Category: John Lennon

John Lennon – John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band

ARTIST: John Lennon         220px-JLPOBCover

TITLE: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: #6 US, #8 UK

SINGLES: Mother (#43 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Hold On, Working Class Hero, God

LINEUP: John Lennon, Klaus Voorman, Ringo Starr. Phil Spector and Billy Preston each played piano on a track.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First true solo album by Lennon is influenced by Yoko and their Primal Scream therapy. It’s a brilliant but draining album.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Music is supposed to affect ones emotions. The first real solo album by John Lennon is full of songs that make you feel exactly what he’s feeling – even after all of these years the songs are powerful, chilling, and poignant.

There’s gentle tracks about love (“Hold On” – with its silly Cookie Monster aside, “Love”) and some gut wrenchers (“Mother”, “Isolation”, “Well Well Well”) where you can tell he poured out his heart into those songs. Lennon can still rock with the best of them (“I Found Out”) and can proselytize his world view effectively (“Working Class Hero”, “God”). What this record doesn’t have is filler.

John and Yoko had just finished Primal Scream therapy and all of those feelings and emotions and grief just poured out of him. His vocal on “Mother” shows the effect of the therapy as his voice is ragged and hoarse at the end.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: There was no track listing on the back, nor title on the front.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with two non-LP singles.

 GRADE A+: Powerful and evocative today – as it was at the time.

John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band – Live Peace in Toronto

ARTIST: John Lennon & the Plastic Ono Band                220px-livepeacecover

TITLE:  Live Peace in Toronto

YEAR RELEASED: 1969

CHART ACTION: #10

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Live versions of oldies, Yer Blues, Cold Turkey and Give Peace a Chance

LINEUP: John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Eric Clapton, Clause Voorman, Alan White

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Haphazard live album from a Toronto peace benefit.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Somehow, this appearance was pulled off, and considering it was a last minute band that never played together before, it’s surprisingly decent. That doesn’t mean it’s great or anything or something you need to have unless you MUST have everything from John, Yoko, or Eric Clapton.

The story of Lennon and company showing up at the benefit in Toronto is legendary, but basically Eric Clapton found out he was to go an hour before he boarded the plane and the band rehearsed twice.

The first side is John’s – oldies, two solo John songs and a Beatles track. Yoko takes side two, and I have a soft spot in my heart for “Don’t Worry Kyoko”, wailings and all. I did lose patience with the closing track, an adaptation from the John & Yoko experimental albums that were tedious and pretentious, rather than bold and arty.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They did a lot of mixes taking out Yoko’s backing in some places, or removing backing vocals, etc.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: C: It’s a curiosity and of a different time and place. And no, I’m not going to review those three John / Yoko albums. I’ve heard enough and you don’t need to.