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John Lennon / Mind Games reissue

Massive exploration of 1973 album

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John Lennon 6CD+blu-ray deluxe

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3.6

John Lennon’s 1973 album Mind Games will be reissued in July across numerous physical formats including a 6CD+2blu-ray deluxe edition and super deluxe edition which is limited to 1100 units worldwide.

Mind Games was John’s fourth solo album and was issued in late October 1973, about six weeks before McCartney’s Band on the Run, for some solo Beatles context. There was only one single from the album, its title track, which was a top 20 hit in America and a top 20 hit in the UK.

John was 33 at the time and found himself in personal and political upheaval. A years-long deportation battle with U.S. immigration continued to rage on while his anti-Vietnam war activism, and overtly political messages on 1972’s, Sometime in New York City (touted for a while as the next Lennon box set) made him a target of a newly elected Richard Nixon, leading to surveillance by the FBI.

Against this backdrop Lennon entered NYC’s Record Plant in August ’73 with musicians including drummer Jim Keltner, guitarist David Spinozza (who played on Macca’s Ram album), pianist Ken Ascher, bassist Gordon Edwards, pedal-steel player ‘Sneaky’ Pete Kleinow, saxophonist Michael Brecker, drummer Rick Marotta (he played on only a couple of tracks), and backing vocalists Jocelyn Brown, Christine Wiltshire, Angel Coakely and Kathy Mull.

If you have bought the Imagine, Gimme Some Truth or Plastic Ono Band reissues you’ll have an idea what to expect from the Mind Games reissue. It’s “fully authorised” by Yoko Ono Lennon and produced by Sean Ono Lennon, who oversaw the creative direction. In terms of audio, everything has been completely remixed (from the original two-inch multi-track session tapes) and expanded for a deep listening experience both for stereo and immersive Dolby Atmos. Engineer Paul Hicks and mixers/engineers Sam Gannon and Rob Stevens were the team that worked on the audio.

The reissue, in deluxe set guise, at least, explores the album’s 1973 recording sessions at the Record Plant in New York City, from inception to the final master, through scores of unreleased outtakes, unadulterated versions, instrumentals, stripped down mixes, studio chatter and more, revealing how the songs evolved and came to life.

Yoko Ono Lennon says: “John was trying to convey the message that we all play mind games. But if we can play mind games, why not make a positive future with it – to be a positive mind game? ‘Mind Games’ is such an incredibly strong song. At the time, people didn’t quite get the message because this was before its time. Now, people would understand it. I don’t think in those days people knew they were playing mind games anyway.”

6CD + 2 x blu-ray deluxe edition (click to enlarge)

The 6CD+Blu-ray deluxe edition offers the now familiar different types of mixes across the six CDs. These are

• ULTIMATE MIXES – new stereo mixes created from high-definition 24/192 audio transfers of the original first-generation multitrack recordings (by Matthew Cocker at Abbey Road Studios) to create the best possible recreations of the originals.

• ELEMENTAL MIXES – Simpler stripped-back, lean-back arrangements, erring towards the acoustic, with John’s voice to the fore, and without drums.

• ELEMENTS MIXES – These highlight specific performances from the musicians, sometimes unheralded or unheard. These reduce the songs to the minimum amount of instruments possible; at most, only three instruments are heard at any one time. With the focus taken away from John’s vocal, the delicacy and nuance of these performers is allowed to shine through.

• EVOLUTION DOCUMENTARY – Mini audio documentaries that explore the development of each song from their very first demo state through to the fully formed master take via in-studio development, chat and out-takes. Edited down from the original 16-track multitrack tapes, demo cassettes and other source tapes.

• THE RAW STUDIO MIXES – These offer exactly what was recorded during the sessions. The songs have been mixed with minimum effects, tape delays or reverbs, recreating as close to possible what these performances sounded like, raw and live.

• THE OUT-TAKES – Having reviewed all the takes from the entire recording sessions, the best alternate take of every song on the album is presented. 

The two blu-rays in the deluxe set feature EVERYTHING on the six CDs in hi-res stereo, 5.1 and Dolby Atmos, so that is the Ultimate Mixes, Elemental Mixes, Elements Mixes, Evolution Documentary, Out-takes and Raw Studio Mixes. Additionally you get, 2024 remastered ‘Mind Games’ music video and ‘You Are Here’ (additional out-take) tape boxes video.

Additionally, the deluxe edition includes a 128-page hardback coffee table book that tells the story behind each of the songs and the making of the album in the words of John & Yoko’s (taken from hundreds of hours of archive interviews), and the words of those who worked alongside them. There’s exclusive never-before-seen photographs by Bob Gruen and photos, lyrics, letters, original tape boxes and memorabilia from the John Lennon & Yoko Ono Lennon Archives. There’s also a reproduction of the original triptych marketing poster for the album; postcard sized reproductions of artworks made for the marketing of the album in 1973 and an individually numbered Citizen of Nutopia ID Card.

There are also 2CD and 2LP editions of Mind Games, both of which combine ‘Ultimate Mixes’ on the first disc and ‘Outtakes’ on the second.

