Album of the Day: John Lennon (9/9/71)

John Lennon issued 12 separate albums between the 1969 breakup of the Beatles and his murder in December 1980. Six were studio albums recorded with Yoko Ono and/or the Plastic Ono Band, four were straight solo discs, one was a live recording and the last was a “best of” compilation of his non-Beatles singles, Shaved Fish (1975). Of the lot, his September 9, 1971 solo album Imagine is the best, due in large part to the peace and love exultation of the marvelous title track.

But Imagine also contains some of Lennon’s lesser-known gems. From the pot-shot at former composing partner Paul McCartney on “How Do You Sleep?” to the beer-hall bounce of “Crippled Inside” to the shuffling love song “Oh Yoko” to the piano-and-strings balladry of “Jealousy Guy,” they’re the best all-around set of Lennon’s non-hit, post-Beatles work. Imagine may lack the deep introspection, primal screaming and vehement protest themes of his other albums, but that’s a large reason why it was an across-the-board #1 seller in the U.S., the U.K., Australia and Japan.

— Dr. Rock


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