Upon the break-up of The Beatles in the spring of 1970, John Lennon and Yoko Ono decamped to the US to take part in Primal Therapy sessions. The rawness of those classes, lead Lennon to record this official debut released in December 1970. Here, Lennon is backed by the Plastic Ono Band with him and Ono producing with assistance from Phil Spector. Recording was quick, beginning on September 26th and ending a month later.
At times John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band is spare and minimal as Lennon touches on family and the relationship with his parents, especially his Mother numerous times. First single and album opener “Mother” is a devastating way to open an album. “Mother, you had me but I never had you” cuts deep. The album closes with “My Mummy’s Dead”. At a mere 52 seconds, the vocals sound like they were recorded onto a tape recorder.
“Working Class Hero” is an equally powerful track as the opener– “as soon as you’re born they make you feel small” It’s another track that makes it’s intent known in the first line. An understated song that is filled with quiet rage and reminds of Dylan’s 60’s work. The intro to “Love” is long and takes awhile to come to the listener’s attention before Lennon sings “love is real, real is love”, “Isolation” sings of Lennon and Ono just being a boy and girl. To contrast the quieter sounds, “Well Well Well” has a White Stripes thump to begin, filled with distortion and a harder edge. The foundation of “Remember” is a driving rock and roll beat before a gun shot brings it to a close.
On his debut, John Lennon with the help of Yoko Ono leaves the 60s behind. “God” lists all the things that Lennon does not believe in including the bible, Buddha, and the Beatles before declaring that the “dream is over”. What he does believe in is himself and Yoko. Personal, direct and raw John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band is regarded as one of Lennon’s finest with a bucolic cover that looks amazing on vinyl… even if we only have the CD.