John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band Box Set 2021. What’s new?
Once again, Mike Carrera has been combing through a DeLuxe edition to give us an overview of what’s new, what’s partially new, what’s improved and what isn’t quite as good as before. We proudly present:
JOHN LENNON PLASTIC ONO BAND Box Set 2021.WHAT’S NEW?
-AN INSIDE LOOK AT THE RECORDING SESSIONS
by Mike Carrera
We focus on reviewing the alternate material included here, comparing it against everything in circulation: previous official releases and underground discs (we do not encourage their sale or promote any title in this review). We added a narrative of the recording sessions, with details never before available. Many known facts and information regarding these sessions will have to be rewritten as this new collection has come to contribute with new things.
This is an honest fan review made with love for John.
The contents of the Super Deluxe box (the most complete format to have all the material) are as follows:
CD 1: ULTIMATE MIX (The new mix of the full album and the singles)
CD 2: THE OUT-TAKES (Features a selection of alternate takes from the full album and the singles)
CD 3: THE ELEMENTS MIXES (presents the final masters using the multi-track tapes, showcasing hidden elements or highlighting others, this is not part of our analysis)
CD 4: THE RAW STUDIO (includes all the takes that were selected to make the final masters but in their original form, unedited, without overdubs; and as a bonus, more alternate takes were included)
CD 5: THE EVOLUTION DOCUMENTARY (They let you hear the entire transformation of each song, from the demo to the final version, throughout many alternate takes not included in the other discs. It is also not part of our analysis since they are only fragments linked one after the other)
CD 6: THE JAMS & DEMOS (It features small improvisations during the various sessions, in addition to the home or studio demos)
BLU RAY AUDIO DISCS X 2: (They include all the above content, with exclusive tracks that are not part of the CDs)
The tracks have been arranged chronologically and it is indicated on which disc they are located and if they are NEW.
Jams and Improvisations are included at the bottom of this review.
-MOTHER- HOME DEMO (CD 6 JAMS & DEMOS) 5:00 PARTIALLY NEW
-MOTHER -TAKE 61 (CD 2 OUT-TAKES) 4:18 PARTIALLY NEW
-MOTHER- TAKE 91 (CD 4 RAW STUDIO) 4:00
-MOTHER -TAKE 64/93 (CD 4 RAW STUDIO) 5:12 NEW
The electro-acoustic guitar demo is 12 seconds longer in the intro here than the available version on Lost Lennon Tapes (later on Bootlegs), it also includes the correct speed and better EQ, however the version on Bootlegs is four seconds longer towards the end and John can be heard saying “Etcetera“, this was faded out in this new release.
Contrary to what many people thought, John did not start the session on his electric guitar; the first 68 takes (recorded between September 26 and October 15, 1970) were made with him on piano, Ringo on drums and Klaus on bass, and very few ended up complete; Tapes E99366-8T (1-8), E99367-8T (9-18 that were wiped out and Takes 41-51 were recorded instead), E99368-8T (19-31), E99695-8T (32-40), E99696-8T (52-60), E99697-8T (Take 61), E99698-8T (62-64) and E099828-8T (65-68, the last one being labeled as “last take with piano”).
Takes 69 to 90 (Tapes E099828-8T (69-74) and E099829-8T (75-90)), were recorded on October 15, only five were complete. John was experimenting with acoustic and slide guitar as we can hear on the Evolution Mix CD.
Take 61 is also available among collectors but incomplete; here we have 50 additional seconds and at the right speed.
Take 91 was an experimental remake recorded also on October 15th, 1970 with John on electric guitar, Ringo on drums and Klaus on bass (only two were made like this: Takes 91 and 92,E099905-8T), which was not used in the final version. This same Take 91 in a different mix is included in the official ‘John Lennon Anthology’ (it was believed to be Take 90) with 12 seconds longer both at the beginning (a short warm-up input) and at the end (additional bass riffs); an edited version of the same take was included to close the film ‘Nowhere Boy’. John’s voice is much clearer in this new mix however it is not as complete.
In the end it was decided to work on a previous take: 64 that was used to create Take 93. In this collection we actually have Take 93 on the Raw Studio disk: with elements recorded on September 26 (according to the original tape box or 27 according to the recording sheet) (Take 64 edited), October 15, 17 and October 24, 1970 (last vocal overdub since the third scream “Mamma don’t go” and until the end); complete, at its original speed, with no fading and no echo effect in John’s voice. Contradictorily, to have the original vocal track before the last overdub you have to resort to Take 94 in the bonus CD of the ‘Signature Box’ collection: “Singles & Home Tapes”.
The process of how Take 64 ended up being Takes 93 & 94 and which one was actually used for the final master had been in doubt for fans:
Take 64 (E99698-8T) chosen as the best, received a few more overdubs before it was transferred to a new tape (E99911-8T) to be able to edit it on October 17, 1970 and it became Take 93.
Take 93 was transferred the same day again to have free channels resulting in Take 94, to which an electric guitar was added by John on Track 6, as confirmed by the tape box E99912-8T. At that stage Take 94 was considered the best. Recording engineer John Leckie made a small notation on October 17 in red ink on the tape box E99911-8T: “BEST: 8T-8T ON E99912-8T TAKE 94”.
