John Lennon Anthology Box set
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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 stack 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".
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 humour--the outlines of "I'm the Greatest" and "Goodnight Vienna" for Ringo, the loose-as-a-goose "Be Bop a Lula". 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
Top Customer Reviews
This large collection of Lennon's work seems to sum up perfectly what John Lennon was about to so many fans-A great songwriter that wrote a hell of a lot of good songs. I found the small but chunky book a useful insight into periods of Lennon's life and I also really appreciated the information about some of the previously unreleased Lennon home recordings!
My favourite CD out of the four has to be the Dakota CD. Not only was this period of his song writing my favourite, it was also his last. I thoughroughly enjoyed listening to alternative takes of my favourite Lennon songs like "I'm Losing You" and "Woman".
This collection of John Lennon's work is a real treat for all his fans and I would recommend it to everyone!
Disc 3 THE LOST WEEKEND: John's famous "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 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.
The four CD's are arranged in a chronological order, and reflect the development in Lennon's solo work. They are: "Ascot" (1970-71); "New York City" (1972-73); "The Lost Weekend" (1974-75); and "Dakota" (1980).
The tracks consist of alternative takes, demos, home recordings, unfinished songs - and other previously unreleased material. In total, there's 4 and a half hours of songs (and snippets of dialogue) from Lennon.
These are not "perfect" songs. Rather, these are - at best - works-in-progress. But they provide insight into Lennon's thought and creativity, and allow you to experience "the making of" the music. It's as if you're a fly on the wall while Lennon is thinking about how to arrange the songs.
As a big fan of Lennon, I fully enjoyed this collection. It's in a similar vein to the Beatles 'Anthology' albums - so if you liked them, you'll probably enjoy this too.
I also suggest that, to complement this collection, you consider the Signature Box.
This consists of four CD's, plus a John Lennon Book with the lyrics to all the CD tracks. There are a fair few unreleased tracks on the album, so it is worth listening to those!
It is a pity that "Number 9 Dream" and "Instant Karma" are not on this set, but I can't really be choosy! It has pride of place in my collection!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was exactly as I expected. A great 'alternative / draft versions of classic Lennon tracks. You can see the evolution of the songs. As for the delivery service., ExcellentPublished 8 months ago by bikerdave
Comprehensive, touching, illuminating, stark, heart-felt, funny, bitter, confused, confident, witty, angry, candid, revealing...Published 15 months ago by paul michael
There are some great tracks on this 4 CD set but a lot of filler. I bought this in America in 1998 when it was released and I was really getting into all things Lennon having been... Read morePublished on 15 Dec. 2013 by Amazon Customer
This is the best John Lennon collection I have bought! Great versions! Love it! Playing it non stop! Buy it now if you love John's music!:-)Published on 24 Sept. 2013 by Martin