This 15-song collection (expanded to 19 in 1989 for the CD), released just short of two years after Lennon's death, provided a very generous overview of his solo career on a single LP, drawing on most of the major singles and also on songs that were widely covered, and from all periods of his career, from his late-Beatles-era solo political explorations up to the release of Double Fantasy. The producers, obviously working in collaboration with his widow and seeking to put the very best face on his career, and showcase his strongest and most memorable songs, pass right over Sometime in New York and much of the partly successful works that followed, which is sort of a shame -- "Woman Is the Nigger of the World" may not quite rate alongside the stuff that is here, but it was a song that he did care about and played live more than once (significant in a career that included barely any scheduled concerts), and "John Sinclair" showed him playing blues with a ferocious passion. One also misses "Cold Turkey," which is as powerful a song as he wrote in his early solo career, but at the time of its release this was the broadest overview of Lennon's career to be found, and even included (on its CD version) the otherwise unanthologized B-side "Move Over Ms. L."
The John Lennon Collection Review
by Bruce Eder