This Take 94 is partially available (4:24) in the official ‘Signature Box’ and includes in addition to the electric guitar on the left channel, a more prominent double-tracked vocal overdub and the last section is completely different from the third scream “Mamma don’t go” and until the end. A rough mix of this Take 94 (with the same alternate vocal in the last part of the song) is available in full (5:04) taken from an acetate that John himself prepared, it differs slightly with the version from ‘Signature Box’ by not including the first guitar chord at the beginning, and the compressed mix of the vocals was closer to the official version.
To make the situation more complicated, Take 94 (E99912-8T) was discarded in a new session on October 24 with engineers Phil McDonald and Andy Stephens; and the one that would be used for the final overdub of John’s vocal was again tape E99911-8T that contained Take 93. It can be confirmed with the annotations made on the tape boxes by the second engineer Andy Stephens in blue ink (distinguishable against the red ink ones made by John Leckie) and are as follows:
On E99911-8T (containing Take 93) a second recording date was added as well as the initials of the engineers in charge: “PMc- AS. 24-10-70″; on Track 6 John’s new vocal insert was written on, that would replace the entire final part (from the third scream “Mamma don’t go“) described as “VOCAL BEST FROM REPEAT FADE” and most importantly, Leckie’s entry on October 17 in red ink“ BEST: 8T-8T ON E99912-8T TAKE 94 ”was crossed out with Stephens blue ink and he made a new entry in the remarks section: “FINAL BEST”, referring to Take 93.
On E99912-8T (containing Take 94) he crossed out the word “BEST” that Leckie wrote on October 17 between the length and final cut of the song: (5:18 –BEST- 5:00) and also wrote “TAKE 93 FINAL BEST” to avoid confusion with the tapes. But he forgot to cross out the other word “BEST” in the spine of the tape box.
In 2020 on the official book ‘John & Yoko Plastic Ono Band’, a photograph is shown illustrating the spines of the tapes containing the master takes of ten songs. “Mother” is present first with tape E(0)99912-8T (Take 94) and Leckie’s red ink of October 17 denoting “Best” is visible, implying that this was the tape used; however, tape E99911-8T (with Take 93) is the one that includes the final corrections and on which the last vocal overdub session that ended up in the final version was made; also visible in the official documentary released on DVD ‘Classic Albums: Plastic Ono Band’, where the box with the final master that the engineer John Leckie himself has in his hands is E99911-8T, and everything related to Take 94 is crossed out. In 2021 it is confirmed that Take 93 (Take 64 edited) was used for the final master (tape E99911-8T, contradicting the photo showing the spines of the tapes together), not 94 as it was believed.
-HOLD ON- TAKE 2 (CD 2 OUT-TAKES) 2:11
-HOLD ON -STUDIO DEMO (CD 6 JAMS & DEMOS) 2:18 ACTUALLY THIS IS TAKE 7
-HOLD ON -TAKE 18 + JAM (RAW STUDIO BLU RAY EXCLUSIVE) 2:07
-HOLD ON- JAM 1 (CD 6 JAMS & DEMOS) 2:22
-HOLD ON- JAM 2 (CD 6 JAMS & DEMOS) 1.37
-HOLD ON- TAKE 32 (CD 4 RAW STUDIO) 1:52
The entire session recorded on September 30, 1970 is available but had a numbering criterion without much control: some false starts or incomplete versions were counted in with a take number but others were totally ignored by engineer John Leckie; warm-ups or in between-takes rehearsals were not registered, the announcement of each take was lost at some point (between 7 and 22, and resumed until 23; 24 is announced twice, etc). It can be seen in the notes of the tape box that several take numbers were crossed out, so in the end there were more than the 32 takes officially registered, plus 3 improvisations (Jams) and a couple of rehearsals: “Look at Me” (CD 5 THE EVOLUTION DOCUMENTARY) and “Glad All Over” (CD 6 THE JAMS AND DEMOS).
Take 2 runs a couple of seconds longer on Bootlegs towards the end, and it’s 40 seconds longer at the beginning with a talk between John and Ringo about the speed Lennon wanted on the drums in the first takes.
What is called “Studio Demo” in this new collection is actually Take 7 and circulates complete on Bootlegs. The rhythm of the drums has changed compared to Take 2 (or Take 1 and the warm-up rehearsal) which was faster towards the middle; here it sounds like the arrangement of the final version that started from Take 4. There is no known actual demo of this song in circulation.
No difference in Take 18 (it appeared on a Bootleg released in 2018 but incorrectly naming it “Take 19”), at the end they start a brief Jam which they would then resume.
Jam # 1 (Registered as “JAM 2” in the eight-track tape box) is available more complete (3:20 length) and was an improvisation between Takes 18 and 19 (Bootlegs have incorrect numbering). In this collection it has been drastically edited to 2:20 by removing a section from the middle, and previously only 44 seconds were officially available on ‘John Lennon Anthology’.
Jam # 2 (Registered as “JAM 3” in the eight-track tape box) comes after Take 20 (Bootlegs have incorrect numbering), although only 1:37 were included here; It runs for almost three minutes.
Take 32 was officially released with vocal overdub, here we have it in its original form, however it was already in circulation on Bootlegs (some mistakenly name it “Take 33”). In the official version we can easily distinguish the original vocal track in the right channel (John pronounces the word “Cookie”), and in the left channel the second vocal (and again the word “Cookie” in a different tone that is better appreciated in the 2021 mix).
