John Lennon Retrospective

by Jason Warburg


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Singer.  Songwriter.  Bandmate.  Celebrity.  Activist.  Artist.  Husband and father.  These are just a few of the most public roles played by one of the most important musical – and arguably, societal – figures of his generation, John Lennon.

As a founding member, co-chief songwriter and co-lead vocalist of the most important and influential band in the history of popular music, Lennon’s musical legacy would have been secure if he had never played another note after the Beatles broke up in 1970.  But he did, creating a complex, at times uneven, but never dull body of solo work that includes some of the most indelible songs and performances of the era.

It was always just a matter of time before his turn came up to be the Daily Vault’s Artist Of The Month, and so we’re proud to announce that our December 2008 retrospective with feature the music and words of John Lennon.

After releasing a couple of decidedly avant-garde albums of ambient noise that he co-created with wife Yoko Ono, in 1970 Lennon released his first post-Beatles music in the form of the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album, a difficult but often riveting LP of confessional songwriting seemingly torn from the depths of his soul.  From there Lennon’s solo work veered between moments of sublime beauty and sincerity (“Imagine”) to almost schizophrenic diversity (Walls And Bridges) to ragged yet at times glorious tributes to his musical forebears (Rock’n’Roll).

One of the myriad tragic elements of Lennon’s 1980 death at the hands of a deranged fan is that he had just broken a five-year musical silence with the sentimental yet very strong Double Fantasy album.  Even the unfinished leftovers from those sessions proved sufficient to compile the impressive posthumous release Milk & Honey.

This December the Daily Vault celebrates the musical legacy of John Lennon with reviews of 11 Lennon solo albums and collections in a retrospective that begins Friday, December 5 and runs every weekday through Friday, December 19. The majority of these reviews will be appearing on the Vault for the first time.

Founded in January 1997, the Daily Vault has featured more than 5,700 reviews of more than 2,700 artists from all across the musical spectrum, written by a volunteer staff from around the world. Previous Artist Of The Month retrospectives have spotlighted the work of artists from Tori Amos to Frank Zappa, including the Beatles, David Bowie, Garth Brooks, Led Zeppelin, Madonna, Metallica, Pearl Jam and many others. Themed retrospectives have included punk, hip-hop, classic soul, classic jazz, Broadway musicals, Christian Contemporary Music and live albums.

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