The Globe and Mail interviewed Yoko recently, and touched on (among other topics) the soon-to-be-released box set Gimme Some Truth; John's classic voice; and what we gain by recognizing the ex-Beatle's 70th birthday with such honorific hoopla.
When producer Jack Douglas was presented with the Double Fantasy demos, he thought they were so intimate that he didn’t think he could add anything to them. Does the stripped version of the album now being released get back to that original intimacy?
Definitely, definitely. All three of us were producers back then. I was the one who always wanted to put John’s voice a little bit stronger in the mix. This stripped down version of Double Fantasy was closer to John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. On that one and others, like Mind Games, his voice was really up front.
He was insecure about his voice though, wasn’t he?
I know. But his voice was good without anything. His voice was, or is – it doesn’t need to be in the past tense, because he’s still here – one of the most unique and strong and powerful voices in the rock world. His voice was the most precious thing we had in making an album.
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Of all that John doubted about himself, his voice was perhaps least deserving of attention: Mr. Lennon could sing. He could do soulful; he could do snide; he could do raucous; and he could do reflective. Here's how I previously described that potent weapon of his: "He has one of pop's most natural, vivid, and mysterious voices." I feel very secure in this opinion, and I was glad to see Yoko impart such high praise as well. (I know: what else would you expect?) John may have been outdone by Paul in terms of musicianship and songwriting ease, but the man who sang "Twist and Shout," "In My Life," and (a personal favorite) "Real Love" was the best vocalist The Beatles had and simply one of the greatest ever.