Probably not in the first tier of records proggers would select for the popular "Classic Albums" series, John Lennon's 1970 solo debut, Plastic Ono Band, nevertheless deserves the attention of nostalgic music fans. You know who you are: you long for a time when records revealed an artist's raw and fragile psyche, often to harrowing effect; when a lyric that included "fuckin' crazy" (as did "Working Class Hero") set the world ablaze with controversy; when the eye of the camera lingered on performers during live footage; and when proclamations such as "I don't believe in Beatles" ("God") and "Mother, you had me but I never had you" ("Mother") were met with shock as much as empathy.
Indeed, Plastic Ono Band -- from the inception of its strange name, through the divisive role Yoko Ono played and the album's legacy in 2008 –- is covered in this intriguing installment of the heralded "Classic Albums" series. Packed with rare archival footage and still photographs, detailed analysis and exclusive interviews with Ono, Plastic Ono Band's other musicians (Beatles drummer Ringo Starr and bassist Klaus Voorman), Lennon's primal therapist Dr. Arthur Janov, Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner and Abbey Road engineers, this doc makes a case for why the album -– alternately brutally beautiful and perversely possessed –- deserves "classic" status. As has become the series' custom, tracks are broken down in the studio, with Lennon's screams isolated and his lyrics dissected, while engineers Phil McDonald and Richard Lush even turn up the volume on a barely audible comment from Ono that snuck into the final mix. Although not as structured as other installments in this series, this one includes more than 35 minutes of additional bonus material for greater clarity and context. Nearly 40 years on, Plastic Ono Band still merits discovery, or rediscovery.