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John Lennon’s Landmark ‘Imagine’ Album Marked With Definitive Box Set

The remixed, remastered 140-track collection has been fully authorised by Yoko Ono Lennon and features countless previously unavailable recordings.

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Imagine box set packshot

One of the focal points of the solo career of John Lennon is being commemorated with the 5 October release by Universal Music of the six-disc box set Imagine: The Ultimate Collection. It was launched with Lennon’s unheard, original piano-and-vocal demo of ‘Imagine’ itself.

Centred on Lennon’s second solo album first released in 1971, when it went to No.1 in six countries including the US and UK the remixed and remastered 140-track collection has been fully authorised by Yoko Ono Lennon, who oversaw its production and creative direction. Exclusive bundles including a limited edition clear vinyl version and Imagine theatrical poster are available in the uDiscover store.

The expanded edition features four CDs and two Blu-ray discs, offering the new ‘Ultimate Mixes’ of the album, which reveals new levels of sonic depth and definition to the work; the ‘Raw Studio Mixes’, which invite the listener to hear Lennon’s unadorned performances of the songs with the Plastic Ono Band; 5.1 surround sound mixes; and a ‘Quadrasonic Album Mix’, which presents the original four-speaker mix of Imagine for the first time since release.

This ultimate edition includes scores of demo recordings, rare outtakes and isolated track elements, all previously unheard. The box set also includes The Evolution Documentary, a track-by-track audio montage mixed by Sam Gannon which details the transition of each song from demo to master recording, with instructions, rehearsals, recordings, exploration of the multi-tracks and studio chatter. Further insight into this period in Lennon’s life comes with the Imagine John & Yoko: The Elliot Mintz Interviews disc, which features revealing conversations John and Yoko had with with the DJ and longtime friend, Elliot Mintz.

Imagine will also be released concurrently as a 2CD deluxe edition, single CD remaster, a 2LP 180g heavyweight black vinyl edition and 2LP limited edition 180g clear vinyl edition. The digital Ultimate Collection will include all of the audio from the four CDs, and the deluxe and standard versions will also have digital equivalents.                      

In the preface of the accompanying 120-page book, Yoko Ono Lennon says: “Imagine was created with immense love and concern for the children of the world. I hope you enjoy it.”

John & Yoko Iain Macmillan

Photo: Iain Macmillan © Yoko Ono

Engineer Rob Stevens, who mixed the ‘Raw Studio Mixes’, recalls of the remarkable discovery that led to the creation of the new box set edition: “Early 2016, during the gestation period of this project, I’m in the Lenono archives with my people going through tape boxes that have labeling that’s unclear, misleading, or missing entirely.

“There’s a 1” 8-track that says nothing more on the Ascot Sound label than John Lennon, the date, and the engineer [Phil McDonald], with ‘DEMO’ on the spine.  No indication of what material was on the tape. One delicate transfer to digital later, the ‘Imagine’ demo, subsequently enhanced superbly by Paul Hicks, appears within this comprehensive set. It was true serendipity.”

Stevens is describing an original, unheard demo of the famous title song from the album, Lennon’s sparse home recording on which he sings and plays piano. The release of this recording marks the global launch of Imagine: The Ultimate Collection, as it becomes available for streaming and for immediate download with all digital album pre-orders.

5 October is also the release date on Eagle Vision of two films by John and Yoko, Imagine and Gimme Some Truth, on DVD, Blu-ray and digital platforms. Both have been hand-restored from the original film reels and remastered in HD; the film soundtracks have also been remixed in surround sound by triple Grammy-winning engineer Paul Hicks.

Both of the physical releases feature never-before-seen extras, including previously unheard “raw” studio mixes and a fascinating insight into a photo shoot with celebrated photographer David Bailey. All are also available for pre-orderImagine will also have a limited release in selected cinemas, highlighted by an exclusive, immersive Dolby Atmos mix of the music and further exclusive extra material.

