Search - Classic Albums: John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band on DVD

Classic Albums: John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band
Classic Albums John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band
Actors: Yoko Ono, Klaus Voormann, Jann Wenner, Ringo Starr, Dr. Arthur Janov
Director: Matthew Longfellow
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2008     1hr 30min

"John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band" was John Lennon's first solo studio album after the break up of The Beatles. Both John & Yoko had been undergoing primal scream therapy in the lead up to the recording of the album and both...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Yoko Ono, Klaus Voormann, Jann Wenner, Ringo Starr, Dr. Arthur Janov
Director: Matthew Longfellow
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Pop, Rock & Roll, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Classic Rock, Documentary
Studio: Eagle Rock Ent
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 04/29/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 9
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Essential purchase for Lennon collectors
Bamiyan | Paris, France | 04/11/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The 'Classic Albums' series document the making of seminal pop albums
(Paul Simon's 'Graceland', Bob Marley's 'Catch a Fire', Fleetwood
Mac's 'Rumours', to name but a few of the previous releases) through
interviews with participants and associates and the playing of master
tapes (more on that later). This new 52' feature documents the making
of John Lennon's first 'proper' (i.e. accessible to the public at
large) studio album, 'John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band', recorded in the
fall of 1970 and released in December of that year.

Although light on the rare video side of things - there appears to be
no available footage of the sessions, so the producers have collected
little-seen (but previously circulating) clips of John attending the
Alexandra Palace psychedelic event in London (29 April 1967) and
sequences from the BBC '24 Hour' documentary (shown on 15 December
1969) -, the real treat for Beatles videos collectors are
previously-unseen excerpts of John and Yoko's appearance on
'Parkinson' (17 July 1971) which, to my knowledge, haven't been seen
since the original transmission. Other clips from that show have been
included in various programmes over the years, notably 'Imagine'
(1972) and 'Imagine, John Lennon' (1988) but the ones on this DVD are

We also get new interviews with people involved in the making of the
album (Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr, Klaus Vormann, engineers Phil McDonald
and John Leckie), music critics (Jann Wenner, who interviewed Lennon
at length in December 1970 for 'Rolling Stone,' and Richard Williams),
the man responsible for inspiring the album (Dr. Arthur Janov,
proponent of the primal scream theory, whose seminar John and Yoko had
attended in the summer of 1970), Beatle historian Mark Lewisohn
(author of the superb 'The Beatles' Recording Sessions' and 'The
Complete Beatles Chronicles'), as well as Elliot Mintz, who was not
involved with the album at all. My impression is that the latter's
inclusion is due to the fact that he appears to be groomed, as Yoko's
PR man, to take over as guardian of John's legacy the day she passes
away. Here's someone else who'll be ready on day one...

But the main drawing point of this DVD, and what makes it in my
opinion an essential addition to any Lennon fan's collection, is the
playing of the original multitrack tapes at Abbey Road by the
engineers who worked on the album. As they isolate various tracks, we
get to hear John's spine-chilling voice on its own or the various
instruments on the - very spare - backing tracks (which usually
consisted simply of John on guitar or piano, Ringo on drums and Klaus
on bass).

We also get shots of various EMI Tape boxes, indicating the precise
recording dates of various songs on the album. Up until now, the only
known session date for a particular song was 9 October 1970, John's
30th birthday, when he recorded 'Remember'. Here are the dates we now

26 Sep 1970: 'Mother' (take 61 -- possibly an in-joke, as this was the
first day of recording), 'Working Class Hero' (takes 1-9)

27 Sep 1970: 'God' (takes 1-2 of an alternate, acoustic guitar-based
version), 'Well Well Well' (takes 3-4)

30 Sep 1970: 'Hold On' (takes 1-6)

7 Oct 1970: 'Look at Me' (take 1), 'God' (takes 1-8 of a remake, still

9 Oct 1970: 'Remember' (takes 1-4)

17 Oct 1970: 'Mother' (possibly a vocal overdub session)

24 Oct 1970: 'Mother' (another possible vocal overdub session)

There is another session sheet, but the date is cropped out in the
documentary. On that unspecified date (probably late September), they
recorded 'Isolation' (takes 24-29) and 'Well Well Well' (takes 5-6 of
a remake).

In addition to the 52' documentary, there's 35' of bonus
footage. On many DVDs, this is filled with boring stuff
considered not good enough to be included in the main feature. Here,
though, it's simply more great isolation mixes, two clips from John's
1972 concert at Madison Square Garden ('Well Well Well' and 'Mother'),
and the 'holding up signs' version of 'Instant Karma!' (broadcast on
'Top of the Pops' on 19 February 1970) in pristine quality.

* Spoiler alert! Don't read any further if you want to be
surprised by the musical contents of this DVD! *

The multitracks played are:

- a mostly complete 'Remember' (with some stop-and-starts and a recent
clip of Klaus playing the bass line at home) and an earlier (fun,
faster) take, which was partially released on 'John Lennon Anthology'
in 1998. This multitrack mixdown starts earlier, though.

- isolated tracks of 'Well Well Well', 'Working Class Hero', 'God'
(the released version and an alternate, acoustic guitar-based take),
'Mother', 'Isolation', 'Love.'

Beatles on DVD"
Primal Therapy Cut Short
R. Max Totten | San Francisco, Ca United States | 05/03/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"In watching this program I must say that the bonus material was what should have been the basis of the actual program itself, meaning that both engineers Phil McDonald and Richard Lush gave more insight into the making of this seminal album than that of the surviving performers. A lot of visuals were regurgitated from "Lennon Legend" using in fact most of the videos made for "Mother" and "Working Class Hero" and countless familiar clips used before (although they seemed restored for this presentation), that gave a sense of not exploring personal sentiments further once again proveing that the power of Lennon's voiceover drove this documentary. The moments that stood out for me was Phil McDonald playing back a alternative version of "God" that was slightly play faster and with a different vocal style truly what this program needed to unearth more of.

Still having the alternative version of "Instant Karma" from "Top Of The Pops" and the film segments from "Live In New York City" the One To One concert (pristine quality ones hopes the full concert will see the light of day soon!) is shall we say a redeeming factor that can be justidified in the purchase of this product."
Plastic Ono Band
Steven Bechtler | 05/22/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a well organized documentary of one of the greatest albums ever made. Having Ringo Starr and Klaus Voorman included with recent recollations of this landmark John Lennon solo album are priceless. My only complaint is that it is not in 5.1 surround sound or at least I haven't found a way to play it in 5.1 sound."
EnchantedPRL | Quinebaug, CT, USA | 04/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"What a wonderful treat to finally see the making of this groundbreaking album on film! The video entries of film and photo enhance the telling of the story.....and it is always wonderful to hear Yoko reflect, as well as having Ringo speak (he was there and in on the recording) and the late Klaus Voorman also. Great to have input from the technicians involved in the recording and mixing of the record.

This was John's first solo studio album (he and Yoko had already released "Two Virgins" and "Life w/ the Lions" and "Live Peace in Toronto",......and was a stark, very telling reflection of their lives together at the time, the recent Primal Therapy with Arthur Janov, and a drastic unbundling of the type of music John had recorded thus far with the Beatles.

Thoroughly unvarnished, raw, genuine,....and, in your face......for those who like their Lennon without cream and sugar!"