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Author Topic: Microscope: Imagine  (Read 3376 times)

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Bobber

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Microscope: Imagine
« on: February 20, 2013, 11:39:10 AM »

Imagine



Imagine
The song with which John is identified with most. It’s terribly overplayed and I have heard it too many times to be surprised by it. Still I can enjoy this song as it’s well played and produced. The strings are nice and are Phil Spectors idea I presume. A hopeful start in every way.

Crippled Inside
Who always thought that granny music was Paul McCartney’s department? Here comes John Lennon with a honky tonk piano (starting at 0.14) and he slides away into a simple 16-bar bluesy kind of thing that sounds as if it was recorded in 1950. A bit of slide guitar in the second verse and in the solo adds all to that feeling. A nice song to tap along with, but that’s about all there is. Full of musical cliches.

Jealous Guy
Beautiful song which had come to John in India in the spring of 1968 as Child Of Nature. The song his fully grown up here. Maybe the string section during the solo (John’s whistling) is a bit too much. Is there a version available without Phil’s strings? Still it’s a nice arrangement, but I’m just curious. Even Bryan Ferry couldn’t do it better than John.

It’s So Hard
It certainly is. Here’s another song full with musical cliches. Not surprising at all. Even the addition of the terrible sounding saxophone is pretty clear from the start. The middle section is alright to me (When it’s good.... from 1.13). Who thought that a string-kind of solo would do the song any good? Because it certainly doesn’t. The guitars sounds awful, like they are the cheapest ones John’s could find. Not one of John’s best efforts.

I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier Mama
I like this better. Something interesting is happening here. There’s some tension in the music that makes it worth to listen to it again. John’s voice is reverbed/echoed but it’s well done. Drums and bass provide an ongoing rhythm on which guitar and piano are improvising, although, it sounds like that. There’s not much lyrics and that adds to the feeling that this song was made up during a jam or so, as does the length of the song, but still it’s a good thing to listen to.

Gimme Some Truth
Here we go again. John is ruining his album with another rant. He drops in immediately from the start. Pity. The drums are very heavy and the rhythm section in total is pompous and far too slow to give the song the power it should have. Is that guitar solo from George Harrison? It sounds like him and it shows me that, if I’m right, George lacked an original idea. Pretty boring song to listen to,all in all.

Oh My Love
This is much better. Oh My Love is a beautiful ballad. John’s voice is double tracked and sounds delicate and vulnerable. Love that little bell at 1.00. A strange thing that I noticed: the lower notes from the piano are in my right ear, the higher, loosy played notes are at the left. It doesn’t sound logical somehow. Besides that, a beautiful highlight.

How Do You Sleep
The dig at Paul. Oh well, it’s just the kind of thing that boys do. But because it’s The Beatles, digs like these are always blown out of proportion. Besides the digs, this is a pretty good song actually. I guess John did his best to make this a song to remember, ha2ha. The introduction is reminiscent of Sgt Pepper and John starts with that line to underline that feeling. ‘So Sgt Pepper took you by surprise’. How Do You Sleep is another kind of bluesy song on the album, but done in a much better way. Phils strings are adding to working up to the climax of the chorus (0.53). Guitar, bass and drums produce a nice hook. Good song, well worked out. One that John really put an effort in.

How
This one song shows more honesty about John’s state of mind than the complete Plastic Ono Band album. Plus it’s a very nice song. Again, I’m curious to hear it without the strings, which are becoming a bit too much at this point of the album. It particularly shows at the middle section, which is a nice piece of music and is well written, but the strings are a too much here.

Oh Yoko
A forgettable piece of singalong junk. John’s voice is double tracked but out of sync here and there, which annoys me. John is singing the second part of the chorus in falsetto, but it sounds pretty bad to be honest. And what’s that mouth organ doing?

