John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band: Shaved Fish (1975)

George loved God, Paul loved Linda, Ringo loved a good time and John loved a good fight. As Apple was sinking, they fired off a pair of parting shots from John and Ringo. Blast From Your Past was a blast all right, but Shaved Fish gave us food for thought. Just take a look at the cover: a naked, hooded woman attacked by lipstick missiles; a tearful John dressed as his mother; John with eight eyes, a face growing out of his head, a face disappearing in ever-present clouds. A mind unchained, an individual locked in the human condition, this was the enigma of John Lennon. The songs on Shaved Fish are nothing if not enigmatic. Enjoyable? Sure, some of the time. But more often uncomfortable. They played “A Dose of Rock ‘N’ Roll” on the radio, but they didn’t play “Mother” or “Cold Turkey” or “Woman Is The Nigger of the World.” That last song, incidentally, might be just about the best thing John has written since The Beatles, barring maybe “Instant Karma.” Of course, Shaved Fish is nothing more than holiday product released by a withering Apple. But it’s also the single best representation of John Lennon’s difficult muse up to this point. Unfortunately, it would be followed by five silent-as-snow years. Speaking of silence, to honor an old debt, here’s a look at what a 1972 Beatles album might have looked like: Hi Hi Hi / Woman is the Nigger of the World / Back Off Boogaloo / Give Ireland Back to the Irish / While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Live) / Wild Life / C Moon / John Sinclair / Here Comes the Sun (Live) / Happy Xmas (War Is Over). They don’t usually shake out as well as you’d think.

Original LP Version
A1. Medley: Give Peace A Chance (John Lennon/Paul McCratney) / Cold Turkey (5:58)
A2. Instant Karma! (3:12)
A3. Power To The People (3:07)
A4. Mother (5:06)
A5. Woman Is The Nigger of the World (John Lennon/Yoko Ono) (4:37)
B1. Imagine (3:01)
B2. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (3:04)
B3. Mind Games (4:12)
B4. #9 Dream (4:46)
B5. Medley: Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (Yoko Ono/John Lennon) / Give Peace A Chance (Reprise) (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) (4:18)

All songs written by John Lennon unless noted.

The Pictures
Illustrations by Michael Bryan. Art direction/design by Roy Kohara.

The Plastic
Released on elpee, cassette and 8-track on October 20, 1975 in the US and Canada (Apple, SW-3421), on October 24, 1975 in the UK (Apple, PCS/TC-PCS/8XPCS 7173), and in 1975 in Argentina (Apple, 9150), Australia (Apple/Parlophone, PCTC/TCPCTC-7173), Brazil (Apple, 31C 066 0598), France (Apple, 2C 066-05.987), Germany (Apple, 1C 062 05987), Japan (Apple, EAS-80380), Singapore (Music Girl, US 1296) and Yugoslavia (Jugoton, LSAP 73034) with lyrics innersleeve; reached #12 on the US charts (RIAA-certified platinum record) and #8 on the UK charts. Cassette version features cover variation.

  1. Re-issued on elpee and cassette in 1978 in the US and Canada (Capitol, SW/4XW-3421) with lyrics innersleeve {purple label}. US cassette features cover variation, Canadian version features same cover as elpee.
  2. Re-issued on elpee in 1983 in the US (Capitol, SW-3421) {black rainbow label} with lyrics innersleeve and in Germany (Amiga, 856 022).
  3. Re-issued on compact disc and cassette in 1987 in the UK (EMI, CDP 7 46642) and the US (Capitol, 46642-2/C4-46642). Cassette features cover variation.
  4. Re-issued on compact disc in 1988 in Japan (EMI, CP32-5453).
  5. Re-issued on compact disc in Japan (EMI/Toshiba, TOCP-65525).
  6. Re-released on 180g vinyl elpee in 2014 in the Czech Republic (Apple, 0600753511121).

1 thought on “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band: Shaved Fish (1975)

  1. I have “Imagine” playing right now. After all, it is Remembrance Day. I remember the old review of this one began, “Compared to the honeyfied Wings, or the soul food of George and Ringo’s table scraps, John Lennon’s music fed our brains.”

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