John Lennon Rock and Roll (1975)

Produced by John Lennon and Phil Spector

There is no secret if you follow my blog that I’m a big John Lennon fan. I love talking about his music. I saw a video today of a guy who imitates Lennon and he was singing a song from this album and I went back to it and wanted to share my opinion on the album.

The history behind this record is a complex one and it starts in 1969 when The Beatles recorded Abbey Road. The song Come Together has a line from a Chuck Berry song called You can’t catch me. Morris Levy who owned the song sued Lennon and the agreement was that John would have to sing three songs that Levy owned. John not knowing how they could fit on an album of original songs decided to do an oldies album. That is where the idea came from and he and Phil Spector began the sessions. These sessions were not going well and Spector stole the recordings. Just an overview, but this album has a complicated history.

Now to the album itself. It is not a perfect album. But I believe John has a great rock and roll voice and on most of the songs covered on the album, the songs sound great. Sweet little sixteen is one example where the arrangement was not that good in my opinion, he sang it better on The Beatles Live at the BBC. Stand by me is the best one on the album. Lennon made it his own I think. The medley Rip it up/Ready Teddy, Ain’t that a shame, Do you wanna dance, Slippin’ and Slidin’, Bring it home to me/Send me some loving and Just Because all sounded great and are good covers. One that I like that was not included was Be my Baby, an outtake from the sessions was included on the Anthology record, I love John’s voice and performance. Angel Baby, another song from those sessions is a song I first heard on the Gimme some truth compilation and it was also a good cover.

I think this album worked because John loved these songs and he recorded them as a true fan rather than approaching it like he was doing the songs a favor by singing them, at least that is what I feel.

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