The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

EMI to Give Us Some Truth

with 11 comments

Whether you’re more of a John Lennon or Paul McCartney fan, it’s hard to overstate the contributions these two made to the pop-rock world, first as the principle songwriters of The Beatles and then as solo artists in their own right. Last year, of course, saw The Beatles’ discography get remastered for the first time since the original releases of the records on CD in 1987. The McCartney catalogue is slated to come back out on CD through Paul’s new homebase, Concord Records, starting with a new reissue of Band on the Run this August.

And now, EMI has announced the Gimme Some Truth campaign, a massive catalogue overhaul for John Lennon in celebration of what would have been his 70th birthday (if you can believe that). This wave of product includes a lot of remastering, compiling and vault hunting, so hit the jump and take a look at what’s going to happen.First up, on October 5, EMI is releasing digitally remastered versions of eight solo Lennon records: 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 the posthumous Milk and Honey (1984).

That reissue of Double Fantasy is a special one. The record, released weeks before John Lennon’s shooting death on December 8, 1980, will be expanded to a two-disc set, with the second disc featuring Double Fantasy Stripped Down, a new remix of the record overseen by Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono and producer Jack Douglas, both of whom produced the original LP with Lennon.

Then there’s a new compilation. Power to the People: The Hits compiles 15 Lennon tracks onto one disc, and will also be featured as an “Experience Edition” with as-yet-unannounced bonus content. The set will be packaged in a digipak with a new essay by Paul Du Noyer, author of the Lennon bio We All Shine On.

Finally, the big guns: two box sets. Gimme Some Truth is a 72-track anthology that presents Lennon’s work on four themed discs: “Roots” (Lennon’s rock influences), “Working Class Hero” (the political songs), “Woman” (love songs), and “Borrowed Time” (songs about life). That set will feature an essay by Anthony DeCurtis, a well-known name to liner notes enthusiasts.

Finally, The John Lennon Signature Box will gather it all. Eleven discs of material featuring all the remastered material plus Lennon’s non-LP material and a host of rare and previously unreleased recordings. That deluxe box will feature a limited edition art print and another heavy-duty batch of liner notes written by DeCurtis and filled with rare photos and artwork.

Mark your calendars and read the full press release here.

Written by Mike Duquette

June 29, 2010 at 13:01

Posted in John Lennon, News, Reissues

11 Responses

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  1. Yes, I understand That these discs mark a return to the original mixes, but are there really that many people out there who dislike the remixed versions? And why is “Live Peace in Toronto 1969” being omitted?
    And there’s one other added feature in the remixed discs presently on the market: they have bonus tracks. The new discs won’t have bonus tracks.
    As for previously unreleased content, no doubt there’s loads of home recordings, but as for fully realised unreleased studio tracks, they’ve already been heard via “Menlove Avenue” & “The John Lennon Anthology” 4-CD set.
    John Lennon was a good judge of whether his songs were good enough to take into the studio, and(for the most part), the songs that exist only via home-recorded demos weren’t good enough to take into the studio.
    Actually, more George Harrison archival projects would have dug up more unreleased material than a Lennon project, but now Dhani Harrison is in charge, but he doesn’t wanna know, because it distracts him from his own musical career.
    And one more thing: right now, there is a total halt on releasing archival material by any artists at EMI’s UK & U.S.A. companies, no doubt a result of the company’s internal problems and executive shake-ups. This moratorium is expected to end in September, but I wouldn’t be shocked if there’s a postponement of these John Lennon projects.

    Phil Cohen

    June 29, 2010 at 14:41

    • It’s rather odd that they don’t seem to be throwing everything into that box set, nor do they seem to be adding any previously-released or unreleased tracks to the albums themselves. I mean, I’m all for these if it gets someone into Lennon’s catalogue, but if they’re going to have a potentially better project available on the secondary market in the old remasters, then EMI has partially answered the question of why they’re in the toilet more than any other label.

      And was that moratorium on catalogue stuff ever officially announced? We’ve seen delays (Duran Duran, anyone?) but I just thought it was awful planning, not an outright acknowledgement of the trouble they’re having.

