John Lennon was nothing if not honest. He was always forthright with his opinions of other people’s music. He was also forthright in his opinions of his own work.
John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band is often considered one of John’s classic albums. It set the tone for the rest of his career. Despite the acclaim his album received, John had some mixed views on it. Ringo Starr, however, had a different assessment of the album.
John Lennon’s oscillating views on ‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’
In 1971, John was interviewed by Jann S. Wenner of Rolling Stone. They discussed numerous topics. John often had critical words for other musicians. He also had some critical words for himself when Wenner asked him if he was embarrassed by John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band because it was such an honest album.
John replied “I get embarrassed. You see, sometimes I can hear it and be embarrassed just by the performance of either the music or the statements, and sometimes I don’t. I change daily, you know. Like just before it’s coming out, I can’t bear to hear it in the house or play it anywhere, but a few months before that, I can play it all the time. It just changes all the time.”
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John discussed how his perception of music could change significantly in a short span of time. “Sometimes I used to listen to something, Buddy Holly or something, and one day the record will sound twice as fast as the next day. Did you ever experience that on a single? I used to have that: one day “Hound Dog” would sound very slow and one day it would sound very fast. It was just my feeling towards it.”
What Ringo Starr thought of the album
In addition, John felt two songs from the album — “Hold On John” and “Isolation” — were not as good as he would have liked. It would appear John didn’t have a solid opinion on the album if his feelings on it could change drastically from day to day. However, one of the other musicians who worked on the album had a solid opinion of it: Ringo Starr. According to NME, Ringo described making John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band as a highlight of his career.
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Ringo described working with John on the album as something akin to a jam session. He felt that, because he knew John, the two of them were very in sync with each other when they made the album. Ringo applauded John’s honesty on John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and liked how John would scream and shout on the album.
John’s view of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band was sometimes positive and sometimes negative. Ringo, who also worked on the album, had a much more positive view of the album. It’s fascinating how two great musicians could have two very different perceptions of one collection of songs.
Also see: Were John Lennon & Yoko Ono Going to Play Jesus & Mary Magdalene?