The Very Best
With Sir Paul McCartney, guitarist George Harrison and drummer Ringo Starr, The Beatles changed the face of popular music forever.
Nearly all Beatles songs were co-credited to Lennon-McCartney, but Lennon was largely responsible for many of their most experimental songs, such as "Tomorrow Never Knows" (which utilized McCartney's home tape loops), "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Revolution 9".
He was also the primary writer of "A Hard Day's Night", "All You Need Is Love", "I Am The Walrus", "Happiness Is A Warm Gun", "I'm Only Sleeping" and "I Want You (She's So Heavy)", among many others.
After his success with The Beatles, Lennon went on to enjoy a successful solo career and campaign for world peace, before he was tragically shot dead outside his New York apartment at the age of 40.
Before the dissolution of The Beatles in 1970, Lennon formed The Plastic Ono Band with his new wife Yoko Ono, and a revolving door of other musical friends.
In march and may 1969, Lennon and Ono famously staged two week-long 'bed-in' protests for peace, during which he wrote and recorded "Give Peace A Chance", which became a chart hit across the world and an anthem for peace activists.
His first official solo album was the avant-garde John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, which was hugely critically acclaimed and was a Top Ten seller in the UK and USA.
In 1971, he released Imagine, which was consciously more commercial than John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, and again it was widely praised by reviewers and a huge sales success, topping album charts worldwide.
The idealistic title track has become Lennon's most famous solo work, and is often thought to be one of the greatest pop songs of all-time.
Between 1973 and 1975, Lennon and Ono split for a period of 18 months that Lennon referred to as his "lost weekend".
He collaborated with Elton John, David Bowie and Ringo Starr among others, and had a relationship with his personal assistant May Pang. He returned to Ono in 1975 and in october they had their first child, Sean.
After retiring from music to care for his son, John Lennon returned in 1980 with Double Fantasy, a joint effort with his wife.
Only months later, on december 8th, John Lennon was shot four times by Mark David Chapman, who was angry at Lennon for criticising religion and for criticising capitalism while being a multi-millionaire himself.
Lennon was rushed to hospital but had already lost too much blood.
Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon
Because neither collection spanned Lennon's releases up to and including 1984's Milk and Honey, Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon - considered the definitive Lennon retrospective - was compiled to rectify the situation.
It was released in the UK in 1997 through Parlophone and early 1998 in the US by EMI Records.
Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon peaked at #3 on the UK Albums Chart and certified 2x Platinum by the BPI in May 1998.
The album has also certified Platinum in the US and Canada as of december 2008. In the history of Japanese Oricon chart, Lennon Legend has been one of the longest charting albums that failed to reach top 40, selling more than 190,000 copies up to late 2006.
The album re-entered the UK Chart on 18 june 2007, almost ten years after its release, at #30.
"Lennon Legend" replaces the now out-of-print "John Lennon Collection," making a few improvements over the latter.
"Collection" took most of the material from John's first compilation, "Shaved Fish," and added nearly all of John's material from "Double Fantasy" (mercifully leaving out the Yoko Ono noise, as does "Legend").
It left out the relatively non-essential "Woman Is The Nigger Of The World" from "Shaved Fish," but unfortunately had the glaring omission of "Mother" from John's first solo album, "Plastic Ono Band."
"Lennon Legend" partly remedies this by adding an abbreviated version of "Mother". It leaves out two tracks from "Double Fantasy," "I'm Losing You" and "Dear Yoko."
It also omits the rare B-side "Move Over Ms. L," which was included on the CD version of "Collection" but not on the original LP release.
Thus, if you have or can find "Collection," it's worth keeping.
"Legend" also adds two numbers from the now out-of-print "Milk And Honey," the hit "Nobody Told Me" and "Borrowed Time," plus "Working Class Hero" from "Plastic Ono Band."
Basically, "Legend" is a great introduction to John Lennon's solo career, and is the best compilation by far.
Any but the most casual Lennon fan should own "Plastic Ono Band" and "Imagine," and of course his work with The Beatles, but only the more hard-core fan would need any of his solo work that's not included in one of those two or "Legend."
Audio CD February 24, 1998
Original Release Date: February 24, 1998
Number of Discs: 1
All songs written and composed by John Lennon, except where noted.
1. "Imagine" – 3:02
2. "Instant Karma" – 3:20
3. "Mother" – 3:53
4. "Jealous Guy" – 4:14
5. "Power to the People" – 3:17
6. "Cold Turkey" – 5:01
7. "Love" – 3:23
8. "Mind Games" – 4:11
9. "Whatever Gets You thru the Night" – 3:19
10. "#9 Dream" – 4:46
11. "Stand By Me" (Ben E. King/Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller) – 3:27
12. "(Just Like) Starting Over" – 3:55
13. "Woman" – 3:26
14. "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)" – 4:00
15. "Watching the Wheels" – 3:31
16. "Nobody Told Me" – 3:33
17. "Borrowed Time" – 4:30
18. "Working Class Hero" – 3:49
19. "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" (John Lennon/Yoko Ono) – 3:33
20. "Give Peace a Chance" – 4:52