CD 1 - Studio Sessions 1. I'm Stepping Out -Take 1, 2. I'm Losing You -Alternate take, 3. Clean-up Time -Rehearsal, 4. Clean-up Time -Early take, 5. Clean-up Time, 6.Starting Over (Just Like) -Studio talk, 7.Starting Over (Just Like)-Dry mix 8.Beautiful Boy-Sweet mix, 9.Dear Yoko-Full mix with additional overdubs, 10.Watching The Wheels-Early mix 11.I Am The Walrus-Dylanesque parody, 12.Woman-Studio Talk, 13.Woman-Mix 1, 14.Dream Lover / Stay-Unreleased, 15.My Little Flower Princess (Forgive Me)-Early take, 16.Nobody Told Me-Early take, 17.I Don't Wanna Face it-Rock mix,18.Borrowed TimeRough mix04:06, 19. Woman-Mix 2, 20. I'm Stepping Out-take 2 CD 2 - Home Demos 1979/1980 1. The Great Wok, 2. Watching The Wheels-Piano version, 3. Watching The Wheels-Blues version,4.Corinna, Corinna-Blues version, 5.Watching The Wheels-Folk version, 6.I Don't Wanna Face It-Early demo, 7.Welcome To The BermudasSpoken, 8.I Don't Wanna Face It-Bermuda demo, 9.Woman-Bermuda demo, 10.I'm Stepping Out-Bermuda demo, 11.Everybody's Talkin'-Version of "Nobody Told Me", 12.Nobody Told Me-Bermuda demo 13.Beautiful Boy-Bermuda demo, 14.Borrowed Time-Bermuda Demo, 15.Dear Yoko-Bermuda demo, 16.Too Much Monkey Business/Subterranean Homesick Blues-Short versions 1:17, 17.Clean-up Time-Piano demo 18.Stranger's Room-Early version of "I'm Losing You", 19.I'm Losing You-Piano demo, 20. I'm Losing You-Acoustic version,, 21Howling At The Moon-Unreleased demo, 22.I`m A Man-Blues parody Tracks 23-27 - The Making of Starting Over (Just Like) 23I Watch Your Face, 24My Life-Acoustic demo Take 3, 25Don't Be Crazy, 26The Worst Is Over, 27Starting Over (Just Like)-The finished song, 28 The Best Things In Life Are Free-Dylan parody, followed by a couple of minutes of John and Sean playing.
John Lennon 'A Heart Play' is an unofficial recording released in 1998 featuring 48 tracks of studio sessions and home demos from 1979-80 recorded for the albums 'Double Fantasy' & 'Milk and Honey'.
A substantial amount of the material is sourced from the amazing 'Lost Lennon Tapes' collection although that doesn't detract from the enjoyment of this release.
CD1 - The Studio Sessions contains different mixes of all the songs on 'Double Fantasy' & 'Milk and Honey' 'Grow Old with Me' excepted, each song featuring a different vocal to that officially released.
The CD begins with Take 1 of 'Stepping Out' and ends with Take 2 of the same song but in between the compilers of 'Heart Play' are a bit vague with track information using terms such as early mix, dry mix and rock mix to describe songs although John can be quite clearly heard exchanging studio banter with fellow musicians in the studio.
The highlights of CD1 are 'Beatle' John talking about 'Woman', an early mix of 'Watching the Wheels', the Rock mix of 'I Don't Wanna Face It' and an early take of '(Forgive Me) My Little Flower Princess', it's also wonderful hearing John so relaxed in the studio.
The sound quality is excellent only faltering on the alternate take of 'I'm Losing You' with Cheap Trick and John's cover versions of 'Dream Lover/Stay' although John's lead vocals can be clearly heard on both tracks.
CD2 features home demos from 1979-80 including eight songs from the infamous 'Bermuda Tapes' plus assorted home demos, the evolution of 'Starting Over', Dylan parodies and a new song 'Howling at the Moon' I've heard a few of these tracks on the 'Dr Winston O'Boogie' release and various volumes of the 'Lost Lennon Tapes' but never in this quality.
'A Heart Play' is a nice collection of home demos, studio-outtakes and rough mixes for 'Double Fantasy' & 'Milk and Honey'and this collection deserves a place in your collection.
John Lennon EMI Records 1971 LP
1. Imagine 2. Crippled Inside 3. Jealous Guy 4. It's So Hard 5. I Don't Want To Be a Soldier 6. Gimme Some Truth 7. Oh My Love 8. How Do You Sleep 9. How? 10. Oh Yoko!
John Lennon's 'Imagine' is one of my all time favourite solo albums.
Quite rightly it's rated as an all time classic and arguably John's best ever effort, despite 'John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band' being his most innovative and influential work.
What can be said about the title track 'Imagine'? Joe Public has rated it as the best song in the World, ever! An extravagant claim, perhaps, but who can deny the simple , touching beauty of this song and it's sentiment. It argues the case for universal peace, harmony and 'heaven on earth' and it does so within the context of a beautifully crafted lyric. The spartan simplicity of the song, and the fact that we all hear it so often , on the radio and in the lift shafts, can almost make you forget that 'Imagine' is the genuine thing, a timeless, universal masterpiece which will be relevant for as long as the World turns.
But what of the rest of the album? Well it contains at least one other standard, 'Jealous Guy'. Another Lennon song which is never off the radio, and rightly so. Yoko inspired it, the lyrics are disarmingly sincere, the whistle is a brilliant touch, and even Bryan Ferry's pointless cover can't tarnish it's memory.
I have mixed feelings about 'How Do You Sleep'. Yes, it is a fine song, but there's something rather cheap about its lyrical attack on McCartney. Airing his dirty washing in public, and making such a vindictive song of it, should have been beneath Lennon.. This song provides final proof that the dream was well and truly over. On the plus side, John sings it from the spleen, and with such vitriol, that it becomes a remarkable vocal performance. Did Paul deserve it? Well, he did punch Ringo!
'I Don't Wanna Be A Soldier', is certainly the least successful song on the album. The anti-war sentiment of its lyrics are adequate if somewhat simplistic, but where is the tune? The song makes a raucous, unpleasant din and is ugly to listen to, particularly when surrounded by such melodic beauty in the other tracks. This one, for me, has not stood the test of time, although as a Vietnam protest in the early 70's , I suppose it had more impact back then.
The rest of the album is class and perfection. It starts with the best in the World, ever, and ends with a joyous slice of perfect, uptempo pop! 'Oh Yoko'.
In between, it provides love, harmony, anger, jealously, politics, protest and peace. John covers a wide range of musical styles, using lyrics which are perhaps his personal best, and in a voice which still sends shivers down the spine.
What with Phil Spector there to add his sublime production techniques, how could the album fail?
Of course, it couldn't... and the rest is pop history!