In a first for John Lennon reissues, a special, highly limited super deluxe edition limited to 1100 copies worldwide. Available via D2C / Universal Music channels only (e.g. The Sound of Vinyl in the UK), this is described as “a time capsule into John and Yoko’s world around the writing and recording of Mind Games, including the times leading up to and after its release in 1973. This eleborate package is presented in a 13-inch cube, a perspex reproduction of Yoko’s 1966 artwork ‘Danger Box’. Once lifted, four sides, featuring artwork from Mind Games on shiny mirror board, fall to reveal nine individual boxes of various shapes and sizes interlocked together, each with its own look and focus. Hidden throughout are many Easter Eggs, some of which can only be revealed by using other items in the box to see them, along other hidden secrets, surprises, puzzles, and ‘mind games’. The box is housed inside a striking 13” packing container cube adorned with custom art.

The super deluxe edition, with perspex cube removed (click to enlarge)

This super deluxe edition features everything in the deluxe (6CDs, 2 blu-rays) plus 7LPs (in four gatefold sleeves) featuring all the content on the six CDs. There’s also two Zoetrope vinyl LPs (which feature Ultimate Mixes + Outtakes) a hologram-engraved picture disc (seven-inch, we presume) that contains ‘Mind Games (Ultimate Mix)’ & ‘Meat City’ (Ultimate Mix). In the super deluxe you also get the bigger, deep-dive 288-page Thames & Hudson book which goes into more detail about the making of Mind Games (you still get the smaller book in the deluxe and the big book is available separately). On top of all that, it includes a Citizen of Nutopia box (various bits of memorabilia), a ‘You Are Here’ box (12-inch circular canvas reproduction of John Lennon’s artwork You Are Here, 1968 with a Certificate of Authenticity), an I-Ching box (three customized John & Yoko I-Ching coins, ultraviolet flashlight and Magic Magnet) and a Puzzle Tiles box (no further details!). This super deluxe box is £1350!

Mind Games is released on 19 July 2024 via UMR. Leave thoughts and comments below.

Tracklisting

Mind Games John Lennon /

    • CD 1: Ultimate Mixes
      1. Mind Games
      2. Tight A$
      3. Aisumasen (I’m Sorry)
      4. One Day (At A Time)
      5. Bring On The Lucie (Freeda Peeple)
      6. Nutopian International Anthem
      7. Intuition
      8. Out The Blue
      9. Only People
      10. I Know (I Know)
      11. You Are Here
      12. Meat City
    • CD 2: Elemental Mixes
      1. Mind Games (Elemental Mix)
      2. Tight A$ (Elemental Mix)
      3. Aisumasen (I’m Sorry) (Elemental Mix)
      4. One Day (At A Time) (Elemental Mix)
      5. Bring On The Lucie (Freeda Peeple) (Elemental Mix)
      6. Nutopian International Anthem (Elemental Mix)
      7. Intuition (Elemental Mix)
      8. Out The Blue (Elemental Mix)
      9. Only People (Elemental Mix)
      10. I Know (I Know) (Elemental Mix)
      11. You Are Here (Elemental Mix)
      12. Meat City (Elemental Mix)
    • CD 3: Elements Mixes
      1. Mind Games (Elements Mix)
      2. Tight A$ (Elements Mix)
      3. Aisumasen (I’m Sorry) (Elements Mix)
      4. One Day (At A Time) (Elements Mix)
      5. Bring On The Lucie (Freeda Peeple) (Elements Mix)
      6. Nutopian International Anthem (Elements Mix)
      7. Intuition (Elements Mix)
      8. Out The Blue (Elements Mix)
      9. Only People (Elements Mix)
      10. I Know (I Know) (Elements Mix)
      11. You Are Here (Elements Mix)
      12. Meat City (Elements Mix)
    • CD 4: Evolution Documentary
      1. Mind Games (Evolution Documentary)
      2. Tight A$ (Evolution Documentary)
      3. Aisumasen (I’m Sorry) (Evolution Documentary)
      4. One Day (At A Time) (Evolution Documentary)
      5. Bring On The Lucie (Freeda Peeple) (Evolution Documentary)
      6. Nutopian International Anthem (Evolution Documentary)
      7. Intuition (Evolution Documentary)
      8. Out The Blue (Evolution Documentary)
      9. Only People (Evolution Documentary)
      10. I Know (I Know) (Evolution Documentary)
      11. You Are Here (Evolution Documentary)
      12. Meat City (Evolution Documentary)
    • CD 5: The Raw Studio Mixes
      1. Mind Games (Raw Studio Mix)
      2. Tight A$ (Raw Studio Mix)
      3. Aisumasen (I’m Sorry) (Raw Studio Mix)
      4. One Day (At A Time) (Raw Studio Mix)
      5. Bring On The Lucie (Freeda Peeple) (Raw Studio Mix)
      6. Nutopian International Anthem (Raw Studio Mix)
      7. Intuition (Raw Studio Mix)
      8. Out The Blue (Raw Studio Mix)
      9. Only People (Raw Studio Mix)
      10. I Know (I Know) (Raw Studio Mix)
      11. You Are Here (Raw Studio Mix)
      12. Meat City (Raw Studio Mix)
    • CD 6: The Outtakes
      1. Mind Games (Out-take, Take 7)
      2. Tight A$ (Out-take, Take 6)
      3. Aisumasen (I’m Sorry) (Out-take, Take 2)
      4. One Day (At A Time) (Out-take, Take 18)
      5. Bring On The Lucie (Freeda Peeple) (Out-take, Take 15)
      6. Declaration Of Nutopia (Out-take, Take 1)
      7. Intuition (Out-take, Take 12)
      8. Out The Blue (Out-take, Take 15)
      9. Only People (Out-take, Take 12)
      10. I Know (I Know) (Out-take, Take 22)
      11. You Are Here (Out-take, Take 5)
      12. Meat City (Out-take, Take 16)
    • Blu-ray 1
      All audio in hi-res 24/192 Stereo24/192 5.1 Surround, and 24/48 Dolby Atmos
      The Ultimate Mixes
      1. Mind Games
      2. Tight A$
      3. Aisumasen (I’m Sorry)
      4. One Day (At A Time)
      5. Bring On The Lucie (Freeda Peeple)
      6. Nutopian International Anthem
      7. Intuition
      8. Out The Blue
      9. Only People
      10. I Know (I Know)
      11. You Are Here
      12. Meat City
      Elemental Mixes
      1. Mind Games (Elemental Mix)
      2. Tight A$ (Elemental Mix)
      3. Aisumasen (I’m Sorry) (Elemental Mix)
      4. One Day (At A Time) (Elemental Mix)
      5. Bring On The Lucie (Freeda Peeple) (Elemental Mix)
      6. Nutopian International Anthem (Elemental Mix)
      7. Intuition (Elemental Mix)
      8. Out The Blue (Elemental Mix)
      9. Only People (Elemental Mix)
      10. I Know (I Know) (Elemental Mix)
      11. You Are Here (Elemental Mix)
      12. Meat City (Elemental Mix)
      Elements Mixes
      1. Mind Games (Elements Mix)
      2. Tight A$ (Elements Mix)
      3. Aisumasen (I’m Sorry) (Elements Mix)
      4. One Day (At A Time) (Elements Mix)
      5. Bring On The Lucie (Freeda Peeple) (Elements Mix)
      6. Nutopian International Anthem (Elements Mix)
      7. Intuition (Elements Mix)
      8. Out The Blue (Elements Mix)
      9. Only People (Elements Mix)
      10. I Know (I Know) (Elements Mix)
      11. You Are Here (Elements Mix)
      12. Meat City (Elements Mix)

