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4.5 out of 5 stars42
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 10 January 2006
For some artists the music buying consumer may want just a single disc compilation with all the hits. For other more treasured acts, he or she may want a bit more. This is the right John Lennon compilation for me and I would recommend it to you as well…
Working Class Hero is a two CD Best Of featuring all of the obvious hits and the best album tracks. As well as the songs everyone knows and John’s more left-field singles, we are also treated to half the tracks from the brilliant, cathartic Plastic Ono Band LP, some nice ballads from the under-rated Mind Games album and several other album choices. These gems are wisely intermingled with the big hits rather than there being one Hits CD and an Other Songs companion disc – such an arrangement would of course result in the second album only being played very rarely by the casual Lennon fan.
The music itself holds up surprisingly well after all these years with the skip button only being required for a handful of the 38 songs. One reason for its timelessness is that the solo Lennon never consciously tried to sound modern, meaning that the production and arrangements do not hark back to a particular period and consequently now sound dated. Another more obvious reason is the superb emotional and musical quality of the songs present…
Any track selection quibbles are minor and personal rather than major oversights with the Definitive Lennon pretty much being what it says on the case. The Plastic Ono Band LP aside, all of John‘s solo albums are patchy whereas a single volume compilation containing just the mainstream hits only tells half the story. Working Class Hero: The Definitive Lennon is the ideal solution. Highly recommended.
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I'd just like to direct this review mainly towards the negative reviewers who feel the need to be petulant and sarcastic. To get to the point, I've grown up listening to The Beatles and John Lennon's work. I'm 18, and have always admired the boys individual talents - most notably John and George. The reason I bought this album, like many other people, was because I wanted the majority of Lennons work (both the material we all know, companied by some I haven't heard in a long while) in just one album. Rather than buying a range of countless different albums for a selection of songs, this has all the ones I wanted one 2 discs.

What I like about the song selection is that it proves Lennon spread his work out equally - what made others hits from others was just how much they applied to society. As a Mersey lad myself, I find no better feeling that walking around the Albert Dock before Uni, and listening to 'Real Love' around the Pier-Masters house.

To sum up, I just can't say enough how dissapointed I am with the negative reviews. No-body asked these people to buy, or slate the album, so if they have the original CD's/LP's (of which few of us do) why bother making a nuisance? Top marks for the CD, top marks for Lennon of course!
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on 24 April 2006
I have to say I was concerned about buying this. I have heard Imagine just too many times and many of the tracks are too familiar. Whats nice about this collection is that most of the less well know tracks serve as great reminders to lennon's talent. It is a terrific summary of a brilliant solo career. Several reviewers have criticised this release for 'cashing in'. Well 38 damn fine tracks on one release seems like a good idea to me.
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on 14 July 2009
If you are looking to explore the music of John Lennon and want a great compilation then this is the best on the market, of all the compilations available this one goes a little more in depth than the usual'hits' packages and my personal faves have always been songs that aren't the ones everyone knows.
Get this compilation today , it's well worth investing in and the music here is a cut above most stuff you'll ever here- then again it's Lennon so what did you expect?
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on 13 March 2009
This is easily the best 'solo' lennon compilation available to date. The track selection is excellent and draws from most of the solo albums. The running order is not chronological, which makes the listening more interesting. Personally, I would have left off certain posthumously released tracks to include more from Imagine, Plastic ono Band, and 'Rock and Roll', Strangely there's nothing included from 'Live Peace in Toronto 1969'.

