Thursday, May 7, 2009

John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band: The Album

The most important of several Beatles facts for John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band is that it was the debut solo album for Lennon (discounting three experimental albums with wife Yoko Ono) and is considered to be one of Lennon's best efforts in his solo career. Rolling Stone ranked it # 22 on its list of all-time greatest albums. The album was recorded at the same time as Yoko's Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band, which featured her avant garde style. The band backing Lennon was dubbed "plastic" because of various musicians called upon by Lennon and Ono since 1969 for solo work--a "conceptual band," as it was termed--as compared to the four permanent members of the Beatles.

The album is generally regarded as an outgrowth of the primal scream therapy Lennon undertook with Arthur Janov, producing cathartic feelings expressed in the LP's tracks. One example is "God," in which Lennon sings that he only believes in himself as opposed to any deity or authority/celebrity figure (Beatles, Elvis, etc.). The album was produced by Phil Spector (with production credits also assigned to Lennon and Ono) and recorded at Abbey Road Studios and Ascot Sound Studios from September 26, 1970 to October 23, 1970. It was released on December 11, 1970 on the Apple label, and was well received by critics in both the United States and Great Britain.

Musicians working on the album included Klaus Voorman (bass), Ringo Starr (drums), Alan White (percussion), Billy Preston (piano), and Phil Spector (piano). Lennon handled vocals and played guitar, piano, and electric keyboard.

Tracks include:

Hold On
I Found Out
Working Class hero
Well Well Well
Look at Me
My Mummy's Dead

With impetus from Yoko Ono, the album was remixed and re-issued for CD format in 2000 with two bonus tracks: "Power to the People" and "Do the Oz."

The artwork for the album was a shot of Lennon and Ono leaning against a tree. The photo was taken with an ordinary Instamatic camera.

The guitar work by Lennon on "Look at Me" is similar to that on "Julia" and "Dear Prudence" and was taught to Lennon, according to most sources, by Donovan when the two musicians were in Rishikesh, India in 1968.

For more information on Beatles albums (group and solo), go to Beatles Albums: Background and History or see the Sitemap below.

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