Lennon 60th Birthday Reissues
Two remarkable albums by John Lennon, arguably the greatest rock musician we will know in our lifetime, have been reissued to commemorate what would have been his 60th birthday.
The two albums' initial release dates were separated by a decade, but their emotional resonance shows no sign of abating with the passing of time. Rather, like much of Lennon's work, they have gained in stature and, although they were each released at the dawning of a new decade and at times of great social change - the '70s and '80s respectively - they are truly timeless. The reissue of these albums brings together John's first post-Beatles solo album with his last.
John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band is seen by many as John Lennon's masterpiece, offering a disquieting, riveting insight into a life spent in exploration and illumination.
Containing many of his most incisive and harrowing songs, like Mother, Working Class Hero and God, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band was originally released on Apple on Dec 11, 1970.
Now remixed and digitally remastered under the supervision of Yoko Ono, the album is augmented by two bonus tracks - Power To The People, a single originally released after the album, and Do The Oz, originally the B-side of the God Save Us single which was covered by Bill Elliott and The Elastic Oz Band. Both tracks reflect the beginning of the expression of John and Yoko's political interests. Power To The People was originally released in the UK on March 12, 1971.
Packaging for the album features the original cover art and photographs for the album, rare pictures from the era and John's hand-written lyrics.
Double Fantasy, by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, was released in the UK on November 17, 1980. Announced in the press release as a dialogue between men and women, and their fantasies, the album was released amidst a barrage of publicity; it was John Lennon's first studio album for 5 years and as word spread, excitement was palpable.
In 1970, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band had begun with the sound of a tolling bell. Ten years later, in a deliberate echo, John opened what was to be the final album of his life with another bell. This time it was no slowed-down harbinger of doom, but the benevolent tinkling of a traditional Japanese wishing bell and the track it introduced, (Just Like) Starting Over, was a message of hope, of renewal, a message not lost on Lennon fans over the world.
By the beginning of December Double Fantasy was in the US Top 10 and climbing to No. 1, and John and Yoko were working on a new Yoko track, Walking On Thin Ice, that had been finished too late for inclusion on the album. The track was finished on Dec 8th and is now inextricably linked to the events of that night, the night John Lennon was killed.
Its inclusion on the new version of Double Fantasy, along with two other bonus tracks, seems to complete a very powerful lyrical cycle, as it is now impossible to listen to Double Fantasy as a record isolated from the events surrounding it.
Now digitally remastered, Double Fantasy features 3 bonus tracks - the previously unreleased John Lennon song Help Me To Help Myself, Yoko's Walking On Thin Ice and Central Park Stroll, a short dialogue of John and Yoko walking in Central Park. These tracks continue the duality of the original album, which is comprised of consecutive John Lennon and Yoko Ono tracks. Central Park Stroll unites the two at the end of the album.
Retaining the original artwork, Double Fantasy also includes additional photographs from the era.
In the 20 years since his death, John Lennon's music has reached out to new generations of artists and fans alike. He has inspired countless musicians who have used his music as a springboard for their own creativity and helped take his message to a new audience.
A Tokyo suburb now hosts the world's first permanent John Lennon Museum.
Among the retrospectives, it is strange to relate that, to a lot of people over the world, John Lennon has never really gone away.
The music on these two reissued albums helps us understand why.