Apart from the well known classic songs, highlights for me include the George Martin produced ' Grow Old with Me'- which is painfully beautiful and extremely moving...and tracks from Walls and Bridges (an album i didnt like upon first release)...hearing the remastered 'scared' bless you' '#9 Dream' and 'Nobody loves you when you're down and out' again after so long has been a slice of heaven! and has completely revised my opinion on that 'lost weekend' album.
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on 29 April 2011
As a Beatles fan, I came to this album by accident. I already have one Lennon collection - The John Lennon Collection - which was pretty good for a single cd but I was looking for more and was considering buying one or more of the original albums, e.g. Plastic Ono Band or Imagine. The previously mentioned collection lacks depth and doesn't include great songs like "Working Class Hero" or "Gimme Some Truth" (heart felt and powerful lyrics a Dylan would be proud of). Both these classics are on this collection, with a whole lot more besides. I have no hesitation in recommending this compilation to someone who has heard Lennon songs they like but never bought one of his albums - I can't pretend to be an expert on his solo material but this is a pretty impressive collection. There isn't a bad song on this album (I'm even beginning to like "Starting Over" after all these years) and some very, very good ones. Some songs surely need no introduction (e.g. "Imagine" or "Jealous Guy") but "Instant Karma" always gets me going (who said McCartney was the one who came up with the catchy tunes!)and "Watching The Wheels" is a poignant expression of someone who is fed up with playing the same old tired games rather than a cop-out in my opinion. "God" is still a powerful defence of freedom of thought and refusal to bow to fundamentalism all these years down the line (I dunno why but it seems all the more relevant today). And I think, on this latter point, that's one of the things that makes Lennon great - his relevance in an age that relevance has become a dirty word, something to be discarded with the faded dreams of the hippie revolution. What makes him relevant still is that despite the "dreaming", this idealist always had a hard-edged pragmatic side and a biting sense of humour. A strong man who wasn't afraid to write songs about love - "Love" is simple but still touching and a million miles away from the popstar formula writing of, say, "She Loves You". As tracks like "Scared", "Isolation" and "Cold Turkey" show, just like Dylan JD was never afraid of introspection or baring his soul. Maybe this is why he inspires more love in his fans than McCartney - we like our heroes to have feet of clay. A lot of it is in the feeling in the singing - I'm a Roxy Music fan but Lennon's version of Jealous Guy is so much more real than Ferry's, even though it's not actually a bad version of the song. For Beatles fans, there is a live version of "Come Together", albeit with a bit of a barbed introduction from John. This non-Lennon expert got some of the lesser-known gems he was looking for (songs like "Oh My Love", "Intuition" and "Mother" for example. And it has all the expected classics too, such as "Woman", "War Is Over", "Give Peace A Chance" and "Mind Games".
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on 12 October 2007
One of the better compilations of Lennon's work, this album succeeds by the inclusion of some of the better tracks from his work. The obvious ones are there too, so its worth a listen.
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on 8 March 2009
Some songs are remastered and some are not, but it's a great collection of John's songs and I love having it in my collection. It sounds fantastic on my Ipod, too :)
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on 26 September 2014
I guess it may sound strange to say but I do believe all of John's Best Of compilations released so far are precious items to buy and treasure, not only for the undisputable quality of his musical opus but also for the chance to analyze all the ways his work has been treated through the years in terms of compiling, remastering, marketing and celebration. And this one is just another example of fine output I truly recommend to all lovers of top class music and songwriting.
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on 29 January 2010
This is unquestionably the best of the many Lennon compilations available, so for those in the market for a broad career overview of Lennon's solo material, look no further: this is the one to get. Minor quibbles about choice of material aside ('How Do You Sleep?' is missing, for example), this is the only double CD of songs covering all of Lennon's albums. If you are a fan, the chances are you will own all the separate albums already, so the prospect of another compilation becomes somewhat redundant for anyone other than the dedicated completist or the casual listener.

Good as this set undoubtedly is, by being broad and eclectic in its choice of material it dilutes the impact of the individual albums, and serves to underline the inescapable fact that Lennon, like all the solo Beatles, was lesser than the sum of their parts. Veering occasionally towards excessive sentimentality in the later material, there is also a harsh and repetetive edge to many of Lennon's songs that cries out for the softening influence of McCartney and studio wizardry of George Martin. But Lennon's intention always appeared to be to distance himself from his Beatles legacy, at least in song, as in 'I don't believe in Beatles.....' (from the song God), and both he and the solo McCartney indulged in musical excesses which together the other would have held in check. Talented though he undoubtedly was, there is little in Lennon's solo legacy that reaches the heights of The Beatles in their prime. Once again, we are left with the bitter aftertaste of his wasteful and untimely death, and an overriding sense of 'what if?'.
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