      Mike Duquette

      June 29, 2010 at 15:09

      • Also on hold at EMI(in addition to Duran Duran’s “Notorious” & “Big Thing”), Deep Purple’s 2-CD edition of “Come Taste The Band”, Jethro Tull’s 2-CD edition of “Stand Up”, and rather pointless 3-disc sets by Ten Years After,Robin Trower & Be Bop Deluxe(each would have featured 5 albums + non-L.P. B-sides, but ABSOLUTELY NO VAULT MATERIAL).

        Phil Cohen

        June 29, 2010 at 15:36

      • It seems EMI is following in the footsteps of their Beatles boxes in offering no bonus tracks for each album. Believe it or not, I know some collectors who actually prefer this “integrity to the original album” approach. At least liner notes and the original mixes are being offered this time out. I am disappointed that the bonus tracks are being dropped from the last remasters, but the presence of the new mixes would force me to keep those discs anyway.

        So I’m curious to see what the 11-disc box will offer in the way of its rarities disc (John collectors, what’s left??) and perhaps the combination of that disc, great packaging and a reasonable price tag will be enough to get me to make a purchase on the box. Time will tell, though.

        Joe Marchese

        June 29, 2010 at 16:50

    • I’d also like to see confirmation of an official moratorium on catalogue releases from EMI. Not that I doubt you; I just want to see it set in stone so that I can officially mourn my chances of ever seeing a 2-CD reissue of Duran Duran’s “wedding album.” 😦


      June 29, 2010 at 16:36

      • This(not officially announced, but apparent) moratorium on EMI back catalogue activity isn’t a permanent thing. There could still be further Duran Duran CD/DVD sets, but whether we’re going to want them(after mastering engineer Andy Walter’s sonic travesty perpetrated on “Seven & The Ragged Tiger” & “Duran Duran[debut]) is another question altogether.

        Phil Cohen

        June 29, 2010 at 16:41

  2. They should have done two-fers (with the remixes on one disc and the original mix on another) for the entire catalog, like they’re doing with “Double Fantasy”.

    Just another catalog raping…like The Doors, etc.


    June 29, 2010 at 15:59

  3. I’m conflicted. I’m a Beatles completist of course but:
    A) I’ve purchased all of these albums on CD in the last 7 or 8 years
    B) The bonus material (which is, of course, the only real draw) is only available in a sure-to-be-expensive box set so you can’t buy it over time (besides the Double Fantasy remix, which I admit is intriguing)
    C) Live Peace in Toronto is the only album that truly needs to be reissued–it’s OOP–and yet it’s absent
    D) Another hits set? Why? There’s a 20-track Lennon Legend and a 38-track Working Class Hero compilation on the market
    E) What exactly is the point of the Gimme Some Truth box set? That’s essentially just half his catalog
    F) I think his solo work is by far the most uneven of the Beatles–there are some gems for sure but it’s really inconsistent
    G) The anti-Yoko conspiracy theorist in me can’t help but look at this as “Paul’s starting his reissue campaign; better overshadow him by releasing a bunch of John stuff”

    So yeah. Not entirely happy about this. I know I don’t have to buy it but I think I’d be more excited if they waited another decade for these (and yes, CDs will still be around and the primary format!).


    June 29, 2010 at 16:47

  4. The Lennon CD reissue campaign was in the pipeline before the McCartney reissue series(and McCartney’s move to Concord Music) was announced.

    Phil Cohen

    June 29, 2010 at 17:40

  5. Hmm… I have a great, limited edition box set from 20 years ago (simply called “Lennon”) that offers up a major portion of the songs from John’s solo years, plus some nice rarities too… Perhaps the best gems on the set are the songs performed with Elton John @ MSG — the final time Lennon set foot on a concert stage.

    The problem with that set is that’s two decades old, and it sounds like it. The songs are in terrible need of remastering, so I’m tempted to get the Gimme Some Truth box for that reason. I’m not sure I like the idea of the four discs being split up by “theme” though. Also, my old box set has 80 tracks, and this new box only 72. I certainly don’t want to pay what the 11-disc mega-set is going to cost!

    Maybe I’ll just get a few of my favorite albums — Plastic Ono Band, Imagine, and Rock & Roll — and leave it at that. I like HALF of Double Fantasy. The “John” half, natch.


    June 30, 2010 at 22:29

  6. […] » Apologies for the shorter posting, but there’s some new chatter about some of the upcoming John Lennon reissues that catalogue enthusiasts should know […]

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