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Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon
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John Lennon's solo work has been anthologized so many times that it's hard to believe there wasn't a definitive compilation before this one. And, depending on your particular take, you might not find Lennon Legend quite hitting the mark. However, since it does contain the brilliantly scathing "Working Class Hero," doesn't ignore the woefully underrated Rock 'n' Roll album, and catches the hopeful renewal that came toward the end of his foreshortened life, it's probably about as close as anyone's going to come. His great songs shine, meditations like "Imagine" and his rockers had form and content, as in "Whatever Gets You Through the Night." He was an icon, and this does him justice. --Chris Nickson

Imagine a place where the personal, political, and emotional elements of John Lennon's music converge together seamlessly in one cohesive production. An assortment of his finest solo work, Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon is of great interest to anyone who's ever been a fan of the Beatles, the Plastic Ono Band, Yoko Ono, or simply the genius himself. Ranging from a rendition of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" to the sounds of the Plastic Ono Band and the Harlem Community Choir on "Happy Xmas" and the classic anti-war anthem "Give Peace A Chance", the recordings assembled here stand as a testament to one of rock's most complex and influential musical talents. If you believe that Lennon's greatest period of creativity came to an end with the Beatles, you owe yourself a listen to this album.

John Lennon Photos

More from John Lennon


John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band

The U.S. vs. John Lennon

Mind Games

Working Class Hero

Walls and Bridges

1997 collection on Capitol featuring 20 of his best for thelabel, all digitally remastered. Includes 'Imagine','Instant Karma!', 'Mother' (Single Edit), 'Jealous Guy','(Just Like) Starting Over', 'Woman', 'Give Peace A Chance',etc.

Customer Reviews:

  • Inspiring and surprising.
    I love this CD because it has all my favourite tracks, but there are also some I didn't really know. Nice surprises. Great value....more info
    This is the best collection of John Lennon hits there is. Every song on here is an incredible song. If you want to find out why John Lennon was the best songwritter ever, buy this album. I'm sure you will come to a conclusion that John Lennon can write better songs than Slipknot, KoRn, Green Day, 2 Pac, 50 Cent, System of a Down, and any of those overated artists. ...more info
  • The man, the myth, the... oh, whatever.
    This is sooooo close to being the final say on Lennon, along with Plastic Ono Band and Imagine. Two little switcheroos would've elevated it to that position. Off with Power to the People (seriously, what a crappy song!), and on with Steel and Glass. And while I understand including Stand By Me to represent Rock and Roll (which, incidentally, is pathetic) just for balance's sake, how about if we Bring on the Lucie here? The lack of God and Crippled Inside is a bit annoying, but as I said you really need Ono Band and kinda need Imagine (it's not in Ono Band's league, but it can be brilliant in spots).
    Other than that, this has everything you need. Mother, Love, Working Class Hero, Imagine, Jealous Guy (my favorite Lennon song), Mind Games, Whatever Gets You Thru the Night, #9 Dream, Woman, Watching the Wheels, Borrowed Time, (Just Like) Starting Over, Happy Xmas (War is Over), the REAL Give Peace a Chance (not the gutted version on Shaved Fish), Cold Turkey, Instant Karma, Nobody Told Me... if you're wondering what the big deal about Lennon is, which obviously means you've been living in a cave on Pluto's moon Charon, this and pretty much every Beatles album will convince you of that. ...more info
  • Shaved Sushi
    For anyone who remembers John Lennon's early compilation, 'Shaved Fish,' 'Lennon Legend' will undoubtedly provide a great treat. The songs are selected and arranged far better. The compilers made a great C.D.--not just a sampler. The best of 'Shaved Fish' is retained, and some other essentials are added from the second half of his solo career. Because the quality of his albums is mixed, ('Plastic Ono Band' being a groundbreaking triumph and 'Walls and Bridges' a meandering failure with some key moments), 'Lennon Legend' is a particularly good pick for Lennon fans. "Love," one of his best songs ever and "Working Class Hero" are aptly added from the former album, but the hits are retained from his lesser works as well. The listener is also offered his finest songs from 'Double Fantasy' and 'Milk and Honey'. The compilers (Maybe Yoko had some say?) were wise to extract "Woman Is the N----r of the World," a progressive, but poorly phrased song from the first collection and add his rendition of "Stand by Me," from 'Rock 'N Roll'. This addition is good and interesting, but some of echo effects make one believe that Phil Spector's hand left something to be desired. The album ends with some of his finest work from his early career, including one of the better original Christmas songs, "Happy X-mas (The War Is Over)".

