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John Lennon’s Imagine reissued as comprehensive six-disc box set

4CD+2x blu-ray box set • 135-tracks • New 5.1 surround • Vintage Quad mix • track-by-track ‘audio montages’ • Raw Studio Mixes

John Lennon / Imagine reissue 5 october 2018


In October, Universal Music will reissue John Lennon‘s 1971 Imagine album across a number of physical formats as Imagine – The Ultimate Collection. The most exciting of these is a new six-disc (four CDs and two blu-ray audio discs) super deluxe edition box set that is ‘remixed and remastered’ and contains all manner of outtakes, sessions, demos, alternate takes, surround mixes, and more. 135 tracks in total.

Fully authorised by Yoko Ono Lennon (who oversaw the production and creative direction), this set offers a variety of “immersive and intimate” listening experiences including what are being called the ‘Ultimate Mixes‘ of the album which promise amazing definition and clarity to ‘Raw Studio Mixes‘ which allow fans to her original stripped back performances to new 5.1 surround mixes and the old Quad Mix which is available for the first time in over 45 years.

Imagine – The Ultimate Edition features four CDs, two blu-ray audios and a book


Of particular interest is ‘The Evolution Documentary’, which is describe as a ‘track-by-track audio montage’ that takes you through the development of each song from demo to master recording via “instructions, rehearsals, recordings, multitrack exploration and studio chatter.”

Fans might observe from the detailed track listings below, the fact that a remastered version of the original album mix is not present anywhere and neither is the ten-track album ‘alone’ on a disc at any point (CD 1 appends some bonus single A-sides and B-sides). The good news is that the two blu-ray discs appear to include EVERYTHING on the four CDs AND MORE. For example, there are only four ‘Elements’ mixes of tracks from Imagine on CD 2 of this box set, but six more (i.e. all the other album tracks) make an appearance on the second blu-ray disc. Likewise, what promises to be very interesting ‘Evolution’ mixes go beyond the just the album on blu-ray with bonus extra evolution mixes, including ‘Power To The People’, ‘Do The Oz’, ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ and one called ‘Tittenhurst Park’.

The original Quad tape boxes


The blu-ray discs contain a hi-res stereo and 5.1 surround sound version of the new remix of Imagine, and the 10 album tracks in the original Quad Mix.  The press release talks of 35 tracks in 5.1 surround sound, which means 25 of the singles, outtakes and remixes are also available in surround sound, although the track listing contradicts that slightly and suggests nearly all the content on the blu-rays has been remixed for 5.1. I’d suggest at this point that that may not be accurate and the 35 figure is more likely.

All audio has been remixed by engineer Paul Hicks at Abbey Road Studios under the supervision of Yoko Ono Lennon. He used high-definition 24-96 audio transfers of the original first generation multi-track recordings.

Talking about the remixes Hicks had the following to say:

“Phil Spector generally tended to record instruments directly onto the tape with all the reverb effects included (as was the case with George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass album). For the Imagine recordings, John & Yoko deliberately had all the tracks recorded dry. This made the album easier to remix with greater sonic clarity, because we had so much more individual control over each track. ‘Soldier’ has a big soup-y reverb all over it, but ‘Crippled Inside’ is really dry and raw. And that’s the beauty of John & Yoko’s collaboration with Phil Spector.

In 1971, before they recorded the strings in New York, John, Yoko and Phil did a stereo mix at Ascot Sound Studios, and having that original mix without strings helped in matching the new mixes to the originals. Using that as a starting point, we expanded it out as far as it felt it needed to go – in most cases, it was vocal work.

On the original Imagine album, the strings were all mixed down to mono.

In the new Ultimate Remixes, the strings are mixed in surround sound or in stereo – which also helps retain the focus on John. When you add the strings, it really takes the overall sound up to a whole new level. In the 5.1 Surround Sound mixes, John’s voice mainly comes straight out of the centre speaker, so you really connect with him, especially on the ballads.”




The super deluxe edition of Imagine surely exceeds the expectations of the majority of Lennon fans and will, by some margin, be the deepest exploration of an ex-Beatle’s solo work to date. A two-CD deluxe edition, a 2LP black vinyl (and limited clear vinyl) and a single CD remaster will also be available. The double vinyl has a selection of 12 outtakes on the second record.