All in all there's some great and beautiful songs on this album (Imagine, Jealous Guy, Oh My Love, How Do You Sleep, How), but some bad ones as well (It's So Hard, Give Me Some Truth), so I wouldn't call it a masterpiece. Still nice to hear a couple of songs from this album every now and then.
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope: Imagine
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2013, 01:41:14 PM »

You're going faster than usual Bobber! It think Imagine is John's All Things Must Pass or Band On The Run, an enjoyable piece of music. I put Plastic Ono Band in a different category, an album that one may not play that often (who wants so much pain?), but with higher artistic merits. I don't necessarily rate the albums according to how much I enjoy them, but I understand those who do that.
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Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Imagine
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2013, 01:57:31 PM »

You're going faster than usual Bobber!

I know. I'm trying to finish John's solo output as soon as possible.
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope: Imagine
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2013, 02:31:10 PM »

I know. I'm trying to finish John's solo output as soon as possible.

Bad steps must be done faster? ;D
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Microscope: Imagine
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2013, 04:01:15 AM »

I have only two LPs from John's solo years; Imagine and Rock 'n' Roll.  I gave my John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band LP to my sister years ago in trade for the Rock 'n' Roll album.

Last night, I listened to my Imagine LP and heard it the way I first did in the Fall of 1971 when I bought it.  Listening to the LP unleashed a flood of memories from my youth, I must say.  I'm still trying to sort them out so I'll just comment on the songs as they come to mind for now.


Oh Yoko!

I really like this song.  It's beautiful in its lilting melody and message: John was in love with Yoko and he was telling the world.  I like the piano backing very much and how John's harmonica outro alternately moves between the right and left channels.  I think Phil Spector did a nice job in its production. 

I remember a late Fall evening in 1971 visiting a friend and sitting on the stoop of his house playing my guitar.  A few of his sister's friends stopped over and wound up sticking around to listen.  I was playing delta blues and Bob Dylan songs so I had my harmonica holder around my neck and a few harmonicas in my guitar case.  The Imagine album was high on the charts at the time and one of the girls asked me to play a song from the album.  I played Oh Yoko! and they soon joined in giving me the chance to do some harmonica accompaniment.  It's too bad there wasn't a tape recorder available.  I think we sounded pretty good.

It's at the end of the LP and as I sat there reflecting on the song, I realized that it reminded me of another song from the past.  I took out my America Holiday CD and listened to Lonely People...


America - Lonely People [HQ]



The Holiday album was produced by Sir George Martin.  Perhaps he was responsible for some of the similarities like the ragtime piano and how Dan Peek says "hit it!" before his harmonica solo at 1:27 

John says "right!" just before his harmonica solo at 2:49


John Lennon Oh Yoko!



I understand this was the last time John played harmonica on his recordings.
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Bobber

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Re: Microscope: Imagine
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2013, 07:29:10 AM »

I wish I had such memories, especially concerning John's solo output. By the time I became aware of John Lennon in the first place, it was 1976 and John's output was more or less history by then. That's probably why I don't have any special memories towards John's work. I was never excited when a new album was released. You understand I lean more towards Paul and George for that matter.
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Yeshelloitsmehereagain

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Re: Microscope: Imagine
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2013, 10:37:29 AM »

Interesting that you find the strings a bit out of place occasionally on this. I feel they go well on here. Later they get a bit much and good greif turn down that brass. But I like this album, it's certainly up there with the best solo's.
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nimrod

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Re: Microscope: Imagine
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2013, 12:15:11 PM »

Thats a great post Baz, I too am a big fan of Oh Yoko and I agree it definatly influenced America's Lonely People, in fact you can hear a lot of Beatle stuff in America music, they loved The Beatles and even persuaded George Martin to produce them. I believe theyre Hatrick medly was theyre version of side 2 Abbey Rd.
Oh Yoko is a wonderful song, full of the magic of John Lennon, Im guessing its one of those songs that he wrote in about an hour (like Hard Days Night), I love the honky tonk and the falsetto when he repeats 'Oh Yoko' for the second time on each verse. You can tell he put his heart & soul into singing this song.
Its really crazy but when I was about 18 we used to go to a local park on Sundays with acoustics and sing songs, like from Love Forever Changes, Question by The Moody Blues and another favourite was (you guessed it) Oh Yoko, and like you I wish someone had had a cassette recorder..
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Kevin

