John Lennon – The John Lennon Collection
Off the top, despite having a long history with the band (I grew up on my Mom’s jukebox stuffed full of their 45s), I am not really a Beatles fan. And then by extension, solo Lennon wouldn’t necessarily be something I’d buy. I just don’t tend to think about it. Harrison, yes, Lennon… not really.
When we went to New York City a few years ago, it some anniversary of Lennon’s death, and when we were on the bus tour of the city, all the tour guide could talk about was ‘that’s where Lennon did this, and that, and the other thing… oh, and we know for sure he breathed air on that very street corner!” Ugh. Total burnout.
In other words, there won’t be blind lip service and homage from me. I do not think everything the Beatles touched is god-like. Still, I found this for $2 at the thrift shop, in perfect shape, so… alright then, what the hell, I’ll try it.
What I come away with, from listening to this, is that Lennon had great ideas and then rode them hard before putting them away wet. A lot of this stuff is far too repetitive for me. Sure, some tracks aren’t like that (and they’re the best ones here).
I was mentioning this to my lovely wife and she said that solo Lennon definitely does do that, and solo McCartney was always poppier, but together (in the Beatles) they balanced each other out, reigned each other in. I’m by no means an expert on either solo career, but her comment certainly seems insightful and salient to me.
Here’s an example: Give Peace A Chance always reminded me of Trooper’s We’re Here For A Good Time. In Trooper’s case, if you’re here for a good time not a long time, why is your song that long and repetitive? By your own words, it should be a minute long, tops! And here, if all you are saying is give peace a chance, which takes ten seconds to say (at the tempo of the song – I counted), why is your song 4:54? Seriously, people.
Anyway, there’s a ton of hits here. Instant Karma, Imagine, Jealous Guy, #9 Dream, Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy), and on and on. Fans will have the albums, passersby like me would likely have this CD. The truly indifferent will hear him on the radio and then move on (that was me for the longest time).
Of course I knew every song, as it played. But I dunno, for me this was just OK. I didn’t get all hot and bothered about it. I cannot deny his ability with a melody, and a lot of these tunes are so much a part of the fabric of our culture that just about everyone would know them to hear them (whether they’re a fan or not). Is that the strength of these tunes, or just the rabid ‘we’ll play anything’ of carry-over Beatlemania?
Says the guy who couldn’t do anything as good as this. But still, it’s a fair question.
We interrupt our regularly scheduled Rush series to bring you this breaking news update:
My lovely wife took today off from work, giving us a lovely long weekend. Of course, we had some administrative stuff to do downtown (who doesn’t love going to the bank and the post office?) but then we were free to our own devices after that.
On our way back to the car, we passed the back of our local branch of the Salvation Army store, where people drop off their donations. Ah, I see you’re already guessing where this is going…
Yes, a guy was there with a trailer full of stuff, piling it all onto the pavement. At the front of the pile, two boxes of vinyls. Of course, I had to dig through them. Initially, my fears were confirmed – a lot of crap I had no desire to hear. There were a few Bread, Earth Wind & Fire records, some Elton John and Eagles (though as I dug through, he said ‘Eagles! Those shouldn’t be in there!’ and took them back). But most of it wasn’t for me.
There were, however, a few musts. And how much did he want for them? Nothing. I said “Seriously, Dude, let me give you money for these.” He wouldn’t hear of it. Wouldn’t even let me buy him a coffee. He was just happy they were going to a good home. I KNOW!
Folks, here is my TOTALLY FREE score from today:
Most of the vinyls are pristine and all inserts are intact, though Record 1 of the White Album looks like it has a few really light surface scratches – they shouldn’t affect playback. Honestly, these look like they were hardly ever played, if at all. Sadly, the packaging for the Red collection (1962-1966) has some water damage to the front cover, which has caused the two halves to get stuck together. I tried gently prying them apart but they’re fairly well glued, so I won’t pull them anymore. The records themselves, though, are perfect. And who cares? They were FREE!
I’m most intrigued by that collection of Love Songs with the yellow vinyls. They look neat! A quick search of Discogs (using the catalog #) shows a copy like mine to be $35-$40, but they’re worth more than that to me. They’re just neat (and the vinyls are in perfect shape).
So. Am I thrilled? HELLS YES. I still feel bad that the guy wouldn’t take anything for them. I really did try to pay him for them. Heck, I didn’t even catch his name. But he seemed cool with it, so I guess it’s alright.
A chance encounter, some random guy, and some really awesome records.
It was a very, very good day.