Yoko Ono Lennon & Capitol/UMe announce John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band - The Ultimate Collection
LEGENDARY ARTIST’S ICONIC DEBUT SOLO ALBUM SESSIONS EXPLORED WITH SUITE OF RELEASES ON APRIL 16 IN CELEBRATION OF 50TH ANNIVERSARY
EIGHT-DISC SUPER DELUXE BOX SET PROVIDES THE ULTIMATE DEEP LISTENING EXPERIENCE THROUGH NEW ULTIMATE MIXES, ELEMENTS, RAW STUDIO AND EVOLUTION MIXES PLUS SCORES OF NEVER-BEFORE-HEARD DEMOS, OUTTAKES, JAMS AND YOKO ONO/PLASTIC ONO BAND LIVE SESSIONS
OVER 11 HOURS OF AUDIO – 159 NEW HI-RES 192/24 STEREO MIXES PLUS ULTIMATE MIXES ALSO IN 5.1 SURROUND AND DOLBY ATMOS
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
NEWS PROVIDED BY
Universal Music Canada
LISTEN TO “MOTHER” (ULTIMATE MIX) BELOW
From the haunting, funereal bells and emotional wails of opening track “Mother,” it was immediate – John Lennon’s first solo studio album was unlike anything he had made before. Recorded in 1970, shortly after the demise of The Beatles, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band saw John stripping away the artifice and ornamentation for a visceral artistic exorcism that was confessional, raw, painfully honest, and revelatory. Inspired by the primal scream psychotherapy he and wife Yoko Ono had been practicing with Dr. Arthur Janov, John, joined by the minimalist Plastic Ono Band - Ringo Starr on drums and Klaus Voorman on bass, and producer Phil Spector – confronted his demons, professed his love for his wife, railed against false idols and declared the dream was over on his most personal album. Today it stands as the towering achievement of his solo career – the moment the biggest rock star in the world bared his soul for all to hear – as real as it was revolutionary.
On April 16, Yoko Ono Lennon and Capitol/UMe will celebrate 50 years of Lennon’s transformational and influential masterpiece, with the eight-disc super deluxe box set, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band – The Ultimate Collection, an immersive, deep listening experience and in-depth exploration of what John described as “the best thing I’ve ever done.” Fully authorized by Yoko Ono Lennon, who oversaw the production and creative direction, and from the same audio team that worked on 2018’s critically acclaimed Imagine – The Ultimate Collection, including triple GRAMMY®-Award winning engineer Paul Hicks and mixers/engineers Rob Stevens and Sam Gannon, the Ultimate Collection puts listeners in the center of the studio and explores the album’s 1970 recording sessions at EMI Studios 2 & 3, Abbey Road along with Lennon’s post-Beatles singles, “Give Peace A Chance,” “Cold Turkey” and “Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)” from inception to the final master through scores of unreleased and rare demos, rehearsals, outtakes, jams and studio conversations, revealing how these beloved songs came to be. Everything in this expansive box set has been newly mixed from scratch from brand new 192kHz/24bit hi-res transfers. In addition to the various new mixes, the set boasts 87 never-before-heard recordings.
The new Ultimate Mix of “Mother” globally launches the album and pre-order today.
Listen to “Mother” BELOW
This historical, remixed and remastered collection features 159 tracks across six CDs and two Blu-ray audio discs for more than 11 engrossing hours of music and includes two postcards (“Who Are The Plastic Ono Band?” and “You Are The Plastic Ono Band”) a “War Is Over!” poster and a comprehensive 132-page hardback book with lyrics, rare photos, tape box images, memorabilia and extensive notes. Designed and edited by Simon Hilton, the Compilation Producer and Production Manager of the Ultimate Collection series, the book tells the story behind each of the songs and the making of the album in John & Yoko’s words and the words of those who worked alongside them, through archival and brand new interviews.
Yoko writes in the preface of the book: “With the Plastic Ono Band albums, John and I liked the idea of this really raw, basic, truthful reality that we were going to be giving to the world. We were influencing other artists, giving them courage, giving dignity to a certain style of vulnerability and strength that was not accepted in society at the time. It was a revolution for a Beatle to say, ‘Listen: I’m human, I’m real.’ It took a lot of courage for him to do it.”
This truly unique expanded edition includes the lively improvised jams John and the band would play between takes, belying the intense subject matter of the album, and the full live recording session of Yoko’s companion LP, Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band, which for the first time presents the songs in their full, unedited lengths and speed, and includes three unreleased improvisations.
