Monday, September 25, 2006

Fall Means Lennon

As solo artists, John and Paul generally released their albums at different times of the year. John's were usually in the Fall and our Paul was the Summer guy (which coincides with their birthdays. Coincidence?).

With that in mind, Fall reminds me of Lennon and I dust of my albums, singles and CDs and get back into his solo works. Although he released 12 albums during his solo career, only six count as legitimate "studio" albums of new material. Rock 'N' Roll, although a cover-song outing, sort of counts, so let's say seven albums.

People always point to Imagine as his finest lp, mostly because of the title song and it's polished production. It is a nice record, no doubt. But I have to say the his first legit lp, Plastic Ono Band, is his best and only masterpiece.

With a stripped down band of Lennon, Ringo and Klaus Voormann (guitar, piano, drums and bass), it's minimalist's style is a perfect fit to the it's feelings of angst, loss and confusion.

I always find it funny when a super-rich star is credited with doing something that is "brave" or "risky". No. Firefighters and test pilots do things that are brave and risky. YOU and I do things on a regular basis that are much more dangerous than making a film or album. I don't think Lennon was being courageous making an album that was so personal and blatantly anti-Beatles. Hell, Ram and All Things Must Pass are equally anti-Beatles.

We should remember that even though he was the only Beatle to be willing to bare his soul to us, he was also a slick, professional songwriter and entertainer. This was good stuff and he knew it. Every song is a winner, unlike Imagine which contains a few cuts not quite up to par with the others ("Crippled Inside" and "Oh, Yoko" come to mind).

Plastic Ono Band is without a doubt the best of the Lennon bunch. Give it a listen in honor of Fall, and John's birthday which is coming up soon. And even though it's depressing and makes us sad, what's sadder is the current state of pop music.


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