When released in 1970, “Mother,” the stark and startling album opener of John Lennon’s first post-Beatles solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, signalled a change in John’s songwriting, away from third person narratives and towards a more autobiographical, confessional style. Inspired by the primal scream psychotherapy he and wife Yoko Ono had been practicing with Dr. Arthur Janov, John, joined by the minimalist Plastic Ono Band – Ringo Starr on drums and Klaus Voormann on bass, and producer Phil Spector – addressed his parents abandoning him in his most honest and personal song to date. The legendary songwriter’s anguish was on full display for the first time.
On what would have been John’s mother Julia’s 107th birthday today, and ahead of Mother’s Day in the UK, the John Lennon Estate has released a newly updated video for “Mother” which has been completely reconstructed from the original photographs, beautifully remastered in 4K and upgraded with the stunning new “Ultimate Mix.” Through the use of John’s personal photos, the video explores layers in the meaning of the lyrics and performance of the song – telling the story of John’s relationships with his mother and father figures, including fractured memories from his childhood and important moments in his life. We see parental figures gone too soon and desperately missed: his mother Julia, father Alfred, his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George Smith who raised and housed him for most of his childhood and teens, and manager Brian Epstein.
We see John with his wife Yoko Ono Lennon (who he nicknamed “Mother” in 1980, five years after they had become parents with Sean), we consider John as a father, with sons Julian Lennon and Sean Ono Lennon, and then explore themes of John himself as absent and gone too soon, missed sorely by his wife, sons, extended family and the world. Produced by Yoko Ono Lennon, directed and edited by Simon Hilton with 3D compositing by David Frearson, the video was first created in 2003 for the DVD release, “Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon,” and includes photographs by Bob Gruen, Stanley Parkes, Geoff Rhind, Robert Freeman, Jack Mitchell, Iain Macmillan, Paul Goresh, Joyce Ravid and many others.
“Mother” is the first track to be released from the forthcoming John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band-The Ultimate Collection, due April 16 via Capitol/UMC to celebrate 50 years of John’s transformational and influential masterpiece. The eight-disc super deluxe box set is an immersive, deep listening experience and in-depth exploration of what John described as “the best thing I’ve ever done.” Fully authorized by Yoko Ono Lennon, who oversaw the production and creative direction, and from the same audio team that worked on 2018’s critically acclaimed Imagine – The Ultimate Collection, including triple GRAMMY®-Award winning engineer Paul Hicks and mixers/engineers Rob Stevens and Sam Gannon
The Ultimate Collection puts listeners in the centre of the studio and explores the album’s 1970 recording sessions at EMI Studios 2 & 3, Abbey Road along with John’s post-Beatles singles, “Give Peace A Chance,” “Cold Turkey” and “Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)” from inception to the final master through scores of unreleased and rare demos, rehearsals, outtakes, jams and studio conversations, revealing how these beloved songs came to be. Everything in this expansive box set has been newly mixed from scratch from brand new 192kHz/24bit hi-res transfers. In addition to the various new mixes, the set boasts 87 never-before-heard recordings.
JOHN LENNON/PLASTIC ONO BAND – THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION
SUPER DELUXE EDITION
- 6 CDs containing 6 hours 18 mins of music: 102 tracks in 44.1kHz/16bit stereo.
- 2 Blu-Ray Audio Discs containing over 11 hours of music: 159 tracks of High-Definition, Studio Quality 192kHz/24bit audio, including mixes in Stereo, 5.1 Surround and Dolby Atmos.
- 132-Page Book
- Poster: ‘WAR IS OVER! (IF YOU WANT IT) Love and Peace from John & Yoko’
- 2 Postcards: ‘Who Are The Plastic Ono Band?’ and ‘You Are The Plastic Ono Band’