I FOUND OUT
-I FOUND OUT- HOME DEMO (CD 6 JAMS & DEMOS) 4:09
-I FOUND OUT – TAKE 1 (CD 2 OUT-TAKES) 3:46 NEW
-I FOUND OUT – TAKE 3 (CD 4 RAW STUDIO) 5:34 PARTIALLY NEW
-I FOUND OUT – TAKE 7 (CD 4 RAW STUDIO) 7:51 NEW
The electro-acoustic guitar demo runs slightly more complete in Bootlegs towards the end when John stops the tape. An edited version of it was released on ‘John Lennon Anthology’.
Take 1 circulates for the first time, towards the end John sings the name “Yoko” repeatedly, registered as “Yoko Samba” on the tape box E99698-8T.
Take 3 was used for the overdubs and final mixing, it was thought that it circulated almost entirely on Bootlegs where it was possible to hear John sing some phrases of “Gone, Gone, Gone” (that’s where the official version fades) by Carl Perkins, but now we really have it in full and towards the end John also sings a bit of Arthur Crudup’s “My Baby Left Me”.
Another variant of Take 3 is officially located in the ‘Signature Box’, with the vocal and conga overdub session. The original session was done on September 27, 1970 and the overdubs on October 7.
Although Take 7 was not selected as the best, it has been included as a bonus in this new collection and appears for the first time running for almost eight minutes.
WORKING CLASS HERO
-WORKING CLASS HERO- TAKE 1 (CD 2 OUT-TAKES) 3:50
-WORKING CLASS HERO- TAKE 10 (RAW STUDIO BLU RAY EXCLUSIVE) 3:44 NEW
-WORKING CLASS HERO- STUDIO DEMO (CD 6 JAMS & DEMOS) 3:48 NEW IT IS ACTUALLY TAKE 11
-WORKING CLASS HERO- TAKE 9 (+INSERT) (CD 4 RAW STUDIO) 4:08 NEW
“Working Class Hero” was recorded on September 26, 1970 (according to the original tape boxes or 27 according to the recording sheet): tapes E99697-8T (Takes 1-9) and E99698-8T (Takes 10-12); unused remake session on October 15 (E099906-8T, new Takes 10-12) and 3 new inserts on October 25.
Take 1 had already circulated more complete on ‘John Lennon Anthology (it was believed to be Take 4), here they’ve cut the dialogue at the beginning and the coda of “Well, Well, Well” that John improvises at the end (in the same way they did it on the album ‘Acoustic‘).
Take 10 was a re-make including the verse that John forgot in Take 9 but was discarded; it has been included as a bonus and appears for the first time.
What is called “Studio Demo” here is actually Take 11. It appears for the first time. As with “Hold On”, there is no known actual demo in circulation.
In the end, John decided to use Take 9 from the original session, considered the best, and recorded an insert on October 15 of a verse he forgot in that take:
“When they’ve tortured and scared you for 20 odd years
Then they expect you to pick a career
When you can’t really function, you’re so full of fear”
It is possible to listen for 20 seconds in the official version the difference of the sound, voice and guitar from that insert between minutes 1:23 and 1:43 (Ultimate Mix 2020). In this new collection, Take 9 appears with a brief warm-up intro and at the original slightly slower speed; and the same insert as in the final version is present, however with an additional 3 seconds of guitar chords before returning to the phrase “A working class hero is something to be” from the original take. Take 9 without the insert appears on the Elements Mixes CD.
-ISOLATION -TAKE 1 (RAW STUDIO BLU RAY EXCLUSIVE) 00:35 NEW
-ISOLATION- STUDIO DEMO (CD 6 JAMS & DEMOS)2:55
-ISOLATION- TAKE 23 (CD 2 OUT-TAKES) 2:51 NEW
-ISOLATION- TAKE 29 (CD 4 RAW STUDIO) 2:52 NEW
“Isolation” had a first informal session on September 26, 1970. Take 1 is just a half-minute snippet, recorded along with a second take between Takes 3 and 4 of “Mother” (Tape E99366-8T). A different excerpt from this unused session with Klaus and Ringo can be heard briefly within the official DVD documentary ‘Classic Albums: Plastic Ono Band’.
The piano demo recorded on October 6, 1970 is available in the ‘Signature Box’ collection ten seconds longer than here, both at the beginning and at the end.
A new session was held also on October 6th: Tapes E099493-8T (New Takes 1-2, plus 3-12), E099492-8T (13-23) and E099491-8T (24-29). In ‘John Lennon Anthology’ we can hear Takes 21 (breakdown take) and 22.
Take 23 was temporarily considered the best and on which John recorded a second experimental vocal throughout the track, and that is the version included here.
Not satisfied, additional takes were recorded, Take 29 being the one selected for the master and final overdubs; here we can hear it as recorded with only one vocal track. On the DVD ‘Classic Albums: Plastic Ono Band’ we can hear a fragment of John’s two vocal tracks isolated.
-REMEMBER -STUDIO DEMO (CD 6 JAMS & DEMOS) 5:24
-REMEMBER -REHEARSAL 1 (CD 2 OUT-TAKES)3:11
-REMEMBER -TAKE 1 (RAW STUDIO BLU RAY EXCLUSIVE) 2:53
-REMEMBER -TAKE 13 (VOCAL OVERDUB) (CD 4 RAW STUDIO) 4:59 NEW
The Studio demo is only John at the piano; it was already available in the official ‘Signature Box’ with five seconds longer at the end. It was recorded on October 6, 1970 along with the demo for “Isolation” and one of “God”.
