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Anthology Box set

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Audio CD, Box set, November 3, 1998
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Audio, Cassette, November 16, 1998
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$71.10 + $3.99 shipping Only 6 left in stock. Ships from and sold by Red Rock CDs.

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Anthology + The Signature Box
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Imagine 100 unreleased tracks by John Lennon! Compiled by Yoko Ono, the set also includes a 60-page booklet full of previously unpublished photos and drawings by John. The first CD, "Ascot," looks at the British solo days of the Plastic Ono Band and Imagine . Disc two, "New York City," covers the early Gotham days and includes unreleased songs like I'm the Greatest and Luck of the Irish . "The Lost Weekend" documents John's dissolute, late-'70s years in LA with a demo of Whatever Gets You Through the Night ; and unreleased tunes like Move Over Ms. L . And "Dakota," the fourth disc, includes juicy bits like John's parodies of Bob Dylan ( Serve Yourself ) and George Harrison ( The Rishi Kesh Song ). The musical diary of an extraordinary man.


The story The John Lennon Anthology tells--that of the questing former Beatle who took five years off to raise his son before returning with an album of peaceful reflections on the househusband life--isn't new, but for all its monumental status, it does help bring Lennon into focus again as a person and a musician. Since his murder in 1980, Lennon-the-man-of-peace has too often obscured the rocker, the dad, the flawed human being in the public consciousness. While this massive stock of odds and ends--studio outtakes and chatter, live and alternate versions, demos--is necessarily diffuse, it does a great service. It restores the iconic Lennon to normal size.

Some of the set's most striking moments come at its beginning, in eight previously unreleased takes of songs that filled most of 1970's Plastic Ono Band. One of rock's most uncompromised albums, it found him angry, sad, and reflective to bursting. The tapes included on Anthology, though, feature a Lennon who, if not happy, is fully in his element--making rock & roll. Even as he's making dry runs for exorcising demons, he's still the guy who fell for the music as a Liverpool teenager; on an early, shuffling version of "Hold On," he leads his guitar line into the main riff of Bill Doggett's "Honky Tonk."

Elsewhere, we get long looks at the fits and starts of Lennon's years as a solo artist and as part of a duo with Yoko Ono. He slips from the grace of "Imagine" and "It's So Hard" into the raw polemics and lousy rhymes of "John Sinclair" and "Attica State." (Contrary to a stage announcement preceding the latter, it's not this failed anthem that has ensured the ongoing memory of the prison massacre.)

The honesty of Lennon's vocals throughout his career is often commented on, and they provide some of the greatest treasure here. Whether an alternate of the pained 1974 "Nobody Loves You When You're Down and Out," the joyfully full-on rocking of "Be Bop a Lula" and "Move Over Ms. L," or a gorgeous "Be My Baby," it's the voice that's the window to this man's soul. We also see how pained he was at his temporary separation from Yoko, as he even inserts a line of "Jealous Guy" into the demo for the rollicking "Whatever Gets You Through the Night" and abashed pleads for "one more chance" on a similar tape of "Mind Games."

Finally, there are the many moments of good humor--the outlines of "I'm the Greatest" and "Goodnight Vienna" for Ringo, the loose-as-a-goose "Be Bop a Lula"--and pleasingly bad, like "Serve Yourself," a snipe at Dylan's born-again phase, or some battling studio exchanges with a Phil Spector crazed enough to drive anyone out of the business for half a decade. Anthology is flawed, but its wide-ranging picture of Lennon's post-Beatles years is that of someone you'd love to have spent some time with. --Rickey Wright

Disc: 1
1. Working Class Hero
2. God
3. I Found Out
4. Hold On
5. Isolation
See all 21 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. New York City
2. Attica State (live)
3. Imagine (live)
4. Bring On The Lucie
5. Woman Is The Nigger of The World
See all 23 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. What You Got
2. Nobody Loves You When You're Down And Out
3. Whatever Gets You Through the Night (home)
4. Whatever Gets You Through the Night (studio)
5. Yesterday (parody)
See all 24 tracks on this disc
Disc: 4
1. I'm Losing You
2. Seans "Little Help"
3. Serve Yourself
4. My Life
5. Nobody Told Me
See all 26 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 3, 1998)
  • Original Release Date: November 3, 1998
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Capitol
  • ASIN: B00000DG1Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,643 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

This represents the best of Lennon's solo career.
listener from philly
Overall, the songs are very good choices for an anthology.
It's a fantastic set, both in content and packaging.
J. L. Cook

