Written By T. Michael Testi
John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band is former Beatle John Lennon's first official solo album. It was released in 1970 after having issued some experimental albums with Yoko Ono and Live Peace in Toronto 1969. This album was recorded simultaneously with Yoko Ono's debut album Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band. It was recorded at Ascot Sound Studios and Abbey Road Studios using the same musicians and production team for each album.
It is said that Lennon was suffering as a tortured individual when this album was created. He was done with the Beatles and all that they stood for, and was looking for music that was much more real, and perhaps less plastic. He had begun to see Dr. Arthur Janov whose controversial "Primal Scream" psychiatric treatments had the medical establishment raising their eyebrows. Lennon took this therapy into the studio and produced a primal masterpiece.
Classic Albums: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band examines in detail the creation of this album and the effect it had on music, and the people who created it. This included Ringo Starr on drums, Klaus Voormann (a member of Manfred Mann, and old friend from the early Hamburg years of the Beatles) on bass, and Billy Preston; sometimes referred to as the fifth Beatle on piano. And of course Lennon himself on guitar.
The video uses detailed analysis and new interviews with Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr, Klaus Voorman, and Abbey Road studio engineers Phil McDonald and Richard Lush. Also included is Dr. Arthur Janov, and Rolling Stone founder Jan Wenner.
Along with interspaced live footage, the DVD also includes interviews with peers and relevant fixtures in the music scene, as well as with those who were just part of the party. The track listing include excerpts from "Mother," "Hold On," "Isolation," "I Found Out," "God," and "Working Class Hero."
I found Classic Albums: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band to be entirely entertaining. There are quite a few "little seen" clips of John Lennon at different events. One really rare segment is John and Yoko's appearance on "Parkinson" in July of 1971.
One of the coolest parts of Classic Albums: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band is the time with the engineers. Here they pull out the multi-track tapes, and while playing them they isolate out specific tracks so you can hear Voorman's bass riffs, Starr's drum lines, or even Lennon's blood curdling screams. There are even shots of the EMI Tape boxes which show the dates of the recordings. Very cool inside stuff.
If you are a Lennon fan, a fan of rock musical history, or even just a history buff, Classic Albums: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band is really a must own DVD. It is extraordinarily well done, and definitely worth the price of admission.