“Rehearsal 1” was recorded on October 7, 1970 (Tape E099488-8T registered as “Take 1”) between Takes 16 and 17 of “God” piano session # 1. It circulates complete on Bootlegs (mistakenly listed as the “Take 1” from the session of October 9, 1970); it also presents John’s original voice, without the reverb echo that has now been added to it. “Rehearsal 2” (not included in this new official collection) is in circulation erroneously listed as “Take 2”, has a duration of 50 seconds and was not documented in the tape box E99485-8T of October 9, to where Takes 1-4 were recorded (“Rehearsal 2” should actually have been the new “Take 1”); this tape ends when George Harrison arrives at the studio to wish John a happy birthday. A new tape (E99486-8T) was used for Takes 5 to 12 and E099928-8T for Take 13; although as in the “Hold On” session, the numberings were not very important, many incomplete takes were not registered on the list.
“Take 1” as they give it to us in this new collection is known in the underground world as “Take 3” or “Take 12”. The mix is much better now and Klaus Voormann’s voice is clearly saying “Rock Island Line” when John says “This is the story about…”. Ten Seconds of “Rehearsal 2” along with the entire Take 1 were included on ‘John Lennon Anthology’.
Take 13 (erroneously in circulation as “Take 15” or “Take 5”) which had a duration of 8:46, was later used for the vocal overdub, editing and final mix with a new duration of 4:29; It circulates complete with the original guide vocal and a distinctive sound of a “Jaw Harp” (AKA Jew’s Harp) that was not used in the final master. Here’s Take 13 with the overdub that replaced the original vocal guide (and without the sound of the harp); no tape echo effect in John’s voice throughout the track and towards the end the phrase“Remember .. the Fifth .. of November” (that’s how the final version ends, but here it is possible to hear John continue with: “Ok Stop .. OK“; a few seconds of this same overdub can be heard in the bonus of the documentary DVD ‘Classic Albums: Plastic Ono Band’).
In the book that accompanies the box it says by mistake that the Master Take was number 3.
-LOVE- HOME DEMO (CD 6 JAMS & DEMOS) 2:39 PARTIALLY NEW
-LOVE –TAKE 6 (CD 2 OUT-TAKES)2.36
-LOVE –TAKE 9 (RAW STUDIO BLU RAY EXCLUSIVE) 2:34
-LOVE –TAKE 37 (+38) (CD 4 RAW STUDIO) 4:27 PARTIALLY NEW
The electro-acoustic guitar demo is five seconds more complete at startup in this new collection and at the correct speed.
Take 6 on acoustic guitar is known on Bootlegs as “Take 5” and it is a little longer at the end than here. Officially it was already available within the bonus disc in the ‘Signature Box’ with the same duration.
Take 9 on acoustic guitar was previously officially released on ‘John Lennon Anthology’ and is preceded there by the end of Take 8. Both are complete among collectors although they are erroneously named “Take 7” and “Take 8”. It is also available on the album ‘Acoustic’ with no difference in timing and with very heavy noise reduction applied to it.
Take 37 and the intro of Take 38 with Phil Spector on the piano were selected for the final version. Both are in circulation without any cuts; here they appear in their editing and mixing stage: John’s instructions to Phil at the beginning of the track are not interrupted by the announcement “Take 37”, however some talk from Yoko and giggles from John during the first notes of the piano have been eliminated; likewise, John’s voice and acoustic guitar at the beginning of Take 38 were completely removed (it is possible to hear the guitar far in the background if headphones are used) to leave only the piano intro that appears to be the end of Take 37 in an extended form, however it is actually Take 38 which in the original session started immediately and has been given a 5 second gap here. Those piano notes from Take 38 were meticulously edited to eliminate Phil Spector’s mistakes that can be heard on the raw tape on Bootlegs. Take 38 was incomplete and Lennon stopped it by saying to Phil: “Oh no..We went off there“, that dialogue was also eliminated here and they only left “the last one was very good” (referring to Take 37).
The solo acoustic session was recorded on October 15th 1970, tapes E099853-8T (Takes 1 to 7), E099906-8T (Takes 8 to 13); and the session with Phil Spector at the piano on October 19th: tapes E99854-8T (new Takes 12 and 13, and 14 to 21), E99855-8T (Takes 24 to 35) and E99856-8T (Takes 36 to 38).
A tentative rehearsal for this song has been included on CD 5 EVOLUTION MIX, with Billy Preston and John on pianos, Ringo on drums and Klaus on bass, and was recorded during the “God” session on October 9th. It also circulates on Bootlegs but they mistakenly include it as part of the “Love” session instead of “God”.
WELL WELL WELL
-WELL WELL WELL- HOME DEMO (CD 6 JAMS & DEMOS) 1:16
-WELL WELL WELL- TAKE 2 (CD 2 OUT-TAKES) 3:35 NEW
-WELL WELL WELL- TAKE 4 (CD 4 RAW STUDIO) 6:47 NEW
-WELL WELL WELL -TAKE 5 (RAW STUDIO BLU RAY EXCLUSIVE) 5:06 NEW
The acoustic demo is available in much better quality and two seconds longer on Bootlegs records than on this new collection or the album ‘Acoustic‘.
