WAS JOHN'S SOLO CAREER ANY GOOD ?

Discussions related to John Lennon as Beatle and his solo career.

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Postby kylestyle » Mon Jan 17, 2005 12:18 am

I love the production style of ATMP. It's got crisp clear acoustic guitars, big reverby drums, lots of horns / trumpets etc, it sounds almost like 'an event', like it was recorded during some open-air rock festival and you're right in the thick of it, take 'What Is Life' for example, it sounds HUGE! then you've got the stripped-downness rootsyness of Apple Scruffs, or My Sweet Lord - never before has an acoustic guitar seem so grand when strummed before. It's got that classic hit quality because of the way the production has been layered on that song. You've got the acoustic guitars, then electric guitars come in, then you have vocals, then you have those crisp-but-mixed-up-nice-and-loud drums, then you've got all those background voices, the textures created are wonderfully done in my opinion and suit the songs well. Think about a song like I Dig love - with that slap-delay on the drums, to give it like a Sun Studios feel, only "bigger". I love it.
I needed comfort of love just to get me some piece of mind.. wo-oh
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Postby Steve-o » Mon Jan 17, 2005 8:23 am

Yeah, KS, we know you love Spector, lol. I think the entire thing sounds anything BUT crisp. Some of the suiotar parts are mixed well, it's just the horns, the drums etc.....the wall of sound makes we wanna hurl. Great tunes, crappy production----out-dated the day it came out.
How Come No One Older Than Me Ever Seems To Understand The Things I Wanna To Do?
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Postby Harrythebannister » Sun Jul 15, 2007 8:22 pm

Actually, I think the last great Lennon album was Imagine. Walls And Bridges was OK but that was about it!!!
If you edit out Yoko's songs on Double Fantasy & Milk & Honey, you get a pretty good final album!
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Postby Ringo_Marr » Thu Jul 26, 2007 2:23 am

John's solo material is like listening to a therapy session...since I'm a therapist, I get a lot out of his songs, even use some of them in my group activities. Paul writes great medolies (better than John in most cases) but he is an average lyricist...he doesn't have much depth beyond the standard love song. George was opposite, great lyrics but often lacked the melodic ability to send the message...and then there is ol' Ringo, bless him.
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Postby mervap » Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:41 pm

I was reading the thread about JL being a good musician and thought of a reply while I was reading this one, but it is applicable to this thread as well...I think all four lads were as good as they needed to be at any given time. Sounds like a cop-out, duddn't it? Well, when together, they had to be at the top of their game...these guys knew each other well and also knew when someone was sagging off. I do think JL's solo career was uneven at best...2 classics to start off (POD & Imagine) and then...without Macca's balance or competition, JL tended to lose some focus on musical aesthetics and go with his gut, sometimes with semi-disasterous results. There are tracks from every JL solo album that I like. (except those experimental sound happenings with yoko) :roll:
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Re: WAS JOHN'S SOLO CAREER ANY GOOD ?

Postby efghijiloveyou » Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:51 am

