Brandy Alexanders And The Wall Of Sound

John Lennon




VT - 235 / 237



   Special Features

Comes with a 40 page booklet and a slipcase-style box.

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Box front  

Booklet front  

Box back  

Disc Variations:

CD (Japan Only)

"Silver" CDR

CDs 1 & 2 are reddish orange, while CD 3 is more of a dark pink.

The Booklet:

The booklet included with this title features the following information:

- Liner notes by the folks at Vigotone (reproduced below)
- Rock 'n' Roll Song By Song - By Chris Ingham - from Mojo Special Edition Winter 2000 (reproduced below)

- Phil Spector on the Rock 'n' Roll sessions (reproduced below)
- The Making Of John Lennon's Rock 'n' Roll Album - from May Pang's book (not reproduced)


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20 Tracks - Total Time: 69:35

John Lennon Sings The Great Rock & Roll Hits - Roots

Adam VIII (A8018) available by mail-order February / March 1975

1. Be-Bop-A-Lula   (2:40)
2. Ain't That A Shame   (2:41)
3. Stand By Me   (3:34)
4. Sweet Little Sixteen   (3:06)
5. Rip It Up / Ready Teddy   (1:36)
6. Angel Baby   (3:11)
7. Do You Want To Dance   (3:08)
8. You Can't Catch Me   (4:11)
9. Bony Moronie   (3:55)
10. Peggy Sue   (2:07)
11. Medley: a) Bring It On Home To Me  b) Send Me Some Loving    (3:43)
12. Slippin' And Slidin'   (2:23)
13. Be My Baby   (4:38)
14. Ya Ya   (2:21)
15. Just Because   (4:29)

With Elton John

rehearsal Record Plant, East New York 11/24/74

16. I Saw Her Standing There   (3:22)

Madison Square Garden 11/28/74

17. Whatever Gets You Through The Night   (4:50)
18. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds   (6:15)
19. I Saw Her Standing There   (3:32)

B-side of Elton John 45 "Philadelphia Freedom" released 2/75

20. I Saw Her Standing There   (3:53)


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22 Tracks - Total Time: 70:39

Rough Mixes

from the Spector sessions

1. Be My Baby   (6:17)
2. Just Because   (6:09)

from the Lennon sessions

3. You Can't Catch Me   (4:01)
4. Sweet Little Sixteen   (4:38)
5. Bony Moronie   (3:57)
6. Medley: a) Rip It Up   b) Ready Teddy   (1:35)
7. Ain't That A Shame   (2:34)
8. Peggy Sue   (2:06)
9. Be My Baby   (5:47)

Offline Rough Mixes

from the Lennon sessions

10. Stand By Me / Be-Bop-A-Lula   (2:43)
11. Ya Ya   (2:30)
12. Do You Want To Dance   (0:20)
13. Do You Want To Dance   (3:35)
14. Stand By Me   (3:58)
15. Slippin' And Slidin'   (2:24)
16. Medley: a) Rip It Up   b) Ready Teddy   (1:39)
17. Medley: a) Bring It On Home To Me  b) Send Me Some Loving    (2:06)
18. Medley: a) Bring It On Home To Me  b) Send Me Some Loving    (3:43)
19. Peggy Sue   (2:08)
20. Ain't That A Shame   (2:50)
21. Stand By Me   (0:53)
22. Radio Spot   (1:06)

Unlisted Bonus Track

23. Too Many Cooks (Spoil The Soup)   (w/Mick Jagger vocal)   (3:40)


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32 Tracks - Total Time: 71:22

