Lennon Legend: The Very Best Of John Lennon

John Lennon - Lennon Legend: The Very Best Of John LennonIf George Harrison is my favorite Beatle, who’s number two? If I’m to be honest, I can’t choose between Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Each has his own strenghts: McCartney is unequaled when it comes to ballads and beguiling melodies, but if I want something more akin to straight-ahead rock ‘n’ roll, I’ve got to go with John. Sometime back, I traded in my copy of Double Fantasy and got Lennon Legend instead, and it was definitely a trade up, eliminating the need to skip every other track. I’m not one of these Beatles fanboys who rants endlessly about Yoko Ono breaking up the band, I just don’t like her voice or her music on their own merits. Lennon Legend alleviates the elaborate CD player programming required to skip Yoko’s stuff, since it’s all of John’s best. Still my all-time favorite Lennon tune is one of my personal theme songs from the soundtrack of my life, “Watching The Wheels”, though “Nobody Told Me” runs a close second in favorites from John’s post-Beatles repertoire. He occasionally gets a little bit out there (“#9 Dream”, anyone?), but he’s still got his rock ‘n’ roll chops with “(Just Like) Starting Over” and even gives McCartney a run for his balladeer money with “Woman”. And overplayed as it is, and as frequently misread from a lyrical standpoint as it is, I still have to admit that it’s hard to beat “Imagine” or “Jealous Guy” (I’ve always been a huge fan of the latter especially).

So is there any Lennon that I don’t like? Believe it or not, I skip “Give Peace A Chance” almost every time I put this disc in the player. Nor am I partial to “Whatever Gets You Through The Night”, but I can still listen to it; to this day I’m convinced that “Peace” is forever included in Lennon’s best-of collections more for its historical curiosity value, and its association with the man and his views, than for its musical worth. Great sentiment, perhaps a decent song…not the best performance, though.

Still, a solid collection on which you’re almost certain to find something that you liked back in the days when it was getting steady radio airplay (perhaps even before Lennon’s death, if you’re as old as I am or older), and maybe something new to like as well.

As critical as I am of Double Fantasy, by the way, it does have its value musically. Once, a couple of jobs ago, I was trying to bring something to my boss’ attention but he was busy schmoozing on a seemingly 4 out of 4endless network conference call. So, before leaving the second floor to go about my business, I calmly reversed my CD track programming to play only the Yoko Ono tracks on Double Fantasy, cranked the office stereo, and quietly walked downstairs. I can still hear the anguished shouts and screams from the second floor to this day.

Order this CD

  1. Imagine (3:04)
  2. Instant Karma! (3:21)
  3. Mother (3:56)
  4. Jealous Guy (4:16)
  5. Power To The People (3:20)
  6. Cold Turkey (5:01)
  7. Love (3:24)
  8. Mind Games (4:14)
  9. Whatever Gets You Through The Night (3:21)
  10. #9 Dream (4:48)
  11. Stand By Me (3:29)
  12. (Just Like) Starting Over (3:56)
  13. Woman (3:28)
  14. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) (4:02)
  15. Watching The Wheels (3:33)
  16. Nobody Told Me (3:35)
  17. Borrowed Time (4:31)
  18. Working Class Hero (3:52)
  19. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (3:35)
  20. Give Peace A Chance (4:52)

Released by: EMI/Parlophone
Release date: 1997
Total running time: 77:38