It shall come as no surprise that the soundtrack to the documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon -- a film that traces Lennon's time as a political protestor and his subsequent, often covert, persecution by the U.S. government -- showcases John the Protest Singer. It's a prominent part of John's legend, so much so that it would seem like there's a great number of these songs, but when it comes down to it, his political work doesn't amount to that much: a few singles and the double album Some Time in New York City, generally acknowledged as Lennon's lousiest record. Not a lot to build a soundtrack on, so The U.S. vs. John Lennon is fleshed out with some ideological tunes and songs about hope and love or about John himself -- which ultimately means that this album has such old standbys as "Imagine," "Instant Karma," "Power to the People," "Working Class Hero," "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," and the Beatles' "The Ballad of John & Yoko" and a bunch of songs from Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, plus the posthumous "Nobody Told Me" and some stray songs from Some Time in New York City. There isn't much that's rare here -- two OK live versions of NYC's "Attica State" and "John Sinclair," both taken from the 1971 rally in Ann Arbor held to free Sinclair, plus an instrumental version of "How Do You Sleep?" (a protest against Paul, here used as score) -- but at this point, there simply isn't much rare to be dug out of the vaults, at least not to sell a soundtrack like this. And as a soundtrack it's not bad -- it captures the spirit of the movie, and there's a bunch of good music here, even if it's hard to imagine that anybody interested in this film wouldn't own all this music already.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
feat: The Beatles