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Re: Microscope: Imagine
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2013, 06:13:03 PM »

Evening all.
Haven't heard this for years but I remember it being pleasant enough.
Strange that for what was supposed to be his big commercial release there is a real lack of potential singles here. Couldn't write them??? Didn't want to write them???
The album comes and goes a bit and lacks a big moment (and a catchy single) but nice enough.
I like Oh Yoko as well. Jaunty in a Paul McCartney kind of way. It's nice.
I remember everyone thinking his trashing of Macca was very cool (McCartney was little short of satan spawn at the time.)
Nice picture of a pig too.
Nice.

Can't wait for DTINYC.
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nimrod

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Re: Microscope: Imagine
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2013, 10:45:26 PM »

Evening all.
Haven't heard this for years but I remember it being pleasant enough.
Strange that for what was supposed to be his big commercial release there is a real lack of potential singles here. Couldn't write them??? Didn't want to write them???
The album comes and goes a bit and lacks a big moment (and a catchy single) but nice enough.
I like Oh Yoko as well. Jaunty in a Paul McCartney kind of way. It's nice.
I remember everyone thinking his trashing of Macca was very cool (McCartney was little short of satan spawn at the time.)
Nice picture of a pig too.
Nice.

Can't wait for DTINYC.

I does contain 2 No 1's Kevin (Imagine & Jealous Guy)..not bad,

Its my favourite solo Beatle album, if I had to choose 1 solo album to be marooned on a desert island it would be Imagine
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Microscope: Imagine
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2013, 11:05:26 PM »

I wish I had such memories, especially concerning John's solo output. By the time I became aware of John Lennon in the first place, it was 1976 and John's output was more or less history by then. That's probably why I don't have any special memories towards John's work. I was never excited when a new album was released. You understand I lean more towards Paul and George for that matter.

That's a bit of what it was like coming of age in the 1960s and growing up with The Beatles, Cor.  My perspective differs a bit from some members here and is the same as several others.  In retrospect, I'm grateful for the experience.
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Microscope: Imagine
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2013, 11:36:19 PM »

Thats a great post Baz, I too am a big fan of Oh Yoko and I agree it definatly influenced America's Lonely People, in fact you can hear a lot of Beatle stuff in America music, they loved The Beatles and even persuaded George Martin to produce them. I believe theyre Hatrick medly was theyre version of side 2 Abbey Rd.
Oh Yoko is a wonderful song, full of the magic of John Lennon, Im guessing its one of those songs that he wrote in about an hour (like Hard Days Night), I love the honky tonk and the falsetto when he repeats 'Oh Yoko' for the second time on each verse. You can tell he put his heart & soul into singing this song.
Its really crazy but when I was about 18 we used to go to a local park on Sundays with acoustics and sing songs, like from Love Forever Changes, Question by The Moody Blues and another favourite was (you guessed it) Oh Yoko, and like you I wish someone had had a cassette recorder..

Yeah, Kev, it's not like today where someone always has a smartphone to capture these moments. 

Question remains one of my favorites since its release in 1970.  How I loved the sound of Justin's Gibson 12-string!  It took over 20 years, but in 1994 I bought a 1991 blonde Guild JF30-12, the model he used then and uses currently.  I think it's such a pretty guitar with its arched back, ebony fretboard and gold hardware.
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Microscope: Imagine
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2013, 11:41:35 PM »

Evening all.
Haven't heard this for years but I remember it being pleasant enough.
Strange that for what was supposed to be his big commercial release there is a real lack of potential singles here. Couldn't write them??? Didn't want to write them???
The album comes and goes a bit and lacks a big moment (and a catchy single) but nice enough.
I like Oh Yoko as well. Jaunty in a Paul McCartney kind of way. It's nice.
I remember everyone thinking his trashing of Macca was very cool (McCartney was little short of satan spawn at the time.)
Nice picture of a pig too.
Nice.

