Geffen and UMe have announced a new deluxe reissue of John Lennon’s classic solo album, Imagine, almost fifty years after its initial release, providing listeners with an intimate look into Lennon’s whole musical process, from recording to mastering.
Notably, the set includes a never-before-heard demo of the record’s title track.
The 140-track Imagine – The Ultimate Collection will be spread over four CDs and two BluRay discs and will feature rare outtakes, previously unheard demos and isolated track elements.
Yoko Ono Lennon oversaw the entire production, including creative direction. In the collection’s accompanying 120-page book, engineer Paul Hicks shared:
“Yoko was very keen that these Ultimate Mixes should achieve three things – to be totally faithful and respectful to the originals, be generally sonically clearer overall and should increase the clarity of John’s vocals. It’s about John’ she said. And she was right. His voice brings the biggest emotional impact to the album.”
The original Imagine, remixed in stereo sound, will be featured on disc one along with additional singles and extras. Disc two will feature outtakes from the record, and will also contain four tracks known as Elements Mixes: string-only renditions of Imagine and How?, a vocals-only version of Oh My Love, and an instrumental take on Jealous Guy.
Disc three is filled with raw studio mixes, helmed by engineer Rob Stevens and recorded live at Ascot Sound Studios in Lennon and Yoko’s Tittenhurst home. The tracks are without any production effects and will be presented in 5.1 surround sound that “puts the listener in the centre of Ascot Sound Studios with Lennon in front and the band playing all around and behind.”
The fourth CD contains The Evolution Documentary, engineered in mono by Sam Gannon. The audio documentary follows the journey of each individual Imagine track “from demo to master take via instructions, rehearsals, recordings, multitrack exploration, and studio chatter.”
The BluRay discs include Hick’s mix of the original album and its singles, an updated Quadrasonic mix, Imagine in surround sound and stereo, outtakes, and the Element Mixes. It also features a 29-minute tribute from DJ/longtime Lennon family friend Elliot Mintz that includes interviews with Lennon and Ono.
In addition to the box set, the new mixes of Imagine will be made available as a two-CD deluxe edition, a single-CD remaster, a double-LP black vinyl, and a limited-edition double-LP clear vinyl.
Here is a preview of the never-before-heard demo of Imagine, featuring just Lennon and his piano:
You can preorder the new Imagine box set here.