"Sunnyview" Rehearsals

Ghent, New York - October 1974

1. Medley: a) Bring It On Home To Me  b) Send Me Some Loving    (3:46)
2. Ya Ya   (0:19)
3. Ya Ya  (2:26)
4. That'll Be The Day   (0:09)
5. That'll Be The Day   (2:23)
6. Do You Want To Dance   (3:29)
7. Stand By Me   (3:41)
8. Peggy Sue   (2:13)
9. Be-Bop-A-Lula   (1:58)
10. Slippin' And Slidin'   (1:56)
11. Instrumental   (2:01)
12. Thirty Days   (1:29)
13. C'mon Everybody   (2:16)
14. Ain't That A Shame   (0:28)
15. Ain't That A Shame   (1:54)
16. Ain't That A Shame   (0:18)
17. Ain't That A Shame   (1:16)
18. Instrumental   (0:11)
19. Instrumental   (0:38)

Salute To Sir Lew The Master Showman

Waldorf Astoria - New York - Taped 4/18/75

Audience recording

20. Slippin' And Slidin'   (2:34)
21. Stand By Me   (3:39)
22. Imagine   (3:03)

Broadcast versions

23. Slippin' And Slidin'   (2:22)
24. Imagine   (3:10)

Commercial version

25. Imagine   (3:15)

The Old Grey Whistle Test

Promos for the BBC filmed at the Record Plant East New York - March 1975

stereo mix

26. Stand By Me   (4:10)

instrumental backing

27. Slippin' And Slidin'   (1:36)

take two

28. Stand By Me   (4:25)

raw version with count-in

29. Slippin' And Slidin'   (2:27)

broadcast versions

30. Stand By Me   (3:55)
31. Slippin' And Slidin'   (2:28)

interview by Jean-Francois Vallee 4/7/75 for French TV

32. Lady Marmalade   (1:27)


Box Back Text:

"You Should'a Been There"?  With Brandy Alexanders and the Wall Of Sound, you are there!
This three-CD set brings into focus for the first time John Lennon's legendary Rock 'N' Roll sessions, both with and without producer Phil Spector.  A document of a troubled time in John's life, this collection shows both the peaks and valleys in an extraordinary year and a half of work from October 1973 (when the project began) until February 1975 (when the album was finally issued).  Highlights include several tracking sessions, rehearsals and live performances from the era, creating a fully rounded audio picture.  Also included in its entirety is the Adam VIII Roots LP in its finest quality to date.


Liner Notes:

Let's Rock!
Following in the tradition of Vigotone's earlier Lennon projects focusing on the recording histories of his solo albums, such as The Dream Is Over,
Imagine All The Outtakes and Imagine More Session Tapes, Absolute Elsewhere, and Listen To This!, Brandy Alexanders and the Wall Of Sound brings into focus for the first time John Lennon's legendary Rock 'n' Roll sessions.  A document of a troubled time in John's life, this collection shows both the peaks and valleys in an extraordinary year and a half of work from October 1973 (when the project began) until February 1975 (when the album was finally issued).

During the months of this period, John was living in Los Angeles, away from his wife and living the "high life".  Work was secondary to having a good time during this "Lost Weekend", and even though the L.A. sessions for what was to become Rock 'n' Roll began with the best intentions (Phil Spector as producer, John as vocalist, just like the old days of Philles Records), they soon degenerated into a drink and drug-infested debacle.  Then the sessions abruptly discontinued when Spector was involved in a car accident and John was left holding the bag that held no finished tapes.  In the interim, John moved back to New York and recorded Pussy Cats with Harry Nilsson and another LP of his own, Walls And Bridges, which utilized the artwork that had been prepared for Rock 'n' Roll.

