John has always been my favorite beatle, including the solo careers. However, not every solo album by John attracts my ears. I've found that I'm not fond of the two extremes of John's solo career: his first, under-produced and sad album (Plastic Ono Band
); and his last, over-produced and happy album (Double Fantasy
). I'm not taken into account less relevant works like the early expermental records or the posthumous Milk And Honey
I think John in 1970 was a dead John, because the live John would never have concluded an album with the phrase "the dream is over". And John in 1980 was a fake John, because the true John would never have jumped to that over-sugary wagon. Thus, the John I prefer is that from 1971-1975: more authentic, resurrected and still free from 5 years of househusband contamination. But paradoxically, Plastic Ono Band
is his most critically acclaimed album and Double Fantasy
may have been his most chart-successful work (though his sad death had something to do with that). So I guess I'm swimming against the current here...
Anyway, there are four John's albums that I really need: Imagine
(1971), Mind Games
(1973), Walls And Bridges
(1974) and Rock 'N' Roll
(1975). I'm afraid Sometime In New York City
(1972) is too Yoko-contamined for my liking. The four mentioned albums are the source of essential songs like "Imagine", "Jealous Guy", "Oh My Love", "Mind Games", "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night", "#9 Dream" and "Stand By Me". They also contain some hidden gems like "How?", "Out The Blue", "Steel And Glass" and "Slippin' And Slidin'". I think the introspective, ironic and nostalgic John can be found in those records, which may not be constantly brillant, but I spend a good time listening to them.
What about you? Which John's albums do you need or listen more frequently?