    Some of the highlights include the opener, "Imagine," a beautiful anthem that should suit anyone of any creed interested in God and an end to religious and political strife (and faith and servile fear). There's the classic rocker "Instant Karma," an appeal to brotherhood and a favorite song. "Cold Turkey," is a fine, but harrowing song done by the man we came to know for his uncompromising honesty. One of the unheralded songs is "Jealous Guy," a beautiful song lyrically, intricate musically, and a departure from the mushy production some of his songs suffered from. Then, there are the heart-warming moments from his last works. It is a pleasure to listen to the key songs from 'Double Fantasy' and 'Milk and Honey,' not only for the warmth they retain, but the consolation of knowing that at the end domesticity brought happiness to one of the greatest musical legends of the twentieth century. ...more info
  • Do you love the sound of John's voice or not? : )
    If you are a fan of music, this is a cd to listen to consistently. It will broden your horizons. John's lyrics just are that way. He's amazing lyrically and an amazing conmposer. The music is just as beautiful as the lyrics. Highly recommended!...more info
  • Close to definitive compilation for a true music legend

    This is the first album I've bought by John Lennon, though I have bought albums by the Beatles beforehand (my favourite being "Magical mystery tour"). Purchasing a Lennon compilation was always going to be more likely than buying something by the other Beatle's solo works. That's because Lennon always seemed to have the superior solo songs, as well as having more of them. These songs are my favourites:

    Woman- a beautiful love song with a warm sentiment and sweetly sung.

    Beautiful boy- a dreamy, delicate and beautiful ode to his young boy Sean. Has an oriental sounding element to the song and some nice Caribbean sounding steel drums.

    Happy Christmas (war is over): a song of peace and optimism. Features his wife Yoko and a children's choir. Has jingle bells and accoustic guitar.

    Give peace a chance: another peacenik song for this politically and socially active singer. Has a classic singalong chant and an iconic drum pattern. Composed at the time of American involvement in the Vietnam War, which was socially divisive around the world. A great but simple song with a simple beat, claps and chant.

    Nobody told me: one of his best ever songs, in my opinion-he was still making great music before he was tragically murdered by a man he had shown kindness too only moments earlier. Has Lennon's trademark sense of whimsy: "There's UFO's over New York and I ain't too suprised".

    The above songs are Lennon's greatest, I think.

    There are quite a few more songs that I like, though not as doubt many people would like these songs more than the ones I like the best:

    Mind games: distinctive keyboard sound (trippy) and a nice quality to his vocals.

    #9 dream: a delicate, pretty, ethereal sounding song. Has a violin type sound and a twangy lead guitar. I like Lennon's dreamy vocals and Yoko's sensual words. Reminded me of some of fellow Beatle George Harrison's songs.

    (Just like) starting over: a nice song concerning re-invigorating a long term relationship. Nice studio effects added to the song.

    Watching the wheels: here we hear Lennon at his reflective best-at peace with himself, life, the world and his place in the scheme of things.

    Stand by me: a great cover of Ben E King's classic. Probably the definitive version of this song.

    Although it's not a favourite song of mine, you will often see his song "Imagine" top popular/critical polls for the title of the greatest song of all time. It's a spiritual for atheists. Simple, yet thought provoking and idealistic.

    Around a year or so ago, Greenday released a version of "Working class hero", which included Lennon singing in the outro. This song has great lyrics-perhaps Lennon's best. With just accoustic guitar accompaniment, Lennon is vitriolic and uses a swear word, but in the context, it is more art than gratuitous.

    The last song I'd single out would be "Jealous guy". Perhaps smooth Brit pop group Roxy Music has the most famous version of this song. Lennon's version still stands up well. Features piano and whistling. A documentary I recently saw ("Stuart Sutcliffe: The Lost Beatle") speculated that this song was really about Lennon reflecting on causing the death of ex Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe: "I was dreaming of the past, and my heart was beating fast. I began to lose control. I began to lose control. I didn't mean to hurt you". Lennon was reported to have violently assaulted Stuart which may have caused Stuart to die at a later time due to complications. As I say, this is speculation. It adds an interesting twist to the meaning of the lyrics, which I always took on face value as being about a troubled romantic relationship.

