A four-disc anthology of 72 songs by John Lennon, Gimme Some Truth was issued as part of the 2010 set of digitally remastered recordings that were released to mark the 70th anniversary of his birth. It should not be confused with the 2020 compilation of the same name.
Each of the discs ordered Lennon’s work thematically into different aspects of his life. Some of the selections proved puzzling: the ‘Woman’ disc, supposedly featuring love songs, opened with the heart-wrenching Mother, and also contains ‘My Mummy’s Dead’, ‘Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down And Out)’, ‘Hold On’, and ‘#9 Dream’, none of which are predominantly love songs.
Equally baffling is ‘Working Class Hero: John’s socio-political songs’. The tracklisting bypasses much of Lennon’s most outspoken political works, released on 1972’s Some Time In New York City, most likely because they weren’t particularly good, but does contain ill-fitting songs such as ‘Meat City’, ‘Steel And Glass’, and ‘I Don’t Wanna Face It’.
And then there’s ‘Borrowed Time: John’s songs about life’, a vague catch-all which offers little in the way of a unifying theme, but does make room for the wholly expendable ‘Intuition’, one of Lennon’s least inspired recordings. It also features ‘Surprise Surprise (Sweet Bird Of Paradox)’, a pure expression of love written for May Pang in 1974; this should have been included in the love songs disc – was it excluded as an act of revisionism by Yoko Ono?
As an introduction to Lennon’s music, Gimme Some Truth has many moments to savour. However, anyone wishing to go beyond a basic hits collection would be better off investing in the John Lennon Signature Box, a more comprehensive guide to this remarkable man’s work.
Completists, meanwhile, should be aware that the remastered songs exclusive to this edition are ‘Here We Go Again’, ‘Hound Dog’, and ‘Yer Blues’. A cynical observer might conclude that scattering such songs across each of the 2010 reissues was an attempt to force dedicated fans to buy each of the formats, and to give as much money as possible to Yoko Ono.