On October 9, 2005, John Lennon would have turned 65, if only...
Instead, the former Beatles leader and endlessly complex rock icon remains forever frozen in time, basking in the warm reception of his 1980 return to recording after a long, self-imposed exile from the music business. But this two-disc, 38-track collection does more than merely commemorate the landmark birthday Lennon tragically never celebrated; it's arguably the best compact overview of his often conflicted post-Fabs career. Considering he spent fully half the decade chronicled here in semi-retirement, it's a remarkably robust and diverse body of work, whether focused on sloganeering agit-prop ("Power to the People," "Woman is the Nigger of the World," "Give Peace a Chance," "Working Class Hero"), semi-autobiographical musings that ranged from the harrowing ("Cold Turkey," "Mother") to the unabashedly sentimental ("Oh Yoko!," "Watching the Wheels," "Starting Over"). "Imagine" and "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" may showcase one of the era's most wide-eyed idealists, but the range of emotions cataloged in much of his other work argue that John Lennon was a bundle of emotional and philosophical complexities. As Yoko One once noted, "People have wanted to box him in..But he was a very human, three-dimensional person... Sometimes he was angry, sometimes he was sad, sometimes he was very vulnerable and sweet. All of that was going on in every period of his life." This set never sidesteps those complications; indeed, the songs collected here thrive on them. --Jerry McCulley
2005 marks the year it would have been John Lennon's 65th Birthday in October. 12/05 sees another anniversary in 25 years since his death. There will be a lot of John Lennon activity throughout this period, with remastered catalogue in the form of Walls & Bridges and Sometime in New York City albums. Working Class Hero - The Definitive Lennon will be a double disc set featuring all his classic songs and more. EMI.