    As for the rest of the songs, some notes I made on some of them:

    Love: reminds me a bit of Pink Floyd. Piano melody reminds me of the early Beatles period.

    Power to the people: has a black, gospel choir sound. Features saxophone.

    Cold turkey: about giving up drugs. Has a very deep bass, with a bluesy and very raw sounding lead guitar. Lennon screeches at the end-mirroring withdrawal pains, presumably.

    Whatever gets you through the night: features saxophone, clapping. Not sure, but it seems to be mixed with another song as well. Has a ragtime piano sounding outro.

    Borrowed time: features scat at the end.

    John Lennon is a musician you can honestly call a "legend", so the album is aptly titled. Some minor quibbles: it would have been interesting to have some of Lennon's darker material, like "How do you sleep at night", which I've never heard before, but which was a vitriolic pot-shot at fellow ex Beatle Paul McCartney. The inclusion of "Mother" is's a vitriolic pot-shot at his mother-well, maybe more a pained lament than a vitriolic pot-shot. And lastly, I first heard "Real love" on the Beatles "Anthology" which aired on tv many years ago. Absolutely loved that song. One of the Beatles best. It was based on a Lennon solo song. I've heard two versions of which really didn't do very much for me, and another version which is closer to the finished product released by the surviving members of The Beatles for "Anthology". That version is a glaring omission from this compilation. Otherwise, this is an excellent compilation....more info
  • Perfect for Beatles fans
    I'm a huge Beatles fan, and recently I've started to get into their solo work. When it came to choosing a John Lennon solo CD to buy, I really wanted to get a greatest hits cd so that I'd be getting his best work. I'd only heard of the well-known hits "Imagine" and "Give Peace a Chance", which are classics. When I bought this CD my ears were opened to a whole new side of Lennon, along with his best music. All these songs are standouts, but my personal favorites are "Instant Karma" and "Watching the Wheels". I recommend this CD to any Beatles fan who wants to branch out into their solo work, but don't necessarily have the money or time to spend on each of their solo cds. This CD is constantly in my stereo, and it's something any Beatle fan would love, and at a great price too!...more info
  • A nice introduction to the Genius of John Lennon.
    But eventually you will need to buy his albums if you want to really experience Lennon. This compilation just doesn't quite do justice. One thing that I was disappointed about is that the Sometime in New York album was completely left off....more info
  • Lennon at his best
    If you could only own one John Lennon album, this is the one you want. Has all the post Beatles songs you remember John for.
    ...more info
  • Wonderful Memories
    One of the best buys I've had. This CD brings back lots of old memories and is full of Lennon at his best. Only one song "Cold Turkey" was not enjoyable. Very good buy....more info
  • The best of Lennon
    I adore John Lennon. His death was a great loss to the world. His music is so beautiful. They sing his songs in choral groups. Imagine and Woman are two of his greatest. I can't say enough about John Lennon and I'm glad that I made the purchase.

    ...more info
  • good album
    This is a great album women and Jealous guy and Beautiful boy are great. The only thing about Lennon well a couple of things I dont like the Imagine track even though good piano and vocal i disagree with the lyricks and I ama Christian. Lennon,s best work was 63 through 65 the Beatles personal oppinion. GodBless...more info
  • Lennon Legen-The Very Best Of John Lennon
    The title of this album speaks for itself, the very best of John Lennon. It is the very best, I loved all the songs on this C.D. the price is definitely very good. It is very sad that this legend is no longer with us. It is not fair he didn't even have a chance to be knighted as Sir John Lennon like Sir Paul....more info
  • John is a legend
    A great CD, showing what john Lennon is really made of. All songs on this greatest hits album are perfect. The only problem is that it does not include the best of Lennon's work. Yet it is a must buy for all lennon fans....more info
  • great collection but ...
    ... your appreciation of lennon's solo output cannot be complete until you listen to/possess two of lennon's best albums : imagine and jl/plastic ono band.

    there are only two tracks from each of the two albums in this collection.

    with these two albums and this collection which also incidentally favors (6 tracks!)lennon's other great album "double fantasy", you will have a strong representation of lennon's best solo work.

    btw i cannot comprehend how anybody can leave out such a beautiful number like "hold on" from any lennon best of/collection....more info
  • Breathtakingly Beautiful!
    This album emcompasses the beauty that is my son John! I love you sweetheart!

