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Albums Of The Week: John Lennon | Gimme Some Truth. The Ultimate Mixes

Celebrate the icon's 80th birthday with crisp, vibrant updates of his classics.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In everything he did, John Lennon spoke his truth and questioned the truth. An incomparable and uncompromising artist who strove for honesty and directness in his music, he laid bare his heart, mind and soul in his songs, seeing them as snapshots of his current emotions, thoughts and world view.

Believing the one quality demanded of himself as an artist was to be completely honest, he did not disguise what he had to say or conform his messages to be more in line with what he felt others thought they should be. Love, heartbreak, peace, politics, truth, lies, the media, racism, feminism, religion, mental well-being, marriage, fatherhood — he sang about it all, and one just needs to listen to the songs of John Lennon to know how he felt, what he cherished, what he believed in, and what he stood for.

On Oct. 9th, John Lennon’s 80th Birthday, in celebration of his remarkable life, a collection of some of the most vital and best loved songs from his solo career has been released as a suite of beautifully presented collections, titled Gimme Some Truth. The Ultimate Mixes. Executive Produced by Yoko Ono Lennon and produced by Sean Ono Lennon, these 36 songs, handpicked by Yoko and Sean, have all been completely remixed from scratch, radically upgrading their sonic quality and presenting them as a never-before-heard Ultimate Listening Experience.

Mixed and engineered by multi Grammy-winning engineer Paul Hicks, who also helmed the mixes for 2018’s universally acclaimed Imagine – The Ultimate Collection series, with assistance by engineer Sam Gannon, who also worked on that release, the songs were completely remixed from scratch, using brand new transfers of the original multi-tracks, cleaned up to the highest possible sonic quality. After weeks of painstaking preparation, the final mixes and effects were completed using only vintage analog equipment and effects at Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles (formerly A&M Studios, where John had recorded some of the Rock ’n’ Roll album), and then mastered in analog at Abbey Road Studios by Alex Wharton in order to ensure the most beautiful and authentic sound quality possible.

Gimme Some Truth. traces the arc of Lennon’s post-Beatles life and career, bringing together songs from all of his revered solo albums including John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970), Imagine (1971), Some Time In New York City (1972), Mind Games (1973), Walls and Bridges (1974), Rock ‘n’ Roll (1975), Double Fantasy (1980) and 1984’s posthumous Milk and Honey.

The collection is bookended with his early non-album singles, kicking off with the one-two punch of Instant Karma! (We All Shine On), Lennon’s exuberant exhortation about the karmic forces of action/reaction and equality (‘we all shine on like the moon and the stars and the sun’) and the electrifying addiction-themed Cold Turkey, culminating with the holiday classic Happy Xmas (War Is Over) and the anti-war protest anthem Give Peace A Chance, with its ubiquitous, titular call to action.

Sequenced in chronological order by album they were released on, songs on the 36-track version include all of Lennon’s biggest hits and showcase his thoughts, beliefs and convictions about everything from peace (Imagine, Give Peace A Chance, Happy Xmas (War Is Over)), religion (God), politics (Power To The People, Working Class Hero), lying politicians (Gimme Some Truth), racism (Angela), equality (Woman), love and marriage (Love, Oh Yoko!, Dear Yoko, Mind Games, Out The Blue, Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him, Grow Old With Me), fatherhood (Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)), loneliness (Isolation) and much more.

Some of the many other highlights include the sonically sumptuous Jealous Guy and #9 Dream, the acerbic How Do You Sleep?, the breezy, carefree Watching The Wheels, a rollicking live recording of Come Together that he had originally recorded with The Beatles, the rapturous Elton John collaboration Whatever Gets You Thru The Night, and the jubilant, bittersweet I’m Stepping Out.

Like all Lennon projects, intense thought and care went into the making of Gimme Some Truth. and the remixing of these treasured songs. As Paul Hicks details in the Deluxe Edition book: “Yoko is very keen that in making The Ultimate Mixes series, we achieve three things: remain faithful and respectful to the originals, ensure that the sound is generally sonically clearer overall, and increase the clarity of John’s vocals. ‘It’s about John,’ she says. And she is right. His voice brings the biggest emotional impact to the songs.”

Hicks continues, “The combination of remixing from all the original first-generation multitrack sources and finishing in analogue has brought a whole new level of magic, warmth and clarity to the sound, along with a more detailed dynamic range and sound stage, and we really hope you enjoy the results.”

The results speak for themselves and allow Lennon’s voice and words to shine on, clearer and brighter, at a time when they are needed now, more than ever. When listened to in sequence, Gimme Some Truth. The Ultimate Mixes plays both like one of the greatest-ever live Lennon concerts and an emotional telling of his life story, from just after the breakup of The Beatles, to falling in love and marrying Yoko, his peace activism, personal soul-searching, inspiration, celebration, confusion, reunion, fatherhood, his five-year break from music while raising Sean, and his triumphant return into the ‘80s with two new albums.

Throughout these incredible, timeless songs we experience the many facets of John Lennon: the songwriter, the revolutionary, the musician, the husband, the truth-teller, the dad, the provocateur, the peace activist, the artist, the icon.