John Lennon – Double Fantasy (Stripped Down)

At long last my copy of the John Lennon and Yoko Ono “Double Fantasy – Stripped Down” two CD set has arrived.

I know, it was released way back in October as part of the Lennon 70th birth-date celebrations, along with the big LennonSignature” box set, the “Gimme Some Truth” 4 CD box set, and the two versions of the “best of” John Lennon compilations called “Power to the People – The Hits”.

The lengthy delay for me in getting “Double Fantasy – Stripped Down” was caused by a bad Ebayer who disappeared off the face of the earth after taking my (and many other peoples) money. After waiting weeks the item just didn’t turn up, and he didn’t reply to emails. Fortunately I’d paid  using PayPal and after lodging a refund claim with them I got my money back. I must say here that it was all very efficiently done by PayPal – so I’d recommend using them as a way to pay for anything you order on Ebay as it comes with this sort of buyer protection.

After quite a few weeks that dispute was solved and I placed another Ebay order – this time with a store in the US. I particularly wanted a US copy of “Stripped Down” to go with all the US versions of Lennon’s other titles contained in the “Signature” box set. They sent it surface mail or something and it also took a while to get here – but this time at least it has finally arrived.

You’ve probably gathered by now that I’m quite interested in the packaging, small print text, and the images used for the covers of LPs and CDs. (If you are too, you might like a page called “Sleevage” that specialises in album music, art and design of all types).

Clearly, this late in the day, this CD cover isn’t new to you. Its been out since October and everyone has come to terms with the fact that both the front and rear covers are cleverly based on sketches of the original LP’s black-and-white shots of John and Yoko taken back in 1980. I think its a nice touch that they asked Sean Lennon to do this. Yoko says in the booklet liner notes (quote):

“And thank you Sean, after many days of hesitation, you finally did the drawings for the front and back covers…for your dad and your mom. All sorts of memory of that time came back to you, you said.. I know how hard it must have been. This is a thank you from me and your dad.”

One other piece of information that caught my attention reading the small print in the cover notes was that two of the photographs used on the inside panels of the cover are actually significant. This shot of John and Yoko leaving the Dakota building was taken on their  way to the Hit Factory studios in New York on August 4, 1980, for the first day of recording for what would become the “Double Fantasy” album:

From inside the gatefold cover: John and Yoko leave the Dakota for the studio and the very first day of recording "Double Fantasy" - August 4, 1980

And this photo on another panel of the gatefold for “Stripped Down” was taken on 44th Street, New York on December 6, 1980 – the last day of recording:

Another image from the packaging: John and Yoko on 44th Street on the very last day of recording "Double Fantasy"

Its not the first time that photo of the pair leaving the Dakota Building has been used. It appeared as the picture sleeve for the US release of one of the three singles taken from the original “Double Fantasy” LP – the song called “Watching the Wheels”:

The same Dakota photograph was used for the vinyl single "Watching the Wheels", released on 27 March, 1981

Interestingly, when you purchase the LennonSignature Box“, which reissues all his original solo albums, you get “Double Fantasy” remastered in its original form – a single disc with the 1980 cover art and without the “Stripped Down”  version as an additional CD:

In the booklet for this edition of “Double Fantasy” you get a different short essay by Paul Du Noyer, but it has all the same photographs as those used in the booklet for the “Stripped Down” booklet.

Also, I’m not sure that you can purchase this single disc 2010 remastered version of “Double Fantasy” as a stand-alone item. I had a quick look around on the web and couldn’t find it for sale anywhere and so I think it may only be available by getting the “Signature” box. If anyone has any info on that one please let us know.


3 thoughts on “John Lennon – Double Fantasy (Stripped Down)

  1. As far as I can tell here in the States, the single-disc DF is only available as part of the Signature box. But the list price for the Stripped Down version, which includes both versions, is pretty low, so it’s just as well.


  2. I think Paypal is owned by eBay now, so it’s always worth using them for purchases. You have a double guarantee from Paypal and eBay who both want to preserve their reputation.
    I’m glad to see this Double Fantasy reissue. I always thought it was an indication of how much he loved Yoko, alternating his music with her tracks. Nobody purchased Double Fantasy to listen to Yoko, but he was forcing his fans to take notice.


  3. Pingback: “Kisses on the Bottom” – The Variations | Beatles Blog

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