Rock 'n' Roll (1975)

1. Be-Bop-A-Lula 2. Stand By Me 3. Medley: Rip it Up/Ready Teddy 4. You Can't Catch me 5. Ain't That a Shame 6. Do You Wanna Dance? 7. Sweet Little Siteen 8. Slippin' and Slidin' 9. Peggy Sue 10.Medley: Bring it on Home to Me/ Send Me Some Lovin' 11.Boney Maronie 12.Ya Ya 13.Just Because 14.Angel Baby * 15.To Know Her is to Love Her * 16.Since My Baby Left Me * 17.Just Because (Reprise) * * CD Bonus Track


It always seemed a bit odd to me that of all of John Lennon's solo albums, this one seems to be the most overlooked. Not overlooked in terms of quality, but overlooked in the fact that people seem to forget that it even exists. Of course, that can be a bit understandable. You never knew what this guy was going to do when he went into the recording studio, and he seemed to relish the fact that he kept his fans waiting with baited breath to see just what their icon had to say about the world around him.

Of course, that phase of his career did mellow out a bit during the mid seventies. He seemed much more content with making good music as opposed to delivering some mind blowing message about the state of anything. Also, this record came out well over a year after the idea, and even the recordings took place. Apparently many of the tapes of these sessions were in Phil Spector's car when Phil got in a wreck causing many of the original tapes to be unusable. This record was derived from more than one session, and there was even a brief lawsuit when a minor indy label somehow "got a hold" of these tapes and issued them before this "legitimate" release.

So there's nothing here about bagism, giving peace a chance, Ireland, Yoko, working class heroes, women's liberation, etc. Many people had quite enough of all of that, and John basically returns to his roots by covering a batch of old songs that he grew up with and played in his youth before the breakout of The Beatles. The music here is simply terrific. The songs aren't replications of the original (as the cover of the leather clad Lennon may imply), they have plenty of "modern" sounds to make everything sound fresh. The songs never lose their identities, for the most part, and the majority of the songs that are featured here, everyone already knows anyway.

Highlights are Ben E. King's Stand By Me and Lloyd Price's Just Because, but there is rarely a misstep anyplace. Several years later, an "expanded" edition appeared with some of the legendary unreleased songs from the sessions, but those few songs don't really add that much, so don't feel gypped if the original is what you purchased.

This album reminded everyone of why we all fell in love with John Lennon in the first place, all those years ago.

Back To Main Page
Go To Next Review