Take 2 appears for the first time.
Take 4 was the basis for making the final master after many mixes, edits and overdubs; here it appears for the first time as it was recorded.
Take 5 was a re-make registered as “2nd Version” on tape box E099491-8T (Takes 5-6) recorded on October 6, 1970, it was never used and is included here as a bonus. Takes 1-4 were recorded on September 27 (E99699-8T and E99700-8T). A third session with a single take (also named Take 5, E09905-8T) was recorded on October 15 but was never used.
LOOK AT ME
-LOOK AT ME- HOME DEMO (CD 6 JAMS & DEMOS)2:49
-LOOK AT ME -TAKE 2 (CD 2 OUT-TAKES) 2:50
-LOOK AT ME- TAKE 3 (RAW STUDIO BLU RAY EXCLUSIVE) 3:12 NEW
-LOOK AT ME -TAKE 9 (CD 4 RAW STUDIO) 3:08 NEW
The acoustic demo appears in better quality; however the Bootleg tape has a false start excluded in here.
Take 2 was released on ‘John Lennon Anthology’ and ‘Acoustic’ in a different mix but there is no difference in timing.
Take 3 appears for the first time and includes a brief reprise towards the end.
Take 9 was selected for the final master and vocal overdub but here appears as recorded on October 15, 1970, along with the previous takes.
A primitive version recorded days before with John on electric guitar, Ringo on drums and Klaus on bass is included on CD 5 as part of the Evolution Mix.
-GOD- HOME DEMO (CD 6 JAMS & DEMOS) 3:52
-GOD- TAKE 1 (CD 4 RAW STUDIO) 2:28
-GOD- TAKE 27 (CD 2 OUT-TAKES) 4:06 NEW
-GOD- TAKE 42 (CD 4 RAW STUDIO) 4:27 NEW
The demo (there are four different ones) included here is known as “Amplified Acoustic Guitar Demo 1” or “Demo 3”; it is five seconds longer on Bootlegs discs with better audio quality. A different demo (“Amplified Acoustic Guitar Demo 2” or “Demo 4”) was included on ‘Acoustic‘.
The transformation and recording of the song “God” occurred as follows:
Sept 27, 1970: John on electric guitar, Ringo on drums and Klaus on bass: Takes 1 and 2; tape E99700-8T.
October 7, 1970: John on acoustic guitar, Ringo on drums and Klaus on bass: Re-Make; tapes E099490-8T (Takes 1-8) and E099489-8T (Takes 9-10) (in that order) (There was an unnumbered “Take 11” by mistake)
October 7, 1970: John on piano, Ringo on drums and Klaus on bass: tapes E099489-8T (Takes 11-15) and E099488-8T (Takes 16-20) (in that order) (There were two “Take 10” by mistake).
October 9, 1970: John on acoustic guitar, Ringo on drums and Klaus on piano: Takes 21-23; tape E099786-8T (incorrectly shows “Track 2: Bass” instead of guitar, there is no bass in this session).
October 9, 1970: John on piano, Billy Preston second piano, Ringo on drums and Klaus on bass: tapes E099927-8T (Takes 24-33), E099926-8T (Takes 34-41) and E099925-8T (Take 42) (in that order).
The new “Take 1” from October 7 shows a faster arrangement with acoustic guitar. Already circulates in the bonus of the official documentary DVD ‘Classic Albums: Plastic Ono Band’ (only the audio is heard while other images are shown) which also includes an additional 8 seconds at the beginning where John introduce the song as “God is alive and living in the Eiffel Tower“, the rest of the warm-up chords are obscured in the documentary while the engineer Richard Lush speaks. In this new collection John’s words “C (chord) this time” were inexplicably silenced at the beginning of the take after the first phrase: “God is a concept”, which would make it look like a different take, however the two are exactly the same.
A second Take 10 (or “Take 11” as it really should be; also featuring acoustic guitar in a slower but increasingly similar arrangement of the final version) appears on ‘John Lennon Anthology’ (it was believed to be Take 4) and was preceded by the impro of “Goodnight Irene” (CD 6 JAMS & DEMOS) that ends at the same spot where “God” from ‘Anthology‘ begins. Due to a small mistake of the second recording engineer, this Take that should have been number 11 was not written on the tape box, so we have an unnumbered one. For Take 11, John has switched to piano and ten takes were done, none of which were to his liking. They would be forgotten and a new session would be held two days later, on John’s 30th birthday.
The first October 9th session of “God” consisted of three experimental takes with Klaus on piano, John again on acoustic guitar, and Ringo on drums; with this line-up we have the jam of “I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier Mama” that was made at the start of the session (CD 6 JAMS & DEMOS of this collection and the ‘Signature Box’); and Take 23 available in the ‘Signature Box ‘(it was believed to be Take 22). And for the second session, the last takes returned to the arrangement with John on piano, accompanied by Billy Preston on second piano, Klaus on bass and Ringo on drums.
“I Don’t Believe in Presley” sings John with Billy Preston already in the session on Take 27, never before circulated.