John finally got the Spector tapes back in late 1974 and was astonished to hear the discordant and sluggish performances and production.  Not wanting to leave a project unfinished, however, he quickly booked more studio time at Record Plant New York and whipped up some more oldies to accompany the four usable Spector tracks.  The results were initially released as the result of a "misunderstanding" between Adam VIII owner (and well-known rock and roll ripoff artist) Morris Levy and John that was the result of John giving Levy a 7 1/2 ips tape of rough mixes of the material considered for Rock 'n' Roll.  Levy believed that there was an "arrangement" to releases the material on Levy's label to get John off the hook for legalities resulting from John's appropriation of lyrics for "Come Together" from Levy-owned Chuck Berry composition "You Can't Catch Me".  This of course was not the case, and when Capitol / EMI learned of the existence of Roots - John Lennon Sings The Great Rock & Roll Hits (TV advertisements for which began appearing in early 1975), a rush-release of the original Rock 'n' Roll LP, with two fewer tracks than the Adam VIII package and some different fades on the remaining songs, was scheduled for February 1975.  Roots was quickly pulled off the market, Rock 'n' Roll was a moderate chart success, and another round of legal battles began.  It was the last music that the public heard from John until 1980.

Which brings us to the package you are holding now.  On its three CD's Brandy Alexanders and the Wall Of Sound includes rehearsals and several tracking and mixing dates from all the sessions.  Also included in its entirety is the Roots LP in its finest quality to date.  To top it off, live performances from this era (including his November 1974 appearance with Elton John from an electrifying audience tape and the 1975 Salute To Sir Lew Grade performance in both unsweetened and sweetened versions), the video session for "Stand By Me" and "Slippin' And Slidin'" and other contemporary odds and ends create a fully rounded audio picture of this hectic era in the professional life of John Lennon.

Brother Julius

February 2001

  The booklet includes a section called "The Making of John Lennon's Rock 'n' Roll Album".  This was "adapted" (stolen) from the book Loving John (aka John Lennon: The Lost Weekend) by May Pang and Henry Edwards.  I've chosen not to type this section out (it's really long!), so if you want to read it, buy the book!

Next up in the booklet is this article that was "borrowed" from the pages of Mojo magazine:

Rock 'n' Roll Song By Song - By Chris Ingham - reprinted from Mojo Special Edition Winter 2000:

Apple album, released February 1975   Produced by John Lennon / John Lennon and Phil Spector

John Lennon (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Jose Feliciano (guitar), Steve Cropper (guitar), Leon Russell (keyboards), Bobby Keys, Frank Vicari, Dennis Morouse, Joe Temperley, Nino Tempo (saxophones), Jesse Ed Davis (guitar), Jim Keltner (drums), Kenny Ascher (keyboards), Hal Blaine (drums), Peter Jameson (guitar), Arthur Jenkins (percussion), Eddie Mottau (guitar), Klaus Voormann (bass)