Don’t forget, that the Imagine and Gimme Some Truth films have been hand-restored frame-by-frame from the original film reels into HD, and their soundtracks have been remixed in 5.1 surround sound, and remastered. They will also be released (together) on blu-ray and DVD in October. The Imagine film is also being shown theatrically.

In terms of the box set pricing, for USA fans (or anyone outside the EU) the price comes down to £67 with VAT deducted, with only £3 for tracked shipping to the US! That’s something like $90 all in!

Imagine will reissued on 5 October 2018.

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Paul Hicks’ insight into The Ultimate Mixes Outtakes:

The Ultimate Mixes Out-takes are mixed with a balance and EQ more akin to the original album mixes, with a little bit of additional effects – in the style of a ‘rough listening mix’ that John & Yoko and Phil Spector would have used to play them back at Ascot Sound Studios.

Imagine (demo)
Recorded four days before the master take on 23 May 1971, it’s a bit looser and covered in reverb, but it’s fully formed and beautifully raw with a little bluesy ending.

Imagine (take 1)
With the addition of John Tout on vibes, John Barham on harmonium and Nicky Hopkins on electric piano, and without the orchestral strings. John’s piano and vocal are both fully formed.

Crippled Inside (take 6 alt guitar solo)
The same take as the album master, with a different Dobro solo by George Harrison.

Jealous Guy (take 9)
Halfway to the final version (which was take 29) comes this beauty with Joey Molland and Tom Evans from Badfinger on acoustic guitars.

It’s So Hard (take 6)
Before the overdubs with John’s piano and King Curtis’ saxophones, this raw and rocking version has John on electric guitar and vocals, Jim Gordon on drums and Klaus Voormann on bass, much less reverb, and includes a little guitar solo from John.

I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 11)
Away from the deep soup-y reverb of the album version, this much earlier recording from 16 February 1971 features Bobby Keys on saxophone with a looser, more reggae feel.

Gimme Some Truth (take 4)
An earlier incarnation of take 4 before the overdubs – the guide vocal is less swamped in reverb, there’s no guitar solo, no electric harpsichord and no bass overdubs yet, but the song still has plenty of bite.

Oh My Love (take 6)
In this charming early and ‘un-produced’ take, the musicians are still perfecting the technical accuracy within the simplicity of their playing and John’s vocal has a palpable vulnerability.

How Do You Sleep? (takes 1 & 2)
A little funkier and with more improvisation from Nicky Hopkins on electric piano and George Harrison on electric guitar, this early combination of the two takes has a wonderful ‘live’ feel.

How? (take 31)
Three-quarters of the way to the final take 40, this was the last take to use John Tout’s vibes, which were eventually replaced by strings, and acoustic guitars played by Rod Lynton and Andy Davis.

Oh Yoko! (Bahamas 1969)
Discovered within the footage from John & Yoko’s Bed Peace movie, this is from the day they spent in the Bahamas on the way to Toronto and ultimately Montreal for their famous Bed-In for Peace. John & Yoko are playing the song to an obviously delighted Derek Taylor, their friend and publicist.

Power To The People (take 7)
This version relies heavily on John’s repetitive piano riff (eventually covered over by the choir) with strong vocals from John and sax by Bobby Keys.

God Save Us (demo)
John sent this demo to the Oz office so they could learn and write the words.

Do The Oz (take 3)
Michael Ramsden apes John’s guide vocal, with fantastic screams and vocal gymnastics from a duetting Yoko.

Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (Alt Mix)
John & Yoko duet in a stripped-back acoustic singalong mix of the master take, this time without the orchestra, choir and other Phil Spector production flourishes.


Imagine – The Ultimate Edition: 6-disc Super Deluxe Edition

Disc: 1 

Remixed Stereo Album

1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!