Can't wait for DTINYC.

Mine went missing.   :(


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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Microscope: Imagine
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2013, 12:18:28 AM »

...they loved The Beatles and even persuaded George Martin to produce them. I believe theyre Hatrick medly was theyre version of side 2 Abbey Rd.

I remember reading that, Kev.  Anyway, I know you're one person who won't think I'm silly when I say that Muskrat Love is one of my favorite songs.
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nimrod

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Re: Microscope: Imagine
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2013, 12:45:03 AM »

I remember reading that, Kev.  Anyway, I know you're one person who won't think I'm silly when I say that Muskrat Love is one of my favorite songs.

I was always a big fan of America Baz from the very first time I heard them, was very sad when Dan left, he was my favourite of the 3, he was obviously a sensitive soul and I think the drugs got him. (have you read his book ?)
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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Microscope: Imagine
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2013, 02:07:32 AM »

I was always a big fan of America Baz from the very first time I heard them, was very sad when Dan left, he was my favourite of the 3, he was obviously a sensitive soul and I think the drugs got him. (have you read his book ?)

Thank heaven we had groups like America during the disco 70s, Kev.  I couldn't wait for that decade to end!

You could tell Dan was like that just watching him perform.

I have to start reading regular books again.  Right now I'm reading an excellent text in surgical head and neck pathology.   :)
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Kevin

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Re: Microscope: Imagine
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2013, 08:19:56 AM »

I does contain 2 No 1's Kevin (Imagine & Jealous Guy)..not bad,


Jealous Guy was a single (in his lifetime)????
Considering McCartney managed 3 singles on Band On The Run and harrison 3 (??) of ATMP, this does seem a bit quiet.
Though to be fair John was very quiet in the single release department generally (only 9 between 70 and 75, nearly half of McCartneys single releases for the same period.)
Surely the accountants at Apple must have hoped for a little more from Lennon?
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope: Imagine
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2013, 01:41:38 PM »

The song "Imagine" was #1 in UK and #3 in US, and as far as I know "Jealous Guy" was not released as a single until the 80's, and it was far from being a #1.

Nevertheless, I don't see why we should rate an album according to the number of hits, some of the best albums ever didn't have any important single. How many hits had Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper's or The White Album, for instance?
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope: Imagine
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2013, 01:53:47 PM »

Considering McCartney managed 3 singles on Band On The Run and harrison 3 (??) of ATMP, this does seem a bit quiet.

What's the third single from All Thing Must Pass apart from "My Sweet Lord" and "What Is Life"? Maybe you're also considering "Isn't It A Pity", the B-side of "My Sweet Lord". Moreover, you should also consider that it was a double album (not counting the jams disc), so it's easier to get more hits from it.
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Kevin

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Re: Microscope: Imagine
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2013, 02:46:37 PM »

The song "Imagine" was #1 in UK and #3 in US, and as far as I know "Jealous Guy" was not released as a single until the 80's, and it was far from being a #1.

Nevertheless, I don't see why we should rate an album according to the number of hits, some of the best albums ever didn't have any important single. How many hits had Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper's or The White Album, for instance?

Agree totally.
Guess it's just that John seemed pretty lean on the singles front all round.
Twas more an observation than a criticism. ( I agree some of the greatest albums are single free...Pink Floyd, Led Zep etc)
Was Lennon doing this on purpose? But  Yoko tells that story about him fretting about not having hits like McCartney.
I can't imagine Apple weren't releasing them because of quality (didn't hold them back with George).
 
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