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.
This year, Yoko Ono Lennon and Capitol/UMe celebrate 50 years of John’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 the album 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 mixer/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 John’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.
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 original speeds, and includes three unreleased improvisations.
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.
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 Evolution 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.
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 John’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 John after marriage to Yoko 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.
John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band – The Ultimate Collection Super Deluxe Edition Contains:
– 6 CDs containing 6 hours 18 mins of music: 102 tracks in 44.1kHz/16bit stereo.
– 2 Blu-Ray Audio Discs containing over 11 hours of music: 159 tracks of High-Definition, Studio Quality 192kHz/24bit audio, including mixes in Stereo, 5.1 Surround and Dolby Atmos.
– 132-Page Book
– Poster: ‘WAR IS OVER! (IF YOU WANT IT) Love and Peace from John & Yoko’
– 2 Postcards: ‘Who Are The Plastic Ono Band?’ and ‘You Are The Plastic Ono Band’
Pre-order HERE for $136. The set will be released on April 16, 2021. The track listing can be found HERE.