       

    • Blu-ray 2
      All audio in hi-res 24/192 Stereo24/192 5.1 Surround, and 24/48 Dolby Atmos
      Evolution Documentary
      1. Mind Games (Evolution Documentary)
      2. Tight A$ (Evolution Documentary)
      3. Aisumasen (I’m Sorry) (Evolution Documentary)
      4. One Day (At A Time) (Evolution Documentary)
      5. Bring On The Lucie (Freeda Peeple) (Evolution Documentary)
      6. Nutopian International Anthem (Evolution Documentary)
      7. Intuition (Evolution Documentary)
      8. Out The Blue (Evolution Documentary)
      9. Only People (Evolution Documentary)
      10. I Know (I Know) (Evolution Documentary)
      11. You Are Here (Evolution Documentary)
      12. Meat City (Evolution Documentary)
      The Raw Studio Mixes
      1. Mind Games (Raw Studio Mix)
      2. Tight A$ (Raw Studio Mix)
      3. Aisumasen (I’m Sorry) (Raw Studio Mix)
      4. One Day (At A Time) (Raw Studio Mix)
      5. Bring On The Lucie (Freeda Peeple) (Raw Studio Mix)
      6. Nutopian International Anthem (Raw Studio Mix)
      7. Intuition (Raw Studio Mix)
      8. Out The Blue (Raw Studio Mix)
      9. Only People (Raw Studio Mix)
      10. I Know (I Know) (Raw Studio Mix)
      11. You Are Here (Raw Studio Mix)
      12. Meat City (Raw Studio Mix)
      The Outtakes
      1. Mind Games (Out-take, Take 7)
      2. Tight A$ (Out-take, Take 6)
      3. Aisumasen (I’m Sorry) (Out-take, Take 2)
      4. One Day (At A Time) (Out-take, Take 18)
      5. Bring On The Lucie (Freeda Peeple) (Out-take, Take 15)
      6. Declaration Of Nutopia (Out-take, Take 9)
      7. Intuition (Out-take, Take 12)
      8. Out The Blue (Out-take, Take 15)
      9. Only People (Out-take, Take 12)
      10. I Know (I Know) (Out-take, Take 22)
      11. You Are Here (Out-take, Take 5)
      12. Meat City (Out-take, Take 16)
      Videos
      • 2024 Remastered ‘Mind Games’ music video
      • ‘You Are Here’ (additional out-take) tape boxes music video.

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