John Lennon Peter Fordham

Photo: Peter Fordham © Yoko Ono

Says Paul Hicks of the new mixes of the album: “Yoko was very keen that these ‘Ultimate Mixes’ should achieve three things – to be totally faithful and respectful to the originals, be generally sonically clearer overall and should increase the clarity of John’s vocals. ‘It’s about John,’ she said. And she was right. His voice brings the biggest emotional impact to the album.” It was under the supervision of Yoko Ono Lennon, at Abbey Road Studios, that Hicks mixed the ‘Ultimate Mixes’, ‘Outtakes’ and ‘Elements Mixes’ of the collection.

Newly-available material in the sets include a quartet of ‘Elements Mixes’, with strings-only versions of ‘Imagine’ and ‘How?’, the vocals-only versions of ‘Oh My Love’ and the piano, bass, and drums instrumentation for ‘Jealous Guy.’ The ‘Raw Studio Mixes’ on Disc Three capture John and the Plastic Ono Band on the soundstage of Ascot Sound Studios at John and Yoko’s Georgian country home in Tittenhurst, Berkshire.

Alongside the new releases, Thames & Hudson (UK) and Grand Central Publishing (US) will publish  Imagine John Yoko, by John and Yoko, on 9 October, which would have been John’s 78th birthday. The book has been personally compiled and curated by Yoko and is packed with previously unpublished material.

Imagine: The Ultimate Collection is released on 9 October. Exclusive bundles including a limited edition clear vinyl version and Imagine theatrical poster are available in the uDiscover store.

Listen-Buy

Scroll down to read the full Imagine: The Ultimate Collection tracklist and further explore the release at imaginejohnyoko.com.

The full Imagine: The Ultimate Collection tracklist is:

CD1: ImagineThe Album: The Ultimate Mixes Disc 1
Remix in Stereo 16-44.1

Remixed Stereo Album
1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!

The Singles & Extras
11. Power To The People
12. Well… (Baby Please Don’t Go)
13. God Save Us
14. Do The Oz
15. God Save Oz
16. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

CD2: The Ultimate Mixes Disc 2
New Mix in Stereo 16-44.1

Elements Mixes
1. Imagine (strings only)
2. Jealous Guy (piano, bass & drums)
3. Oh My Love (vocals only)
4. How? (strings only)

Album outtakes
5. Imagine (demo)
6. Imagine (take 1)
7. Crippled Inside (take 3)
8. Crippled Inside (take 6 – alt guitar solo)
9. Jealous Guy (take 9)
10. It’s So Hard (take 6)
11. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 11)
12. Gimme Some Truth (take 4)
13. Oh My Love (take 6)
14. How Do You Sleep? (takes 1 & 2)
15. How? (take 31)
16. Oh Yoko! (Bahamas 1969)

Singles outtakes
17. Power To The People (take 7)
18. God Save Us (demo)
19. Do The Oz (take 3)
20. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (alt mix)

CD3: Raw Studio Mixes
New Mix in Stereo 16-44.1

Extended Album Versions: Live
1. Imagine (take 10)
2. Crippled Inside (take 6)
3. Jealous Guy (take 29)
4. It’s So Hard (take 11)
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 4 – extended)
6. Gimme Some Truth (take 4 – extended)
7. Oh My Love (take 20)
8. How Do You Sleep? (take 11 – extended)
9. How? (take 40)
10. Oh Yoko! (take 1 extended)

Outtakes: Live
11. Imagine (take 1)
12. Jealous Guy (take 11)
13. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 21)
14. How Do You Sleep? (take 1)
15. How Do You Sleep? (takes 5 & 6)

CD4: The Evolution Documentary
New Mix in Mono 16-44.1
The story of each song on a journey from demo to master via instructions, rehearsals, recordings, multitrack exploration and studio chat

Album tracks only
1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!

Blu-ray Disc 1: Imagine: The Ultimate Mixes
Remixed Stereo Album, Singles, Extras & Outtakes

Imagine: The Album
Remix in 5.1 & Stereo 24-96
1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!

