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John Lennon Anthology

Box Set, 4 CD, Digipack

4.0 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, November 3, 1998
$166.95 $34.50

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 Compiled by Yoko Ono, the set also includes a 60-page booklet full of previously unpublished photos and drawings by John.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

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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Working Class Hero
  2. God
  3. I Found Out
  4. Hold On
  5. Isolation
  6. Love
  7. Mother
  8. Remember
  9. Imagine
  10. "Fortunately"
  11. Baby Please Don't Go
  12. Oh My Love
  13. Jealous Guy
  14. Maggie Mae
  15. How Do You Sleep
  16. God Save Oz
  17. Do The Oz
  18. I Donít Want To Be A Soldier
  19. Give Peace A Chance
  20. Look At Me
  21. Long Lost John

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
  6. Geraldo Rivera - One to One Concert
  7. Woman Is The Nigger of The World (live)
  8. It's So Hard (live)
  9. Come Together (live)
  10. Happy Xmas
  11. Luck of the Irish (live)
  12. John Sinclair (live)
  13. The David Frost Show
  14. Mind Games (I Promise)
  15. Mind Games (Make Love, Not War)
  16. One Day At A Time
  17. I Know
  18. I'm The Greatest
  19. Goodnight Vienna
  20. Jerry Lewis Telethon
  21. "A Kiss Is Just A Kiss"
  22. Real Love
  23. You Are Here

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)
  6. Be Bop A Lula
  7. Rip It Up/Ready Teddy
  8. Scared
  9. Steel And Glass
  10. Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird of Paradox)
  11. Bless You
  12. Going Down On Love
  13. Move Over Ms. L
  14. Ainít She Sweet
  15. Slippiní And Slidin'
  16. Peggy Sue
  17. Bring It On Home To Me/ Send Me Some Lovin'
  18. Phil and John 1
  19. Phil and John 2
  20. Phil and John 3
  21. "When In Doubt, Fuck It"
  22. Be My Baby
  23. Stranger's Room
  24. Old Dirt Road

Disc: 4

  1. I'm Losing You
  2. Seans "Little Help"
  3. Serve Yourself
  4. My Life
  5. Nobody Told Me
  6. Life Begins At 40
  7. I Don't Wanna Face It
  8. Woman
  9. Dear Yoko
  10. Watching the Wheels
  11. I'm Stepping Out
  12. Borrowed Time
  13. The Rishi Kesh Song
  14. Sean's "Loud"
  15. Beautiful Boy
  16. Mr. Hyde's Gone (Don't Be Afraid)
  17. Only You
  18. Grow Old With Me
  19. Dear John
  20. The Great Wok
  21. Mucho Mungo
  22. Satire 1
  23. Satire 2
  24. Satire 3
  25. Sean's "In The Sky"
  26. It's Real

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: 4.0 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,145 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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