John Lennon Anthology was issued on 3 November 1998 in the United States. It was a box set containing four compact discs of previously-unreleased studio outtakes, live recordings and home demos made by Lennon between 1969 and 1980.
John Lennon Anthology was issued four years after The Beatles’ Anthology project began, and it’s clear that the success of the previously-unreleased recordings by Lennon’s former band proved a deciding factor for Yoko Ono.
The box set was released in the United Kingdom on 2 November 1998, the following day in the United States, and on 6 November in Japan.
John Lennon Anthology reached number 62 in the UK and 99 in the United States. Because each set counted as four CDs, it was certified gold in the US by the RIAA in December 1998 after selling 125,000 copies; the threshold for gold discs was 500,000.
No singles from the collection were issued, although ‘I’m Losing You’, featuring Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen and Bun E Carlos, received some airplay along with a video featuring animated drawings by Lennon.
A companion highlights disc, Wonsaponatime, was simultaneously released. This featured 21 tracks, several of which were slightly edited from the box set versions. The album reached number 76 in the UK but failed to chart in the US.
Also on this day...
- 1998: US album release: Wonsaponatime by John Lennon
- 1987: US album release: Cloud Nine by George Harrison
- 1986: UK album release: Menlove Ave by John Lennon
- 1967: Filming: Magical Mystery Tour
- 1965: Recording: Michelle
- 1963: Live: Odeon Cinema, Leeds
- 1962: Live: Star-Club, Hamburg
- 1961: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
- 1960: Live: Kaiserkeller, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.