Remixed Singles and Extras

11. Power To The People
12. Well… (Baby Please Don’t Go)
13. God Save Us
14. Do The Oz
15. God Save Oz
16. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

Disc: 2 

Elements Mixes

1. Imagine (strings only)
2. Jealous Guy (piano, bass & drums)
3. Oh My Love (vocals only)
4. How? (strings only)

Album Outtakes

5. Imagine (demo)
6. Imagine (take 1)
7. Crippled Inside (take 3)
8. Crippled Inside (take 6 – alt guitar solo)
9. Jealous Guy (take 9)
10. It’s So Hard (take 6)
11. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 11)
12. Gimme Some Truth (take 4)
13. Oh My Love (take 6)
14. How Do You Sleep? (takes 1 & 2)
15. How? (take 31)
16. Oh Yoko! (Bahamas 1969)

Singles Outtakes

17. Power To The People (take 7)
18. God Save Us (demo)
19. Do The Oz (take 3)
20. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (alt mix)

Disc: 3 

Extended Album Tracks and Raw

1. Imagine (take 10)
2. Crippled Inside (take 6)
3. Jealous Guy (take 29)
4. It’s So Hard (take 11)
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth (take 4 – extended)
7. Oh My Love (take 20)
8. How Do You Sleep? (take 11 – extended)
9. How? (take 40)
10. Oh Yoko! (take 1 extended)

Outtakes Live

11. Imagine (take 1)
12. Jealous Guy (take 11)
13. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 21)
14. How Do You Sleep? (take 1)
15. How Do You Sleep? (takes 5 & 6)

Disc: 4

Evolution (from demo to final mix)

1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!

Disc 5 – Blu-ray audio #1:

Remixed Stereo Album, Singles, Extras, 5.1., Quadrasonic & Outtakes

1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!
11. Power To The People
12. Well… (Baby Please Don’t Go)
13. God Save Us
14. Do The Oz
15. God Save Oz
16. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
17. Imagine (Quadrasonic Mix)
18. Crippled Inside (Quadrasonic Mix)
19. Jealous Guy (Quadrasonic Mix)
20. It’s So Hard (Quadrasonic Mix)
21. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (Quadrasonic Mix)
22. Gimme Some Truth (Quadrasonic Mix)
23. Oh My Love (Quadrasonic Mix)
24. How Do You Sleep? (Quadrasonic Mix)
25. How? (Quadrasonic Mix)
26. Oh Yoko! (Quadrasonic Mix)
27. Imagine (demo)
28. Imagine (take 1)
29. Crippled Inside (take 3)
30. Crippled Inside (take 6 alt guitar solo)
31. Jealous Guy (take 9)
32. It’s So Hard (take 6)
33. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 11)
34. Gimme Some Truth (take 4)
35. Oh My Love (take 6)
36. How Do You Sleep? (takes 1 & 2)
37. How? (take 31)
38. Oh Yoko! (Bahamas 1969)
39. Power To The People (take 7)
40. God Save Us (demo)
41. Do The Oz (take 3)
42. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (alt mix)

Blu-ray Disc 1 – Imagine – The Ultimate Mixes 
Remixed Stereo Album, Singles, Extras & Outtakes 

Imagine – The Album
Remix in 5.1 & Stereo 24-96
1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!

Singles & Extras
Remix in 5.1 & Stereo 24-96
1. Power To The People
2. Well… (Baby Please Don’t Go)
3. God Save Us (Bill Elliot vocal)
4. Do The Oz
5. God Save Oz (John Lennon vocal)
6. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

The Out-takes
New Mix in 5.1 & Stereo 24-96

1. Imagine (demo)
2. Imagine (take 1)
3. Crippled Inside (take 3)
4. Crippled Inside (take 6 alt guitar solo)
5. Jealous Guy (take 9)
6. It’s So Hard (take 6)
7. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 11)
8. Gimme Some Truth (take 4)
9. Oh My Love (take 6)
10. How Do You Sleep? (takes 1 & 2)
11. How? (take 31)
12. Oh Yoko! (Bahamas 1969)
13. Power To The People (take 7)
14. God Save Us (demo)
15. Do The Oz (take 3)
16. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (alt mix)

The Quadrasonic Mixes
Remastered in Quad 4.0 24-96
Original 1971 Quadsonic Album Remastered

1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!