The resurrection of this aborted 1973 project was partly fuelled by Lennon’s continuing obligation to Morris Levy - who’d release an unauthorized version of this LP, Roots. Dissatisfied with the Spector-produced cuts from that first attempt, Lennon recorded the remainder of this album a year later in four days. Opening with an amiable reading of Be Bop A Lula that doesn’t attempt to match the agitated dynamics (no breaks, no panting) of Gene Vincent’s version, it features efficiently faithful guitar solos and the Lennon vocal effect escalating into parodic proportions.
Stand By Me
This raw, heartfelt version of Ben E. King/Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller classic provides one of the more vivid moments on the Rock ‘n’ Roll sessions. One of the cuts Lennon and his musicians rattled off a year after the abortive, elephantine Spector-produced sessions, it mushrooms from pious organ chords and purposeful, choppily off-beat rhythm guitar into a saturated slab of monolithic saxophones and overdriven drums.
     Most of the other Rock ‘n’ Roll performances were so seemingly perfunctory that Lennon never got the setting to dig in and emote, as he did on Beatles covers like Twist And Shout, or his superb rendition of You Really Got A Hold On Me. This approaches those halcyon days, as Lennon turns this tender plea for support into a snappy demand for attention via some gnarly, compelling singing; one of the best examples of Lennon’s vulnerable tough guy vocal persona in all its overwrought glory. And in case anybody missed the point, Lennon officially announced the reconciliation of himself and Yoko ("our separation hadn’t worked out") the same day as releasing this track as a single.
     Helped by what would be Lennon’s last TV performances, Stand By Me hit Number 30 in the US, and Number 20 in the UK charts.
Rip It Up / Ready Teddy
The messy double-tracked singing on this perky, dance-band interpretation of Little Richard attests to Lennon’s unwillingness / incapability to even try for an effective vocal, and the abrupt ending is like being slapped in the face. Perfunctory.
You Can't Catch Me 
The Chuck Berry song that caused all the trouble in the first place. Hearing John sing the "here come old flat top" line makes it clear why, legally, Morris Levy had a case.
     This initially successful, heavily Spectorized High Heeled Sneakers treatment ultimately flounders because the chorus is too high for Lennon to sing effectively, and Chuck Berry’s one-chord-one-riff paean to his car is unsustainable in this lugubrious if opulent setting. Clumsily edited to be nearly five minutes long, it feels like a week.
Ain't That A Shame
Changing Fats Domino’s classic New Orleans 12/8 to a thundering 4/4, Ain’t That A Shame sits beautifully, and provides one of the strongest and best grooves on the album.
Do You Want To Dance
Bobby Freeman’s sprightly 1958 original suffers a clod-hopping reggae-fied reading, in which a plethora of congas are pounded relentlessly, presumably to disguise the total absence of anything resembling an arrangement idea.
Sweet Little Sixteen
Where John and Phil go wild. Slinky, Vegas-style rock arrangement dominated by a suitably insinuating horn line, but marred by sloppy changes and a vocal from someone who sounds like he used to be a great rock singer but is now a drunken fool. "You should have been there," suggests Dr. Winston O’Boogie on the sleeve. No thanks.
Slippin' And Slidin' 
The red herring key of the introduction sounds like a stroke of genius in the context of this thick-wristed record, though this take on Little Richard is spirited enough. The drummer, however, needs talking to.
Peggy Sue
Lennon strolls through Buddy Holly’s minimal, tom-tom burdened classic. "Look out," he warns before the guitar solo. No one ducked.
Ya Ya
Cool, bouncy, proficient. Better than the Walls And Bridges version.
Bring It On Home To Me / Send Me Some Lovin’
Effectively joining Sam Cooke with Lloyd Price in a purposeful shuffle, Bring It On Home To Me just about survives the rearrangement of the verse into long-form - though the last thing this album needs is more uneventful padding.
Bony Moronie
Another lumbering, bottom-heavy, Spectorised interpretation that makes the most of Larry William’s classic riff, with the funky looseness in the band making the most successful of the four tracks taken from the troubled Spector sessions in Los Angeles’ A&M Studios.
Just Because
Despite the warm, nostalgic tones of his spoken introduction, Lennon had apparently just learned this song from Spector, but was sufficiently enamoured of it to deliver a full-hearted vocal on Lloyd Price’s yearning downward scale of a melody as well as a hokey, spoken farewell.

The final article in the booklet finds Phil Spector reminiscing about his last work with John Lennon:

Phil Spector on the Rock 'n' Roll Sessions:

The most grueling sessions we ever had - of course, we were out of control at the time - was when we did the Rock 'n' Roll album with other people's material.  When we were running around out here, we could have gotten into a lot of serious trouble.  The late Harry Nilsson, I loved him dearly, but there were a lot of drugs going down.  I mean, we'd be in a convenience store, a 7-Eleven or whatever, and Harry would say, "Let's try to stick it up, just to see what happens."  "What? Are you fucking crazy?"  Coke makes you do those kinds of things.  We could have gotten killed.
     As far as the album is concerned, we didn't really like doing Chuck Berry and Larry Williams.  I mean, there was no stamp of personality on it.  We even did "Be My Baby."  It was ridiculous, because we didn't believe it.  The Rock 'n' Roll album was was good, but it was a mishmash.  It wasn't the best of John Lennon.   I think Imagine was the best of John Lennon.  Plastic Ono Band was the best of John Lennon.

Rolling Stone Issue 853

November 9, 2000


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