    Mom...more info
  • Everything You'd Want, and Then Some
    I'm not a huge Lennon (solo)fan, but he did turn out 6-7 indespensible songs in his post-Beatle career. This collection has them all, plus a lot more. ...more info
  • Lennon, a great artist and a great man.
    Outstanding words and music from the Man who made us all think about the finer things in life. I also recommend "Across the Universe", on DVD, for all you diehard Lennon fans. Great story and music. Thanks very much. Ron Caylor...more info
  • Good Collection of Lennon's Best
    This collection represents probably the best from John Lennon's solo career - if you define "best" as being those songs that became the most popular or are the most remembered. For a proper appreciation, one should listen to John Lennon's albums. It also helps if you know something about the ups-and-downs of his life. It really is wonderful to hear a new hopeful and happy sound from him in his last years, and you can actually hear that in the songs on this CD. Also, these songs run the gamut from terribly pessimistic and critical to highly uplifting - a songwriting trick that few can pull off. However, this is a really good CD that I like more each time I play it. If you are a Lennon or even a Beatles fan, I think this will spur you to go out and sample some of John Lennon's albums. ...more info
  • emotional brilliance
    Calling this amazing collection of songs "emotionally brilliant" is really the only way to describe it. You have one of the most successful and powerful singer-songwriters of all-time, captured almost flawlessly in this 20-track collection of songs.

    You have the early favorites such as "Imagine", "Instant Karma!" and "Jealous Guy". Then you have the four songs included from the Double Fantasy album. In between are a bunch of forgotten favorites that you will surely recognize upon listening to them. I'm really surprised the Christmas song is included here as well. I love that song, and I know some people who've said it moves them to tears every December. "Mother" has some of the most honest feelings ever put on tape. That song FLOORED me the first time I played it. His version of "Stand By Me" surpasses the original, and "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night" used to be a popular radio favorite at one time. The same can be said for "No. 9 Dream".

    There will never EVER be a songwriter able to combine emotion, talent, beauty and importance ever again. There's only one John Lennon, and while some may argue Paul McCartney and the Wings had more success, it's impossible to deny John Lennon deserves credit for having nonstop honesty throughout his career and just as much talent for writing solid melodies. Lyrically John Lennon is truly gifted and had absolutely no fear saying whatever he felt like. That makes him a brilliant musician. Pick up this 20-track collection today. It doesn't GET any better. ...more info
  • Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon
    this is a great album to have in your collection as it really is the very best of Lennon and his brilliant work - i think i got this used - and it was in excellent condition - all the favorites on it -...more info
  • Expert compilation
    It seemed those days would never end. John Lennon was the most idiosyncratic and perhaps the most musically and culturally interesting Beatle, but his solo work quickly showed how much the Beatles were greater than the sum of their parts. His serious creative decline is masked on this expertly chosen collection by presenting the tracks in non-chronological order, but I notice that although he died in 1980, 10 of the 20 tracks here were made between 1969 and 1971. They include the great early singles with the Plastic Ono Band - Give Peace A Chance, Cold Turkey, Instant Karma - but unfortunately without the B-sides that featured Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band, with John Lennon on guitar, and which are mostly unavailable on CD. Move Over Ms L, the uptempo non-album flipside of Stand By Me, is also missed.
    Nobody Told Me, a powerful recording from 1980, released posthumously as a single in 1984, reminds us that he lived through the punk era, outliving Marc Bolan, and indicates that he might have been starting to buck the trend of his baking bread years.
    To answer a previous reviewer, the drummer on the Plastic Ono Band's 1970 album was Ringo, and what a great job he does, too....more info
  • This is the best of John yah right.
    I have gotten this cd becasue there was a time when i listen to the beatles all the time. At the time i listen to classic beatles cds like rubber and such but i rarely listen to this cd. Actually i liked George Harrison's last cd better. There are good songs on this like imagine but that has been played to death. I like the song mother becasue it is very personal. I also like jealous guy but Roxy music did a better version of it anyway. Why do people keep critizing paul for doing senitimental sap John has done his fair share of it and alot of it is on this cd. Songs like dream 9, beautiful boy, just like starting over are sappy. Even Someone as bad as celine dion covered beautiful boy. Another thing about john was he did not have much of a voice it was not bad but it also was nothing to write home about. ...more info
  • The legend of Lennon carries on
    John Lennon was the founder of the greatest pop/rock group that ever walked the earth, The Beatles. He was also a genuine personality with a charisma that was irresistable, a wit that was heartfelt, and an outspoken nature that influenced a generation. Lennon's music is the main topic on Lennon Legend, but one cannot mention Lennon's songs without bringing up all of the above.

