Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon
First Appeared in The Music Box, June 1996, Volume 3, #4
Written by John Metzger
Working Class Hero is an odd little collection of John Lennon's solo tunes, performed by a hodgepodge of artists. Some of the versions work, others don't. Let's face it, it's tough act to beat. The album kicks off with the Red Hot Chili Peppers' version of I Found Out. With its blaring feedback and funky bass lines, it fits the group's style quite well. On the other hand, Pearl Jam's Mike McCready leads Mad Season through a version of I Don't Wanna Be a Soldier, but while it is a nice attempt, it also lacks the conviction of the original. Blues Traveler does an improbably fantastic job with Imagine. In fact, its version is as powerful as the original, and the band makes it their own with Popper's soaring harmonica and emotional vocals. Screaming Trees manages to do the same with the title track, and the result is haunting. Even better is George Clinton's reinvention of Mind Games. As the liner notes state, "Hopefully this album will inspire those who haven't heard the original tracks to go back and listen and see for yourselves how much of modern music is influenced by John Lennon." Amen.
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1996 The Music Box