When one’s memories are only of the audio of this set of recordings of the Imagine album by John Lennon, you have to prepare yourself for a new thought process of a dear and important work, a thought process that actually gives for a renewed appreciation for one of the great solo Beatle epics.
The imagery that folds over and embraces the songs that we know so well – John and Yoko all dressed up and in a canoe while “Crippled Inside” is playing – imprints new impressions over the reminders of John’s voice and the eclectic playing of the musicians, all coming back like a resurrection. Hearing the instrumentation with a new clarity is the obverse of what you once knew, and it’s a delight.
Seeing Phil Spector – and knowing the outcome of the iconic producer’s life – is a bit of a reality check, but one has to trade off his dark side for Spector’s brilliance. And that is exemplified by my favorite track on Imagine, “Jealous Guy.” Lennon appreciates Spector and tells him so sincely.
While singing “Gimme Some Truth” the nuances of the rock star’s vocal patterns, the body language while recording this now familiar music, it’s as fascinating as it is important.
“That’s the nasty one” John says to George Harrison playing him “How Do You Sleep.” It’s audio revenge porn and Lennon is delighted to play a song about his old pal. Hearing and watching Lennon go through the creative moments on such an epic piece is masterful of the filmmakers (Produced and directed by Andrew Solt from the original 1971 Imagine movie directed by John and Yoko.)
The digital soundtrack mixed at Abbey Road Studios, London by Peter Cobbin and Allan Rouse. “Making of Imagine” May 1971 (oh to go back in time!) Ascot, England. Producers – John, Yoko and Phil Spector.
John Lennon – piano, guitar and vocals
George Harrison – guitar
Nicky Hopkins – piano
Jim Keltner – drums
Klaus Voormann – bass guitar
Allan White – drums
“Don’t confuse the songs with your own life,” Lennon says outside the studio. “I mean, they might have relevance to your own life but, a lot of things do.”
Seeing John Lennon look so young, hearing the blues in his voice for this pop song/ballad, and watching so much footage of this particular rock star in casual moments outside the studio, serious moment at the microphone, just so important for posterity, so important for context, so beautiful to experience.
As the one hour, seven minute and fifty-four second film concludes, John’s angelic voice is singing “Oh My Love” a capella. It is tremendous. Then it snaps back to the DVD home page to Imagine.
JOHN LENNON’S IMAGINE – THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION
The Legendary Singer/Songwriter’s Most Celebrated Solo Album Honored With A Number Of Special Audio Releases
Six-Disc Imagine – The Ultimate Collection Includes Brand New Remastered Stereo Mix, Raw Studio Recordings, Outtakes, Extras and Audio Documentary That Explores Evolution Of Each Song Plus New Surround Mixes On Blu-ray And Updated Quadrasonic Mix
For The Ultimate Deep Listening Experience
Imagine and Gimme Some Truth Films Restored and Remastered With Exclusive, Never-Before-Seen Extras
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.