Blu-ray Disc 2 – In The Studio and Deeper Listening

The Raw Studio Mixes – Extended Album Versions – Live
New Mix in 5.1 & Stereo 24-96
Experience, in immersive Surround Sound, the moment John and The Plastic Ono Band record each song live, from a sonic soundstage at the center of Ascot Sound Studios at John & Yoko’s home in Tittenhurst

1. Imagine (take 10)
2. Crippled Inside (take 6)
3. Jealous Guy (take 29)
4. It’s So Hard (take 11)
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 4 – extended)
6. Gimme Some Truth (take 4 – extended)
7. Oh My Love (take 20)
8. How Do You Sleep? (take 11 – extended)
9. How? (take 40)
10. Oh Yoko! (take 1 – extended)

The Raw Studio Mixes – Out-takes – Live
New Mix in 5.1 & Stereo 24-96
1. Imagine (take 1)
2. Crippled Inside (take 2)
3. Crippled Inside (take 6 alt guitar solo)
4. Jealous Guy (take 11)
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 21)
6. How Do You Sleep? (take 1)
7. How Do You Sleep? (takes 5 & 6)
8. How? (takes 7-10)
9. How? (take 40 alt vocal)
10. Oh Yoko! (take 1 tracking vocal)

The Elements Mixes
From the Master Multitracks

New Mix in 5.1 & Stereo 24-96
Mixes from elements of the original multitracks that demonstrate some of the instrumentations from ‘behind the scenes’

1. Imagine (strings)
2. Crippled Inside (upright bass & drums)
3. Jealous Guy (piano, bass & drums)
4. It’s So Hard (strings)
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (guitar, bass & drums)
6. Gimme Some Truth (electric piano & guitar)
7. Oh My Love (vocals)
8. How Do You Sleep? (strings)
9. How? (strings)
10. Oh Yoko! (acoustic)

The Evolution Documentary
New Mix in Mono 24-96
The story of the songs from demo to master in rehearsals, studio chat and mixed multitrack elements

1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!
11. Power To The People
12. Well… (Baby Please Don’t Go)
13. God Save Us/God Save Oz
14. Do The Oz
15. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
16. Tittenhurst Park

Imagine John & Yoko – The Elliot Mintz Interviews
New Mix in Mono 24-96
Tribute by DJ and family friend Elliot Mintz featuring revealing, philosophical, honest and humorous interviews with John & Yoko.

Imagine – 2LP vinyl

LP 1 – Imagine 2018 remix

1 Imagine
2 Crippled Inside
3 Jealous Guy
4 It’s So Hard
5 I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6 Gimme Some Truth
7 Oh My Love
8 How Do You Sleep?
9 How?
10 Oh Yoko!

LP 2 – Outtakes

1 Imagine (Original demo recorded at Ascot)
2 Imagine (Take 1)
3 Crippled Inside (Take 3)
4 Crippled Inside (Take 6 alternate guitar solo)
5 Jealous Guy (Take 9)
6 It’s So Hard (Take 6)
7 I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier (Take 25)
8 Gimme Some Truth (Take 4)
9 Oh My Love (Take 6)
10 How Do You Sleep? (Takes 1 & 2)
11 How? (Take 31)
12 Oh Yoko! (from Bed Peace footage – Sheraton Hotel, Bahamas 1969)

Imagine – The Ultimate Edition: 2CD Deluxe Edition

Disc: 1 

Remixed Stereo Album

1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!

Remixed Singles and Extras

11. Power To The People
12. Well… (Baby Please Don’t Go)
13. God Save Us
14. Do The Oz
15. God Save Oz
16. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

Disc: 2 

Elements Mixes

1. Imagine (strings only)
2. Jealous Guy (piano, bass & drums)
3. Oh My Love (vocals only)
4. How? (strings only)

Album Outtakes

5. Imagine (demo)
6. Imagine (take 1)
7. Crippled Inside (take 3)
8. Crippled Inside (take 6 – alt guitar solo)
9. Jealous Guy (take 9)
10. It’s So Hard (take 6)
11. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 11)
12. Gimme Some Truth (take 4)
13. Oh My Love (take 6)
14. How Do You Sleep? (takes 1 & 2)
15. How? (take 31)
16. Oh Yoko! (Bahamas 1969)

Singles Outtakes

17. Power To The People (take 7)
18. God Save Us (demo)
19. Do The Oz (take 3)
20. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (alt mix)



Imagine – The Ultimate Edition: single CD

Remixed Stereo Album

1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!

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