I think John's solo career was great! I am, of course a crazy Beatles fan and might be a little biased. The Plastic Ono Band stands as the solid bedrock of what John was about and also stands the test of time- a truly great piece of work of the highest order, an artistic achievement. Imagine is, as John once said, a sugar-coated Plastic Ono Band, which is a pretty good assessment. It's maybe the most accessible Lennon album. Imagine, Gimme Some Truth, Jealous Guy and Oh Yoko! are of Beatles quality and are highlights of this album and of John's solo catalogue. And then there's Sometime in New York City...apart from a handful of tracks (think New York City, John Sinclair, and the underated Well (Baby Please Don't Go), which features a searing Frank Zappa lead guitar), it's a pretty dismal album, but everyone's entitled to a few mistakes, even Beatles. Mind Games came next and it's apparent John was listening to his fans and critics, cause it's a return to form. This album gets generally poor reviews from people and frankly, for the life of me, I don't know why. It's a great effort from John and contains some of his best work as a solo artist. Mind Games could easily be mistaken for a Beatles song, as could Meat City (think White Album), Out The Blue (an unbelievably great track and just NEVER talked about), and Bring on the Lucie. Aisumasen (I'm Sorry) would have fit nicely on Plastic Ono Band. I Know (I Know) and You Are Here point the way to Double Fantasy without being diminished in comparison. Even a throwaway like Tight A$ is a fun listen. Walls and Bridges gets mixed reviews usually and I agree it's got it's ups and downs, however the recently remixed WAB opened my mind up a little to lesser tracks like Going Down on Love and Bless You. I always liked Nobody Loves You (When You're Down And Out) and Surprise, Surprise(Sweet Bird of Paradox)...by the way, anyone notice how many Lennon song titles use parentheses?...Whatever Gets You Through the Night, Steel and Glass and Number 9 Dream (another Beatelsesque track) dominate this album, but I really dig Scared and especially What You Got, which is John's last real screamer, I think. The Rock 'n' Roll lp is also woefully underated. While not an album of originals (which might be the source of much of the criticism), it still stands as a strong collection of memorable performances like John's song-defining take on Stand By Me. In fact, great vocal (and musical) performances abound on this album. Rip it Up/Ready Teddy is classic Lennon, so what if he didn't write it (great drumming, too by the way). Slippin' and Slidin', You Can't Catch Me, and Ain't That A Shame are also red hot rockers. There's not much here to dislike in fact. Finally, Double Fantasy and Milk and Honey. I really consider these two one and the same, since they were recorded mostly at the same time. I think these songs get short shrift for a number of reasons. The co-insiding of John's murder and Double Fantasy's release will forever remain inseperable to many. The early eighties production. Yoko. But it's been 30+ plus years since John's death and the music has found a life outside of the times in which it was introduced, I think. Also, with the remixes and (thank you, God) the invaluable 'stripped down' version of Double Fantasy we can hear the music in a more modern setting. And if you're like me, you'll combine all the John tracks from these sessions and reveal the wonderful and balanced John Lennon album that was there all along. To Me, it sounds like what a John Lennon solo album might have sounded like in, say 1965, 1966. It's a return to his early Beatles years, especially Woman, (Just Like) Starting Over, Watching the Wheels and Dear Yoko. If taken as one album, it's probably his strongest commecial output since his early Beatles days. And just maybe his best album.
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Re: WAS JOHN'S SOLO CAREER ANY GOOD ?

Postby EddieV » Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:20 am

His last great album was Imagine. That and POB are classics. He some kind of a comeback in 1980, but then he was shot unfortunately!
Now junior behave yourself
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Re: WAS JOHN'S SOLO CAREER ANY GOOD ?

Postby ahawk66 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:16 pm

I loved "POB" and most of "Imagine", but I found it hard to like much until "Double Fantasy", and it may only come down to production. There's something dated and dull about some of his solo stuff in the sound department. And I know he took a lot of heat for the "DF" songs, but I really liked what he did on the comeback. It sounds fresh and clean (the stripped down versions even more).

That said, I LOVE "Out the Blue" and "I Know (I Know)" from Mind Games, and I feel I need to give Walls and Bridges another shot. Maybe his solo stuff was spotty because he seemed to have a hard time writing about anything out of his own experiences, and when he did, he said he didn't like those songs ("Mr. Kite", many early Beatles songs). Paul always was able to separate himself from the lyrical content (sometimes painfully, but most of the time very well). Dylan can do the same, where he may twist his own experience into something about someone or something else. Writing about your feelings is great at times, but not all the time. That's why John & Paul worked well together (IMO), because they balanced the inward/outward songwriting views.
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Re: WAS JOHN'S SOLO CAREER ANY GOOD ?

Postby Craigerb » Wed Nov 14, 2012 5:42 pm

Wow, reviving a thread after 5 years. Elijah, you must have been trolling the archives.
Steve-o's original ratings: Beatles = A+, Paul: B+, John: C+, George: D+, Ringo: D ...or is it :D
My ratings:
Beatles = A+
Paul: A+
John: A
George: A
"And in the end/The love you take/Is equal to/The love you make."
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Re: WAS JOHN'S SOLO CAREER ANY GOOD ?

Postby edrebber » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:04 pm

I think John's work was marred by drug use, putting Yoko's music on his albums, using his music to make political statements and using his music to attack McCartney.

LPIT - C
POB - A
Imagine - B
STINYC - D
MG - C+
WB - B-
DF - C

Final - C+
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