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Working Class Hero: The Definitive Lennon

4.4 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 4, 2005
$29.89 $4.50

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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.

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

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. (Just Like) Starting Over
  2. Imagine
  3. Watching The Wheels
  4. Jealous Guy
  5. Instant Karma!
  6. Stand By Me
  7. Working Class Hero
  8. Power To The People
  9. Oh My Love
  10. Oh Yoko
  11. Nobody Loves You When You're Down And Out
  12. Nobody Told Me
  13. Bless You
  14. Come Together (Live)
  15. New York City
  16. I'm Stepping Out
  17. You Are Here
  18. Borrowed Time
  19. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

Disc: 2

  1. Woman
  2. Mind Games
  3. Out Of The Blue
  4. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night
  5. Love
  6. Mother
  7. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)
  8. Woman Is The Nigger Of The World
  9. God
  10. Scared
  11. #9 Dream
  12. I'm Losing You (Anthology Version)
  13. Isolation
  14. Cold Turkey
  15. Intuition
  16. Gimme Some Truth
  17. Give Peace A Chance
  18. Real Love
  19. Grow Old With Me

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 4, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Capitol
  • ASIN: B000AV2G3I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,550 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Beware: Some songs have been re-mixed. Whatever Gets You Thru the Night has had the drums mixed out leaving only handclaps for an example.

Also, the track list on the back of the CD case does not indicate alternate versions are used on some songs or indicate that at least one song is a duet.

Also, the booklet is lacking. It would have been nice to have at least a short essay to put the different periods in Johns' life in perspective relating to when the albums were recorded. IE: the Primal Scream era, the "Lost Weekend", and the House Husband era to name a few. It is not like these are all cheerful love songs, so to put them in order would focus more on where he was at the time and why some are so bitter and biting.

A listing of who was in the various bands listed would be cool as well.

Additionally, evidently the songs have been re-copyrighted because the copyright dates listed in the booklet are about 30 years later than when the songs were recorded. Not asking for the Billboard charting history, but some background and actual recording dates would be nice for someone experiencing John for the first time.

My nephew would probably get a kick out of this CD and this information would be cool for a 13 year old.

I agree with other commentors that chronological order would be better. Come on Yoko. Quit criticizing Paul, and focus on Johns' history and promote his legacy.

5 stars for the music.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
How do you figure this one? Five years ago, finally, Lennon's catalog was getting remastered...I thought. Capital/EMI released a remixed/remastered Plastic Ono Band on October 10, 2000. Great, I thought, sounds great, can't wait for the rest of the albums to get the treatment. Shouldn't be long, I thought. After all, we're getting up there in age. Not a lot of time left...

Well, here it is five years later, and there still putzing around with Lennon's catalog. Two of Lennon's albums STILL haven't got the remix/remaster treatment (Sometime In NYC & Walls & Bridges). Sometime certainly wasn't John's finest moment, but it still deserves the same treatment as the rest of the catalog gets, and Walls & Bridges...well, the wait is just ridiculous.

Instead, we get this. What, I'm supposed to buy this fourth or fifth rehash of a Lennon "best of" because it's got remixes of some of the non-album singles or for the remixed Walls & Bridges cuts? You bastards!!!! You haven't sucked enough money out of the Beatles' music? And I don't even mind you sucking the money, but can't you give us some decent product in return?

I'm pissed about the handling of Lennon's catalog, Harrison's catalog and the Beatles' catalog. That's it. For 4 human beings who had some integrity when this music was orginally recorded, well, this is not very fitting to their memory, I guarantee. There is so much that could be done (for the fans, the ones who will continue to spend money on this product) that is not being done, and so much that is being done that needn't be done. Sad, very sad.
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Format: Audio CD
Up until now, the definitive collection of John Lennon's solo material was 1998's "Lennon Legend", which was a single cd with 20 songs. It was not perfect, but it was a more than servicable compilation.

Faadt forward to 2005. 25 years after his death and 65 years after his birth, Capitol Records has released "Working Class Hero: The Definitve Lennon", a two disc 38 song collection, digitally remastered and remixed. How does it hold up? Read on for my review.


-This is, quite simply, the greatest Lennon collection ever. Just about everything you need is on here, including "(Just Like) Starting Over", "Imagine", "Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)", "Nobody Told Me", "# 9 Dream" and just about every other big Lennon solo hit has been included.

-A lot of underrated gems have been included as well.

-The sound quality is fantastic. These songs have never ever sounded better.

-Easy to locate.


-The liner notes are severely lacking. Seriously, someone like Lennon deserves a decent essay on his life.

-Some of the songs are remixes, but the differences are slight if noticable.

-Very highly priced. I found it for a little under $ 30.

Overall, this is an excellent compilation that all beginning fans should snap up immediately. And hardcore Lennon fans should get it because it's perfect for the car.
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Format: Audio CD
If you dont have any Lennon in your collection, get this. This is the best compilation available in the far. If you have bought Shaved Fish, The lennon Collection, Once upon a time, Lennon Legend, I got bad news for you: here is yet another compilation. How long before we get the "Ultimate Lennon" or "Gold Lennon" is anybody guess. The only thing I dislike about this is the sequence of the tracks. They should have put them in Chronological order. The order makes no sense at all. You may want to get this and burn the tracks in the proper order to get a better understanding of Lennon career. No tracks from the Toronto album. It could be better.
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