John Lennon

Signature Box

Box Sets

John Lennon

Signature Box (Capitol)

Of the Beatles, John Lennon appeared the most at-odds with his life. That had everything to do with being one of the fabled Fab Four, but the Liverpudlians' de facto leader shouldered the fame with a chip, playing out his frustrations in a decade's worth of music after the Beatles and before his death. He had two audiences: the one that followed him and the one that kept a reluctant distance thanks to Yoko Ono. Known as the Signature Box, "The Ballad of John and Yoko" could just as easily apply. Accounting for 11 CDs are Lennon's official solo LPs, remastered – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970), Imagine ('71), Mind Games ('73), Walls and Bridges ('74), and Rock 'n' Roll ('75) – as well as John and Yoko's 2-CD Some Time in New York City ('72), Double Fantasy (1980), and the posthumous Milk and Honey ('84), plus two CDs of home demos, a 65-page book, commemorative print, and three essays by his family. The subjects could be brilliant and brutal ("Working Class Hero," "How Do You Sleep?"), mawkish and maudlin ("Love"), strident and strained ("Woman Is the Nigger of the World"), or exuberant and energetic ("Whatever Gets You Thru the Night"), but melodically, he didn't stray far from piano ballads and rock tunes. Yoko Ono's presence is no less felt – she's the more musically progressive – and a short arc connects her 1972 "We're All Water" with the B-52s seven years later, much as "Don't Be Scared" from Milk and Honey sounds like Tom Tom Club. The bonus discs offer alternate takes but should have included the DVD from the Power to the People: The Hits collection. Its videos are dated and limited, but deeply compelling. Lennon's many faces blended with his songs are visually reassuring, like his still-boyish smile during the sweetly defiant and romantic "#9 Dream." Lennon's mantra says it all: "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."

***

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More John Lennon
Rock & Roll Books
Lennon on Lennon: Conversations With John Lennon
Lennon on Lennon: Conversations With John Lennon

Greg Beets, Dec. 9, 2016

Letters at 3AM
Letters at 3AM
Working class hero

Michael Ventura, Dec. 9, 2005

More Music Reviews
Friday ACL Fest 2018 Record Reviews
Curtis Roush
Cosmic Campfire Music (Record Review)

Thomas Fawcett, Oct. 12, 2018

Saturday ACL Fest 2018 Record Reviews
Trampled by Turtles
Life Is Good on the Open Road (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, Oct. 12, 2018

More by Margaret Moser
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?

March 3, 2017

Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
A look back at illustrated album covers old and new

July 29, 2016

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

John Lennon

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle