Summing up John Lennon's solo career isn't an easy task, what with all the twists and turns that it took along the way -- but this 38-track retrospective does a fine job of touching all the bases he touched. Unlike many similar compilations, Working Class Hero
isn't structured chronologically. Instead, the producers -- including Yoko Ono
herself -- arranged the music more or less thematically, framing it with Lennon's most uplifting compositions. As such, the album begins with the one-two punch of "(Just Like) Starting Over" and "Imagine" before moving into raised-fist political anthems like "Instant Karma" and "Power to the People." Unlike earlier collections of Lennon's solo work, there's a fairly strong concentration on his activist period, represented not only by the oft-played "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" but also by still-controversial offerings such as the stark "God" and "Woman Is the Nigger of the World." The roller-coaster sequencing befits Lennon's legacy, with easygoing rockers like "Whatever Gets You Through the Night" rubbing elbows with white-knuckled acoustic soul-barers like "Mother." As Ono put it, "[John] laid his life on the line to speak out the truth for all of us. Enjoy this incredible selection of songs of wisdom and power, and know that John is now in the heart of each of us, helping to heal ourselves and our planet."