John. From Yoko we get 'Kiss Kiss Kiss', 'Give Me Something', 'I'm Moving On', 'I'm Your Angel', 'Beautiful Boys', 'Every Woman Has A Man Who Loves Him' and 'Hard Times Are Over'. Can we pretend these songs don't exist and judge the Lennon songs on their own? No, we can't. 'Double Fantasy' doesn't contain the greatest collection of Lennon songs even if we do divorce Yoko from proceedings. It's got some pretty good Lennon songs, one or two excellent ones. As for Yoko, John apparently heard the B-52s 'Rock Lobster' and said it reminded me of Yoko's material. Yoko has even been given credit for inventing or helping to shape 'New Wave' in some quarters, which is patent nonsense. The nearest she comes to sounding New Wave is her first couple of tunes. 'Kiss, Kiss, Kiss' and 'Give Me Something' both like like a Japanese Toyah Wilcox. Those are the better of the Yoko songs which otherwise are extremely vapid and not deserving of release.
John's songs contain some excellent singles of which we all know. 'Just Like Starting Over' is decent, although didn't seem enough of an event to propel John back into being a current and relevant artist at the time. 'Cleanup Time' sounds too clean production wise, 'I'm Losing You' is the kind of material we expect from McCartney circa 1992, not Lennon circa 1980. Better material arrives. 'Beautiful Boy' has an undeniable charm, 'Woman' is a total classic and 'Watching The Wheels' perhaps the best piece of actual songwriting here. 'Dear Yoko' sounds a knockoff and the kind of semi-novelty cheery piece we'd berate McCartney for. We never got to see what Lennon would have done during the 80s, we can only imagine. I imagine he'd have turned out more quality singles, at the very least.