Similar to the previous Ultimate Collection, the set offers a variety of new listening experiences that are at once immersive and intimate, ranging from the brand new Ultimate Mixes of the timeless album, which put John’s vocals front and center and sonically upgrade the sound, to the Elements Mixes, which isolate and bring forth certain elements from the multitrack recordings to reveal even deeper levels of detail and clarity, and the Raw Studio Mixes, which allows listeners to experience the moment John and the Plastic Ono Band recorded each song, mixed raw and live without effects, tape delays or reverbs. The Evolutionary Documentary is a unique track-by-track audio montage that details the evolution of each song from demo to master recording via instructions, rehearsals, recordings, multitrack exploration and studio chatter. The Blu-rays present an array of listening options including high-definition, studio quality 192kHz/24bit audio in stereo and enveloping 5.1 Surround and Dolby Atmos mixes.
Plastic Ono Band will also be released in concurrent multiple physical and digital configurations, including as a 1CD that includes the Ultimate Mixes of the original album and the three non-album singles and as an expanded 2CD or 2LP version that adds a disc of outtakes of each song.
THE ULTIMATE MIXES
THE ELEMENTS MIXES
THE RAW STUDIO MIXES + OUTTAKES
THE EVOLUTION DOCUMENTARY
YOKO ONO/PLASTIC ONO BAND – THE LIVE SESSIONS
JOHN LENNON/PLASTIC ONO BAND
John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band was John’s first post-Beatles solo album so interest was high to see what he would do with his newfound creative freedom. The answer shocked the world. Gone was any florid instrumentation or psychedelia as on Sgt. Pepper’s or the kind of jaunty rock and abstract poetry of the band’s final album, Let It Be, and in its place were deeply emotional, profound, autobiographical songs about being abandoned by his mother and father, the loneliness of stardom, his dear Yoko and the end of the cultural revolution. Soundtracked by simple and sparse instrumentation and minimal yet majestic production, Lennon’s voice pierced listener’s hearts like never before as he revealed his true self. It marked his true birth as a solo artist. The album reached the top 10 in both the US and UK, despite the absence of a major hit single.
50 years on, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band is widely considered one of the best albums ever made. Most recently Rolling Stone, who also dubbed it #4 on their list of Best Albums of 1967-87, ranked the album #85 in their 2020 reassessment of The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time, hailing it ahead of its time: “a pure, raw core of confession that, in its echo-drenched, garage-rock crudity, is years ahead of punk.” Pitchfork awarded it #60 in their Top 100 Albums of the 1970s list and it was selected by Time as one of the 100 Best Albums of All Time, declaring: “Lennon’s writing was never sharper, and his still-underrated singing stands with rock’s finest.” As Rolling Stone’s retrospective review remarked, “left out in the open, without protective harmonies or racket, Lennon's singing takes on an expressive specificity that anyone in search of the century's great vocal performances would be foolish to overlook.” A 2010 review from the BBC perhaps summed it up best: “The reality of Plastic Ono Band is that it contains eleven of Lennon’s most accessible and gorgeous melodies and riffs; it’s pure Beatles, but with the layers of studio sophistry stripped away to reveal the nub of the confessional crux. The heartbreaking scream of loss that is ‘Mother.’ The mirror image of ‘My Mummy’s Dead’ and its invention of all things lo-fi. And, in-between, the savaging of aspiration in ‘Working Class Hero,’ the pinched proto-punk fury of ‘I Found Out’ and ‘Well Well Well,’ the fear and self-loathing of ‘Remember’ and ‘Isolation,’ the poignant grasps for comfort within ‘Love’ and ‘Hold On,’ and the slaughter of gods, monsters, The Beatles and the false idols of the 1960s in the peerless ‘God,’ which is still, very possibly, the most thematically ambitious and courageous rock song ever recorded.”
John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band – The Ultimate Collection continues the 50th anniversary celebration of this iconic album, which began in October 2020 with the release of the book, John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band for what would have been Lennon’s 80th birthday. With first-hand commentary by John & Yoko, members of the Plastic Ono Band and other key figures in their lives – including Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Klaus Voormann, Rolling Stone founder and editor Jann S. Wenner and therapist Arthur Janov – and packed with evocative and revealing letters, artworks and photographs – many unseen – by Annie Leibovitz, Richard DiLello, Ethan Russell, Iain Macmillan, John Reader and David Nutter, this incisive volume offers new insights into the raw emotions and open mindset of Lennon after marriage to Ono and the breakup of the Beatles. Beautifully packaged, this landmark publication is hardbound with black-sprayed edges and stenciled with “Who are the Plastic Ono Band?” – riffing on an early teaser campaign for the album from 1970.
ABOUT JOHN LENNON
Source Universal Music Canada
March 5, 2021 12:35am ET by Pressparty