Sunday, October 09, 2011
IMAGINE AT 40
Today marked the 40th anniversary of the UK release of John Lennon's second solo effort, Imagine. Raiding the Beatles closet for the best of his unused late sixties compositions, he recorded them alongside some new tunes over the course of two weeks.
It takes some contemporary artists that long get a decent drum sound, let alone finish the bulk of a hit album.
Having just installed a state of the art (for 1971) studio at Tittenhurst Park, Lennon brought in a crew of session players and friends (George Harrison dropped by) to accompany him. The result was a very tuneful collection that was critically and commercially successful. Once again, Phil Spector shared production duties with John, though he was given far more to work with than the austere soundscape of Plastic Ono Band had allowed. Strings were added to some tracks ("sugarcoating" as Lennon referred to it later on) as Capitol's PR crew, led by Pete Bennett, wanted something radio friendly that they could market widely.
Very stellar set from the opening, title track right through to the catchy, lighthearted closer, "Oh Yoko". The only tune that doesn't really take off is "I Don't Want to be a Soldier". He seemed to run out of gas with his next two records, despite initially keeping on top of things more than McCartney would with his first solo ventures.
This weekend, John would have celebrated his 71st birthday.