Take 42 was selected for the final mix after some overdubs; here it is at slightly slower original speed and with the new vocal overdubs by John, the same ones that appear in the final version but without the tape echo effect on his voice. If headphones are used in this raw mix it is possible to identify the different vocal inserts with the noise (hiss) on the tape. The phrase “And that’s reality” comes from a different session. This same take but with the original guide vocal is on CD 3 ELEMENTS MIXES of this collection.
During this session with Billy Preston, the improvisation of “It’ll Be Me” included on CD 6 Jams & Demos was recorded and a first rehearsal of “Love” on CD 5 Evolution Mixes.
MY MUMMY’S DEAD
-MY MUMMY’S DEAD- HOME DEMO (CD 6 JAMS & DEMOS) 1:18
-MY MUMMY’S DEAD – TAKE 1 (CD 4 RAW STUDIO) 00:53 PARTIALLY NEW
-MY MUMMY’S DEAD – TAKE 2 (CD 2 OUT-TAKES) 1:15 PARTIALLY NEW
-MY MUMMY’S DEAD – TAKE 2 (RAW STUDIO BLU RAY EXCLUSIVE) 1:19 PARTIALLY NEW
John recorded two electro-acoustic guitar demos that later became “Take 1” and “Take 2” when they were transferred to the 8-track tape during the POB sessions to be mixed, however they remain the same two demos that circulate on Bootlegs or official albums; no formal takes of this song were ever made in the studio.
The demo included here (CD 6 Jams & Demos) is # 2 which also came out in very poor quality with noise reduction (hiss) on the official ‘Acoustic’ CD. There is no noise reduction here and it is at the correct speed but it has fading and John is not heard stopping the tape compared to the Bootlegs which also has better quality; however, this same track also appears as an exclusive on the Blu Ray Audio listed as “Raw Studio Mix Take 2” although it is still the same Demo 2 in a different mix-in-progress and is two seconds more complete than on Bootlegs (when John turns off the tape recorder).
Takes 1 and 2 (Demos 1 and 2) are also present here as they were mixed during the sessions, and differ mainly in sound compression compared to the demos. Take 1 (used on the official album) on CD 4 of this new collection is only one second longer than the commercial version; and the compressed mix of Take 2 (CD 2 Out-takes) was slightly speed up for two seconds, being the only differences.
GIVE PEACE A CHANCE
-GIVE PEACE A CHANCE- HOME DEMO (THE DEMOS BLU RAY EXCLUSIVE) 2:40 NEW
-GIVE PEACE A CHANCE- TAKE 2 (CD 2 OUT-TAKES) 6:01 NEW
-GIVE PEACE A CHANCE- TAKE 4 STRIPPED DOWN- EXTENDED (RAW STUDIO BLU RAY EXCLUSIVE) 6:33 NEW
-GIVE PEACE A CHANCE- TAKE 4 (W/RADHA KRISHNA OVERDUBS) (CD 4 RAW STUDIO) 6:35 NEW
The acoustic demo circulates for the first time. It includes different lyrics compared to the final version. It was recorded in the Bahamas 1969 along with that of “Oh Yoko!”.
Take 2 as recorded in June 1969 at the Montreal Bed-In is circulating for the first time and disproves the belief that it was only done in a single take, it actually required four (and several prior rehearsals, ‘John Lennon Anthology’ includes a sequence of two of them).
Take 4 was used by John to do a couple of additional vocal overdubs (in any of the official videos in circulation it is possible to hear phrases he pronounces without being seen to move his mouth at that moment like “You’ve got it” or “Come on!”, among many more), and this is how we have it now as an exclusive Blu Ray Audio track on in its “stripped down” version; it still lacks the reverb in the vocals and the iconic mix of choirs and additional percussions (drum and finger cymbals) added later by The Radha Krishna Temple. It lasts almost two minutes longer than the official version, so it includes many passages in the choruses never heard before.
Take 4 is included for the second time in this collection on CD 4 RAW STUDIO, and here we can already hear the overdubs made by The Radha Krishna Temple and the effect on John’s voice; it is again the same unedited take in a rough mix. A video of more than six minutes in length circulates with what was believed to be the complete interpretation in its final mix, however now we realize that it was also edited, although the previous and subsequent dialogues on that video are longer to what we currently have officially.
-COLD TURKEY- HOME DEMO (THE DEMOS BLU RAY EXCLUSIVE) 3:34 PARTIALLY NEW
-COLD TURKEY -TAKE 1 (CD 2 OUT-TAKES) 5:24 NEW
-COLD TURKEY -TAKE 2 -STRIPPED DOWN (RAW STUDIO BLU RAY EXCLUSIVE) 5:01 NEW
-COLD TURKEY -TAKE 2 (GUITAR OVERDUB) (CD 4 RAW STUDIO) 5:06 NEW
Of the three acoustic demos available on The Lost Lennon Tapes, two are variations with guitar and vocal overdubs done over the first. The second of them has been included here (the first one appears on the album ‘Acoustic‘). Only the first two seconds are new in this collection, however on the third second an additional guitar chord that is in the previously available tape was removed here. The quality is much better now and at the correct speed.
We have for the first time Take 1 as recorded by John, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and Klaus Voormann on September 28, 1969 (unedited, with very primitive guitar riffs and John’s live vocal track although a little bit hidden in this mix that deals with enhancing the instrumentation more than the vocal in certain points), however it was also the basis for the overdubs that made it Take 2 (the released take), so not everything is new.
