Lennon Box Set To Give Intimate Glimpse Of Late Beatle

Four-CD anthology will include rare and revealing recordings from ex-Fab Four leader's solo career.

The upcoming four-CD John Lennon box set, The John Lennon Anthology,

will offer a rare glimpse of the ex-Beatles leader through intimate,

never-before-heard home recordings and previously unreleased versions of

some of his biggest solo hits.

Lennon, who formed the Beatles in the late 1950s and went on to

unparalleled fame with the Fab Four, is renowned as one of the greatest

songwriters in rock history. He was murdered by a fan in 1980 outside his

New York apartment building, swiftly ending a recording career that had

seen a long-awaited rebirth with the release of Double Fantasy that

same year.

Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono -- who stood over production of the set -- said she

wanted to deepen fans' understanding of the songs and give a glimpse of

Lennon's creative train of thought.

"This is a celebration of John's music -- and not just for the fans who

knew his music in the old days," Ono said in a prepared statement.

The 94 tracks of Anthology (Nov. 3) will include such private

moments as Lennon parodying former Beatles songwriting partner Paul

McCartney's composition "Yesterday" during a 1974

session for Lennon's solo album Walls and Bridges, as well as home

recordings of Lennon goofing with his young son Sean, who has since gone

on to his own recording career.

The Lennon set already has excited retailers, who have been primed for it

by the strong sales of the recently issued Beatles Anthology sets.

"I haven't placed an order yet," said Aaron Wiseman, rock buyer for a

Westwood, Calif., Tower Records, "and I haven't heard that much about it, but

I think it'll be a pretty big seller. It'll sell real well for the


The collection will be broken down into four parts: Ascot, New

York City, The Lost Weekend and Dakota. The music and

artwork for each CD will relate to a specific phase of Lennon's solo

career, from just prior to the Beatles' official breakup in 1970 to shortly

before his assassination in December 1980.

Executive-produced by Ono, the set will include live tracks, home

recordings, studio outtakes and recordings of Lennon's television appearances.

Among the rarities on disc one are a version of "Working Class Hero" from a

session for the 1970 Plastic Ono Band album (produced by Lennon and

Ono with legendary "wall of sound" producer Phil Spector), a solo

home-recording of "I Found Out" and the first take of Lennon's signature song,


> (RealAudio excerpt).

Disc two features a solo home-recording of "New York City," live versions

of "Attica State" and "Imagine" from a 1972 show at New York's Apollo

Theatre, both a home recording and a live version of "Woman Is the Nigger of

the World" and live versions of "It's So Hard" and the Beatles song "Come

Together" from a 1972 Madison Square Garden show. The disc also features a

rough mix of the yuletide classic "Happy Xmas."

Among the rarities on discs three and four are a solo, acoustic home-

recording of "Whatever Gets You thru the Night," the parody of the

Beatles classic "Yesterday," a previously unreleased version of Little

Richard's "Slippin' and Slidin' " from Lennon's 1975 roots of rock album,

Rock 'n' Roll, a home recording from 1979 entitled "Sean's 'Little

Help,' " home recordings of the Double Fantasy hits "Woman" and

"Watching the Wheels" from 1980, as well as a number of satirical and

previously unavailable 1979 home-recordings entitled "The Great Wok,"

"Mucho Mungo" and "It's Real."

The 60-page Anthology booklet will offer samples of the multitalented

songwriter's artwork, exclusive photographs and selections of the singer's

writings, in addition to detailed notes and commentary.

A single-disc sampler of the box set, entitled Wonsaponatime, will

feature a selection of tracks from the four CDs and will be issued on the

same date as the box set. The track listing for the single disc has not yet

been released.

The release follows on the tail of the wildly successful, three-volume

Beatles Anthology series, which was released from 1995-96 and

included previously unreleased outtakes and live recordings of the Fab

Four's music.

Wiseman said he expects the Lennon anthology to sell along the same lines

as the Beatles collections, if maybe a bit less because of the four-CD


"John's catalog is very important. The tracks on this set aren't all

alternate takes or demos for songs that he included on his albums, but most

of them are," Ono explained in her statement. "There are some real

rarities, of course, but I didn't want to just titillate people's

curiosity. After all, those are the songs that John wanted to put out --

and that's something I gave a lot of weight to."

Capitol Records spokesperson Judi Kerr said there has been talk of creating

a video for a song from Anthology, although the logistics have

not yet been worked out.

The track listing for The John Lennon Anthology is:

Ascot: "Working Class Hero," "God," "I Found Out," "Hold On,"

"Isolation," "Love," "Mother," "Remember," "Imagine," "Fortunately," "Baby

Please Don't Go," "Oh My Love," "Jealous Guy," "Maggie Mae," "How Do You

Sleep?," "God Save Oz," "Do the Oz," "I Don't Want to Be a Soldier," "Give

Peace a Chance," "Look at Me" and "Long Lost John."

New York City: "New York City," "Attica State (live)," "Imagine

(live)," "Bring On the Lucie (Freda Peeple)," "Woman Is the Nigger of the

World," "Geraldo Rivera -- One to One Concert," "Woman Is the Nigger of the

World (live)," "It's So Hard (live)," "Come Together (live)," "Happy

Xmas," "Luck of the Irish (live)," "John Sinclair (live)," "The David Frost

Show," "Mind Games (I Promise)," "Mind Games (Make Love, Not War)," "One

Day at a Time," "I Know," "I'm the Greatest," "Goodnight Vienna," "Jerry

Lewis Telethon," "A Kiss Is Just a Kiss," "Real Love" and "You Are Here."

The Lost Weekend: "What You Got," "Nobody Loves You When You're Down

and Out," "Whatever Gets You thru the Night (home)," "Whatever Gets You

thru the Night (studio)," "Yesterday (parody)," "Be-Bop-a-Lula," "Rip It

Up/Ready Teddy," "Scared," "Steel and Glass," "Surprise, Surprise (Sweet

Bird of Paradox)," "Bless You," "Going Down on Love," "Move Over Ms. L,"

"Ain't She Sweet," "Slippin' and Slidin'," "Peggy Sue," "Bring It On Home

to Me/Send Me Some Lovin'," "Phil and John 1," "Phil and John 2," "Phil and

John 3," "When in Doubt, Fuck It," "Be My Baby," "Stranger's Room" and "Old

Dirt Road."

Dakota: "I'm Losing You," "Sean's 'Little Help,' " "Serve Yourself,"

"My Life," "Nobody Told Me," "Life Begins at 40," "I Don't Wanna Face It,"

"Woman," "Dear Yoko," "Watching the Wheels," "I'm Stepping Out," "Borrowed

Time," "The Rishi Kesh Song," "Sean's Loud," "Beautiful Boy," "Mr. Hyde's

Gone (Don't Be Afraid)," "Only You," "Grow Old With Me," "Dear John," "The

Great Wok," "Mucho Mungo," "Satire 1," "Satire 2," "Satire 3," "Sean's in

the Sky" and "It's Real."