Singles & Extras
Remix in 5.1 & Stereo 24-96
1. Power To The People
2. Well… (Baby Please Don’t Go)
3. God Save Us (Bill Elliot vocal)
4. Do The Oz
5. God Save Oz (John Lennon vocal)
6. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

The Outtakes
New Mix in 5.1 & Stereo 24-96
1. Imagine (demo)
2. Imagine (take 1)
3. Crippled Inside (take 3)
4. Crippled Inside (take 6 alt guitar solo)
5. Jealous Guy (take 9)
6. It’s So Hard (take 6)
7. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 11)
8. Gimme Some Truth (take 4)
9. Oh My Love (take 6)
10. How Do You Sleep? (takes 1 & 2)
11. How? (take 31)
12. Oh Yoko! (Bahamas 1969)
13. Power To The People (take 7)
14. God Save Us (demo)
15. Do The Oz (take 3)
16. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (alt mix)

The Quadrasonic Mixes
Remastered in Quad 4.0 24-96
Original 1971 Quadsonic Album Remastered
1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!

Blu-ray Disc 2: In The Studio and Deeper Listening
The Raw Studio Mixes – Extended Album Versions – Live
New Mix in 5.1 & Stereo 24-96
Experience, in immersive Surround Sound, the moment John and The Plastic Ono Band record each song live, from a sonic soundstage at the center of Ascot Sound Studios at John & Yoko’s home in Tittenhurst
1. Imagine (take 10)
2. Crippled Inside (take 6)
3. Jealous Guy (take 29)
4. It’s So Hard (take 11)
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 4 – extended)
6. Gimme Some Truth (take 4 – extended)
7. Oh My Love (take 20)
8. How Do You Sleep? (take 11 – extended)
9. How? (take 40)
10. Oh Yoko! (take 1 – extended)

The Raw Studio Mixes – Outtakes – Live
New Mix in 5.1 & Stereo 24-96
1. Imagine (take 1)
2. Crippled Inside (take 2)
3. Crippled Inside (take 6 alt guitar solo)
4. Jealous Guy (take 11)
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 21)
6. How Do You Sleep? (take 1)
7. How Do You Sleep? (takes 5 & 6)
8. How? (takes 7-10)
9. How? (take 40 alt vocal)
10. Oh Yoko! (take 1 tracking vocal)

The Elements Mixes
From the Master Multitracks
New Mix in 5.1 & Stereo 24-96
Mixes from elements of the original multitracks that demonstrate some of the instrumentations from ‘behind the scenes’
1. Imagine (strings)
2. Crippled Inside (upright bass & drums)
3. Jealous Guy (piano, bass & drums)
4. It’s So Hard (strings)
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (guitar, bass & drums)
6. Gimme Some Truth (electric piano & guitar)
7. Oh My Love (vocals)
8. How Do You Sleep? (strings)
9. How? (strings)
10. Oh Yoko! (acoustic)

The Evolution Documentary
New Mix in Mono 24-96
The story of the songs from demo to master in rehearsals, studio chat and mixed multitrack elements
1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!
11. Power To The People
12. Well… (Baby Please Don’t Go)
13. God Save Us/God Save Oz
14. Do The Oz
15. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
16. Tittenhurst Park

Imagine John & Yoko – The Elliot Mintz Interviews
New Mix in Mono 24-96
Tribute by DJ and family friend Elliot Mintz featuring revealing, philosophical, honest and humorous interviews with John & Yoko.

Imagine/ Gimme Some Truth: DVD, Blu-ray And Digital Release
Imagine (Film)
1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Good Morning
4. Jealous Guy
5. Don’t Count The Waves
6. It’s So Hard
7. Mrs. Lennon
8. In Bag
9. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
10. Mind Train
11. Whisper Piece
12. What’s That In The Sky?
13. Power To The People
14. Gimme Some Truth
15. Midsummer New York
16. Oh My Love
17. How Do You Sleep?
18. How?
19. Oh Yoko!
20. Beach / End Credits

Gimme Some Truth (Film)
1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Oh Yoko!
4. Jealous Guy
5. It’s So Hard
6. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
7. Gimme Some Truth
8. Oh My Love
9. How Do You Sleep?
10. How?
11. Imagine

DVD / Blu-Ray Extras
1. Jealous Guy (raw studio out-take)
2. How? (raw studio out-take)
3. Gimme Some Truth (raw studio out-take)
4. David Bailey photoshoot

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Gordon

    August 23, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    Better start saving

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