Take 1 was transferred to a new tape and a cut of 20-second was made (shortly before Ringo’s little drum solo towards the middle); the prominent signature guitar riffs were then overdubbed throughout the track (the guitar tracks of the first take were not used) to now become Take 2. John’s vocal as recorded on Take 1 was preserved in its entirety and without any overdub (up to that moment).
Unfortunately, in this collection Take 2 is not present in its initial September version, which includes alternate guitar riffs during the middle and final part that were replaced in a later session along with the original vocal track; however, it has been available for many decades taken from an Acetate ‘Rough Mix’ of that Take 2 that John himself prepared on September 29, 1969. The Acetate shows John’s vocal much clearer than Take 1, but every phrase, scream, moan, are exactly the same in the same instant on both tracks.
In early October, 1969 John was not pleased with the mix done and some guitar sections were added (more noticeable before and during Ringo’s solo) and a new vocal track in the three verses was re-recorded to replace the original. Only the choruses “Cold Turkey has got me, on the run” kept the vocal of Take 1 to give the effect of “double-tracking”; from this session we now have Take 2 as an exclusive RAW STUDIO BLU RAY track in its “stripped down” version. However that live vocal during the first take towards the end with the screams and moans must have been so good that John decided to leave it intact. From minute 3 and 11 seconds to the end of the song, the voice heard in any version belongs to the original track recorded during Take 1.
For the second time we have Take 2 (CD 4 RAW STUDIO) but now with a new guitar overdub by John, which starts shortly before Ringo’s solo (in the final mix only some sections were used but here we can hear them all).
-INSTANT KARMA -STUDIO DEMO (THE DEMOS BLU RAY EXCLUSIVE) 3:33 NEW
-INSTANT KARMA -TAKE 1 (CD 2 OUT-TAKES) 2:53 NEW
-INSTANT KARMA- TAKES 4/ 5 (RAW STUDIO BLU RAY EXCLUSIVE) 3:11 NEW
-INSTANT KARMA -TAKE 10 (w/OVERDUBS) (CD 4 RAW STUDIO)3:38 NEW
The “studio demo” recorded on January 27, 1970 is actually a primitive Take 1 before the final session the same day and features John on electric piano, George Harrison on electric guitar, Klaus Voormann on bass and Alan White on drums. What makes it so different from the final version are George’s guitar embellishments throughout the track and a different piano used by John.
For the new Take 1 George has switched to acoustic guitar (his presence is practically not audible to most fans although in the ‘Ultimate Mix 2020’ it is easier to distinguish him in the left channel) and Mal Evans is integrated into the tambourine. John swaps some phrases in the demo, Take 1 and Take 5, compared to the final version.
Take 5 is actually preceded here by Take 4 (not listed) which is incomplete, Phil Spector can be heard stopping that take and announcing number five. Harrison’s acoustic guitar is more prominent in this take and belies what was previously believed: he was not in the session or only did a guitar overdub later. Here he can be heard talking to John several times during this session (especially on the EVOLUTION MIX, along with some incomplete takes).
Take 10 was selected as the best and is featured here with most of the additional overdubs: lead vocal; a piano played by Harrison, Alan and Klaus; handclaps and backing vocals by all participants plus Yoko Ono. It still lacks Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” mix and the echo in John’s voice. At the end John can be heard completely hoarse saying “just check and see if we got it”, coming from the original Take 10 long before these overdubs. Additional overdubs of piano and organ played by Billy Preston would complete the session (All elements are present on the EVOLUTION MIX from 6:35 to 8:41). All tracks appear for the first time.
CD 6: THE JAMS (They follow a chronological order by recording date)
-JOHNNY B GOODE –JAM 1:02 NEW
John improvises this Chuck Berry classic on electric guitar during the session on September 27th, 1970 (between I Found Out / Well Well Well), along with Ringo on drums and Klaus on bass; and also includes some lines from “Carol” by the same author.
-AIN’T THAT A SHAME – JAM 1:54 NEW
Improvisation on electric guitar during the same session as the previous track accompanied by Ringo and Klaus, to the Fats Domino’s song; towards the end John sings some lines from Little Richard’s “Miss Ann”, and the phrase that was going around his head during the sessions in reference to the Sesame Street program and the Cookie Monster was present again: “Cookie! ..” to close the track.
-GLAD ALL OVER –JAM 1:12
4 seconds shorter compared to the version on Bootlegs. Improvisation recorded during Takes 21 and 22 (Bootlegs have incorrect numbering) of the song “Hold On” on September 30th, 1970.
It is different from another improvisation recorded on October 10th, accompanied by “That’s Alright (Mama)”, which circulates on Bootlegs.
-BE FAITHFUL TO ME- JAM 00:44 NEW
A song registered as a John composition; however it is about two parodies that John made of Little Richard’s songs “Shake a Hand” and “Can’t Believe You Wanna Leave”; less than a minute of this piano track recorded between takes 12 and 13 of “Isolation” on October 6, 1970. It is possible to hear the announcement “Take 13” in the middle of the song.
-SEND ME SOME LOVIN’- JAM 1:06 NEW
Another rock and roll classic that was recorded in the same session as “Be Faithful to Me.” At the end John jokes: “Back to the Johnny Carson Show”.
