On April 16, Yoko Ono Lennon and Capitol/UMe will celebrate 50 years of Lennon’s transformational and influential masterpiece, with the eight-disc super deluxe box set, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band – The Ultimate Collection, an immersive, deep listening experience and in-depth exploration of what John described as “the best thing I’ve ever done.” Fully authorized by Yoko Ono Lennon, who oversaw the production and creative direction, and from the same audio team that worked on 2018’s critically acclaimed Imagine – The Ultimate Collection, including triple GRAMMY®-Award winning engineer Paul Hicks and mixers/engineers Rob Stevens and Sam Gannon, the Ultimate Collection puts listeners in the center of the studio and explores the album’s 1970 recording sessions at EMI Studios 2 & 3, Abbey Road along with Lennon’s post-Beatles singles, “Give Peace A Chance,” “Cold Turkey” and “Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)” from inception to the final master through scores of unreleased and rare demos, rehearsals, outtakes, jams and studio conversations, revealing how these beloved songs came to be. Everything in this expansive box set has been newly mixed from scratch from brand new 192kHz/24bit hi-res transfers. In addition to the various new mixes, the set boasts 87 never-before-heard recordings.
From the haunting, funereal bells and emotional wails of opening track “Mother,” it was immediate – John Lennon’s first solo studio album was unlike anything he had made before. Recorded in 1970, shortly after the demise of The Beatles, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band saw John stripping away the artifice and ornamentation for a visceral artistic exorcism that was confessional, raw, painfully honest, and revelatory. Inspired by the primal scream psychotherapy he and wife Yoko Ono had been practicing with Dr. Arthur Janov, John, joined by the minimalist Plastic Ono Band - Ringo Starr on drums and Klaus Voorman on bass, and producer Phil Spector – confronted his demons, professed his love for his wife, railed against false idols and declared the dream was over on his most personal album. Today it stands as the towering achievement of his solo career – the moment the biggest rock star in the world bared his soul for all to hear – as real as it was revolutionary.
This historical, remixed and remastered collection features 159 tracks across six CDs and two Blu-ray audio discs for more than 11 engrossing hours of music and includes two postcards (“Who Are The Plastic Ono Band?” and “You Are The Plastic Ono Band”) a “War Is Over!” poster and a comprehensive 132-page hardback book with lyrics, rare photos, tape box images, memorabilia and extensive notes. Designed and edited by Simon Hilton, the Compilation Producer and Production Manager of the Ultimate Collection series, the book tells the story behind each of the songs and the making of the album in John & Yoko’s words and the words of those who worked alongside them, through archival and brand new interviews.
THE ULTIMATE MIXES
The original John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album has been faithfully remixed from the ground up by the aforementioned Paul Hicks at Abbey Road Studios under the supervision of Yoko Ono Lennon. Hicks utilized high-definition 192kHz/24bit audio transfers of the original first-generation multitrack recordings to create the best possible recreations of the originals.
The collection includes unreleased stereo outtakes of each song which have been mixed with a balance and EQ more akin to the original album mixes, with a little bit of additional effects – in the style of a “rough listening mix” that John & Yoko and Phil Spector would have used to play them back at Abbey Road.
In addition to the outtakes, the original recordings of each song, either from a home cassette, home tape, or the very first rehearsal or run-through in the studio are included.
THE ELEMENTS MIXES
The Elements Mixes mixed by Hicks bring some of the buried elements not otherwise heard, or in some cases used, up to the surface and presents them on a wider and brighter sound stage to reveal deeper levels of detail and clarity. The idea behind these is that once these elements have been heard listeners will hear details previously hidden in the album mixes in a completely way.
THE RAW STUDIO MIXES + OUTTAKES
Mixed by Rob Stevens, the Raw Studio Mixes transport listeners to the center of the studio at Abbey Road to experience what it was like to bear witness to the recording sessions. The songs have been mixed without effects, tape delays or reverbs, recreating as close to possible what these performances sounded like raw and live.
Despite the serious nature of the album, John and the Plastic Ono Band, which sometimes included Yoko, Billy Preston and Phil Spector, had fun in between takes by spontaneously jamming classic rock ‘n’ roll songs, improvisations and even early versions of some of John’s other songs.
YOKO ONO/PLASTIC ONO BAND – THE LIVE SESSIONS
On October 10th, the day after Lennon’s 30th birthday, Yoko, John, Klaus and Ringo recorded a freeform experimental jam session that would be edited into Yoko’s concurrent album, Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band.
- 6 CDs containing 6 hours 18 mins of music: 102 tracks in 44.1kHz/16bit stereo.
- 2 Blu-Ray Audio Discs containing over 11 hours of music: 159 tracks of High-Definition, Studio Quality 192kHz/24bit audio, including mixes in Stereo, 5.1 Surround and Dolby Atmos.
- 132-Page Book
- Poster: ‘WAR IS OVER! (IF YOU WANT IT) Love and Peace from John & Yoko’
- 2 Postcards: ‘Who Are The Plastic Ono Band?’ and ‘You Are The Plastic Ono Band’
JOHN LENNON/PLASTIC ONO BAND – THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION - SUPER DELUXE EDITION