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By P Magnum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 10, 2001
Format: Audio CD
At first glance, The John Lennon Anthology appears to be another box set with hit best known songs along with a few live performances and outtakes. But the set is actually made up entirely of alternate versions of his best known songs with some live songs and outtakes sprinkled in. The results are interesting and intriguing. Many of the songs are featured in stripped down, bare-bones forms, with just a piano or guitar and you get an inside look at the creative process of a legend. The Plastic Ono Band songs like "Working Class Hero", "God" and "Mother" are even starker and rawer than their released versions. You get to hear some of his highly politically charged live concerts from the early 70's like the Free John Sinclair shows. Some of the more interesting songs include his original demo of "Real Love" which later was re-recorded by the three remaining Beatles for the Anthology series, songs from the Mind Game sessions and his later Double Fantasy work like "Nobody Told Me" and a stripped down, guitar and drum machine take of "Woman" which is absolutely breathtaking. The last disk contains some great moments like Mr. Lennon goofing around with Beatles songs (lightly mocking Paul McCartney in some) and his young son Sean is featured singing as well. The four cd's are broken up in chronological order and the entire package is well done. Each cd is encased in a beautiful package containing artwork by Mr. Lennon and the set's booklet contains more art and great photos. This set is for John Lennon fanatics of every age and well worth the price.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By David McCarthy on February 15, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This set spans John's years as a solo artist from 1970 to 1980. I've always felt John's solo albums were over-produced by himself and Phil Spector, John's voice seemed to get lost in the recordings, however in this set his voice is to the fore and the songs sound 10 times better than than do on his albums. Disc 1 ASCOT: (the best) revolves about his first two solo albums, Plastic Ono Band and Imagine. Disc 2 NEW YORK CITY: John's political phase with Sometime In New York City and Mind Games. Disc 3 THE LOST WEEKEND: John's infamous "Lost Weekend" which features Walls And Bridges and Rock N'Roll. And finally Disc 4 DAKOTA: which features many rare demos as well as his Double Fantasy and Milk & Honey albums. However I should state this set is probably only for hardcore fans of Lennon, but those true fans will cherish listening to John singing Real Love on his own, a diffrent version of Imagine, a live Come Together from Madison Square Garden and John chatting with Sean at the Dakota.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Frederick Baptist on May 3, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This is one of the best box sets ever. Not only is the design first class - the accompanying booklet and the 4 discs are housed in excellent cardboard digipak fashion - the sound quality of the recordings is very, very good reflecting an excellent remastering job.

This album is very aptly called "Anthology" as that is just what this is: a loving history of the brains of the Beatles from the start of his solo years to his untimely death. As such, much of the material here is "unpolished" and intentionally done so to the extent that we get many outtakes and alternative takes of the various hits that never made it to the final original albums that eventually went on sale over the years.

Still, the overall effect is a very personal aural experience for the listener who gets to know the real John Lennon. I'm deeply moved listening to the banter between him and his son Sean especially the outtake where John reveals his great love for his son, wanting to please him and you can almost hear the disappointment in his voice when he had to tell him that he couldn't raise the volume of the guitar amp any louder as requested by Sean. Anyone who's ever been a father can empathise with a man who just desperately wants to please his son.

If you are looking for an album of John Lennon's greatest hits, this is not it; you'll have to go get the latest album release by that name but if you are looking to understand the man and to get that rare glimpse of his personality, his essence and what he really was about, this is the essential listening experience that you need to get.

You get to see his traumatic inner psyche on disc 1 with "Mother", "God", "Jealous Guy" and "Long Lost John".
Read more ›
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Annie Van Auken TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 17, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This album presents the potential purchaser with an imaginary line. Whether or not you should buy ANTHOLOGY really depends upon which side of that line you're on. For completists, LENNON * ANTHOLOGY is a godsend or revelation; for the casual fan, this collection is a jumbled rough-cut head-scratcher. If you don't own all of John's solo albums, you probably won't want this one.

More so than the BEATLES ANTHOLOGY series, this set is replete with fragments, false starts, incomplete demos, slight or off-key vocals and silly chatter. If John was still alive, he never would have released most of this stuff, and with good reason. There's something to be said for specifically detailed Last Wills.

DISC ONE (Astor) -- 65:41
DISC TWO (New York City) -- 65:01
DISC THREE (The Lost Weekend) -- 63:25
DISC 4 (Dakota) -- 72:52
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