-GET BACK – JAM 1:05 NEW
Little more than a minute of this instrumental jam with only a few slight chords that recall the tune of The Beatles. John on his electric guitar with Ringo on drums and Klaus on bass. Recorded during a later, unused session of “Well Well Well” on October 6th, 1970. Although the book points out that it was recorded on October 7th during the “acoustic” session of “God”.
-LOST JOHN- JAM 1 1:56
Already available on “John Lennon Anthology” in a more prominent mix, recorded during the initial acoustic session of “God” alongside Ringo and Klaus on October 7th, 1970, after Take 10.
-GOODNIGHT IRENE- JAM 1:51 NEW
Recorded during the same acoustic session of “God” after “Lost John”, registered only as “Jam” on the tape box. It ends at the same point where the other Take 10 (Take 11 actually) of “God” in “John Lennon Anthology” begins.
-YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE- JAM 1:44 NEW
Recorded during “God piano session # 1” (at this stage without Billy Preston), on October 7th, 1970. John can’t stand the laugh and stops the jam saying “I’m peeing myself“; they start another take of “God” but he again jokes improvising for the second time “You’ll Never Walk Alone” making everyone laugh out loud.
-I DON’T WANT TO BE A SOLDIER MAMA- JAM 1 3:30 PARTIALLY NEW
The first 29 seconds are completely new when John and Klaus exchange words regarding the sound of the piano played this time by Voormann in this rehearsal (recorded at the beginning of another experimental session of “God” on October 9), however the improvisation has been edited for 20 seconds before John starts singing compared to the version released in ‘Signature Box’, which is also 2 seconds longer towards the end. The mix in ‘Signature Box’ initially hides Klaus’s piano and gradually integrates it, contrary to the new 2021 mix that makes it stand out from the first moments. To have the full 3:51 minute version it will be necessary to link the two releases together. John is on acoustic guitar and Ringo is on drums. The tape box where this session was recorded, E099786-8T mistakenly shows a bass recorded on Track 2 instead of a guitar, there is no bass in this session (hours later Klaus would return to the bass and John to piano to begin a new session but this time alongside Billy Preston). This song would be recorded months later for the album ‘Imagine’.
-IT’LL BE ME – JAM 1:08
Recorded during “God piano session # 3” with Billy Preston and you can hear him play some chords here on the left channel (unlike “You’ll Never Walk Alone” which is solely a piano, John’s).
It circulates five seconds more complete on Bootlegs, in this new collection the chords of “God” towards the end have been eliminated. The song was composed by Jack H. Clement and recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis.
-HONEY DON’T – JAM 1:39
Previously available officially on ‘Signature Box’ with the same duration, now in much better quality. It is also found in Bootlegs within a supposed “rock and roll medley”. Recorded on October 10th before starting the ‘Yoko Ono / Plastic Ono Band’ session, John on electric guitar, Klaus on bass and Ringo on drums.
-ELVIS PARODY (DON’T BE CRUEL, HOUND DOG, WHEN I’M OVER YOU)- JAM 2:48
Already available within the “medley” of oldies circulating unedited in an obscure unofficial release, although the commonly circulated version is the edited one.
-MATCHBOX- JAM 1:57
It comes from the same warm-up session doing “oldies” circulating unedited in an obscure unofficial release. Ringo is heard giving instructions to Phil Spector and immediately the ‘Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band’ session begins with the jam/song “Why” (to have the whole session complete between “Matchbox ” and “Why” it is necessary to resort to the Blu Ray Audio).
-I’VE GOT A FEELING – JAM 00:20 NEW
A few seconds only, John alone on his acoustic guitar with some riffs reminiscent of The Beatles song. Recorded on October 15th as part of the “Look at Me” session.
-MYSTERY TRAIN- JAM 2:44 NEW
John on acoustic guitar, Ringo on drums and Klaus on bass in this song by Herman Parker, Jr. and Sam Phillips, recorded on October 15th between Takes 73 and 74 of “Mother” in an experimental session.
-YOU’RE SO SQUARE (BABY I DON’T CARE)- JAM 00:29
Recorded during the final session of “Love” (John on acoustic guitar and Phil Spector on piano, October 19th, 1970) before Take 24. Already available on Bootlegs with the same length.
-I DON’T WANNA BE A SOLDIER MAMA- JAM 2 1:46 NEW
Also recorded during the session of “Love” between Takes 33 and 34 and registered in the tape box as “I Don’t Wanna Jam”, never circulated before. John is on acoustic guitar and Phil on piano.
-LOST JOHN- JAM 2 00:48 NEW
Improvisation on acoustic guitar. At the end, John is heard saying “What should we do?”. It lasts less than a minute but was not in circulation.
The last Jam included (“Don’t Worry Kyoko”) corresponds to a recording with Yoko Ono; as well as the nearly two hours inside the Blu Ray Audio that present, among others, the un-edited sessions of October 10, 1970 with John on electric guitar, Ringo on drums and Klaus on bass; and that later some tracks would be selected and edited to turn them into the ‘Yoko Ono / Plastic Ono Band’ album. Also included here is the unedited version from early October 1969 of “Don’t Worry Kyoko” (B-side of the single “Cold Turkey”) with John and Eric Clapton on guitars, Ringo on drums and Klaus on bass.
You can check the comparison made with the ‘Imagine’ box set in 2018 here: http://webgrafikk.com/blog/john-lennon/imagine-so-whats-new/