    Songs like Imagine, Power To The People, Mind Games, and the powerful handraiser Instant Karma! are just a few of Lennon the revolutionary's signature songs that called for the rights and unity of the common man. Mother, Cold Turkey, and Jealous Guy, on the other hand, reveal Lennon the man and his vulnerability, the songs deal with his inner pains of losing his mother, kicking the habit, and hurting the ones he loved. Then, there's the side of Lennon the lover and his devotion to Yoko with songs like the mesmerizing Woman, which stands as one of the best love songs ever written, No.9 Dream, and the Ben E King cover of Stand By Me from his 1975 covers album Rock N Roll.

    The album also includes the Dylanesque Working Class Hero, the epical Happy Xmas (War Is Over), the sweet lullaby Beautiful Boy (written for young Sean Lennon), and the posthumous Nobody Told Me (the best social commentary song of the early 1980's).

    With the compilation released and many others before and after, Lennon's legend has and always will carry on.


    A...more info
  • Blinding
    Literally blinding, when I was listening to it, my eyes melted. But seriously, a collection of some of the more popular John Lennon numbers and ridiculously easy to listen to...more info
  • "Right on, Yoko-chan"
    My favorite rock album has always been Bruce Springsteen's "The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle" (herein "E Street") - with its sounds and smells of hot summer nights in the inner city, and trips to the Asbury Park Boardwalk to cool off. E Street gets its strength and energy from the mix of our hometowns and old neighborhoods - and from a very talented band.

    I remember the controversies of the late 60s and early 70s, centering on Yoko Ono's influence on the Beatles breakup, because of her developing relationship with John Lennon - she was always a woman of strong will with an ego and creative energies of her own. Beatles fans on both sides of the Atlantic wanted to set her afire at the stake for stealing Johnny's heart, for the couple's unconventional lifestyle, and for their newly dissonant music and performances. I heard only the controversies - seldom John and Yoko's music. In listening to it now, on the "Lennon Legend," it's difficult to hold back tears -- for an early, untimely death, and especially for the youthful idealism and music beating in his heart. The vision here is much broader than seen from an E Street perspective; and it is also more unashamedly personal and intimate.

    There may have been controversies; but there were also happy family days - weekend outings to San Francisco, with a playful father flying a toy airplane for their beloved son. And if we fault Yoko for breaking up rock history's legendary band, then we must also credit her for the emotional and musical growth of her husband thereafter. The CD is a beautiful anthology - you won't like all tracks; but gut it out - because the good stuff is "world class," as most of you already know. The music's subject matter, special effects and percussion, controversial 25 - 30 years ago, are in harmony today; and Yoko's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," is now a holiday favorite. Right on, Yoko-chan - we are with you for the rest of the journey.
    ...more info
  • Lennon Legend
    After my last disappointing review, I thought that I need to shape up and stop messing around. Anyway the CD.

    This is the best John Lennon Greatest Hits, which is all on one CD. This is a new version of The John Lennon Collection from 1982 [Which includes a rare track, Move Over Miss L]. It includes twenty tracks from 1969 to 1980. Thankfully there is none of Yoko's songs and it just John Lennon from beginning to end.

    It starts off with Imagine, one of John Lennon's great tracks and it all starts to form a great collection. It is at least an hour long, so you won't be disappointed. I didn't go mad and buy all his Albums, other than a few Albums.

    I also own the DVD, which has lots of Special Features and Footage. So I say, if you like The Beatles, then get this.

    Jake Potts ...more info