On October 5, Universal Music will pay tribute to John Lennon’s first official solo album “Imagine,” which was released in 1971, with a massive six-disc box set of four CDs and 2 DVDs. The sprawling package, entitled “Imagine – The Ultimate Collection,” will include 140 remixed and remastered selections featuring the original album plus raw studio outtakes, extra singles and B-sides, brand new Surround mixes and an update of the original 1971 quadraphonic mx.
Especially fascinating for Lennon completists will be the “The Evolution Documentary,” a track-by-track audio montage that details the journey of each song from demo to master recording via instructions, rehearsals, recordings, multitrack exploration and studio chatter. In the preface of the included 120-page book , Yoko Ono welcomes Lennon fans with: "’Imagine’ was created with immense love and concern for the children of the world. I hope you enjoy it."
Prior to “Imagine,” John Lennon released five albums outside of his work with the Beatles, some of those issued while the group that rocketed him to unbelievable worldwide fame was still active. The outside work was created under the auspices of John Lennon and Yoko Ono or the Plastic Ono Band. The former triad of albums (“Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins,” “Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions,” and “Wedding Album” are largely experimental home recordings of music and sound effects. The Plastic Ono Band’s “Live Peace in Toronto” concert album featured a rocking Side 1 with Eric Clapton on guitar and a free-form second side spotlighting Yoko’s vocal wailing. 1970’s “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band” studio release directly prefaced “Imagine” with its refocus on well-crafted songs as opposed to more avant-garde jams.
“Imagine” was a fully-realized solo album with some of the best songs John Lennon would ever write, and that includes his work in the Beatles. There was the title track, a plea for peace that would be a top ten single in both England and America, but songs like “Crippled Inside,” “Jealous Guy,” and “Gimme Some Truth” remain gems of his music and lyric writing.
In 1971, John Lennon and Yoko Ono conceived and recorded the “Imagine” album at their country home, Tittenhurst Park, in Berkshire, England, as well as at the Record Plant in New York utilizing the talents of fellow Beatles George Harrison and Ringo Starr among others. After release, the album went to #1 in six countries - Australia, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, U.K. and U.S. The new box set will take listeners through the entire songwriting and recording process - from the very first writing and demo sessions at Lennon's home studio to the final co-production with Phil Spector.
“Imagine” will also be released in multiple physical and digital configurations including as a 2 CD Deluxe Edition, 1 CD remaster, and 2 LP 180 gram heavyweight black vinyl edition as well as 2 LP limited edition 180 gram clear vinyl. The digital Ultimate Collection will include all audio from the four CDs, and the Deluxe and Standard will also have digital equivalents.
In addition, on October 5, Eagle Vision will release two films by John & Yoko, “Imagine” and “Gimme Some Truth,” on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital platforms. Both films have been hand-restored from the original film reels and remastered in HD, and their soundtracks have been remixed in surround sound. Both physical releases feature exclusive, never-before-seen extras including previously unheard "raw" studio mixes.