Released in October 2010, shortly before the 70th anniversary of John Lennon’s birth, the Signature Box brought together remastered versions of his seven solo albums, plus the posthumous Milk And Honey, non-album songs and a disc of previously-unreleased home recordings.
The box also contained essays written by Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and Julian Lennon, along with a hardback book featuring photographs, drawings, collages and handwritten lyrics, liner notes by Anthony DeCurtis, and a 70th birthday Lennon art print.
The box was the most lavish of the 2010 Lennon reissues, which also included the Power To The People hits compilation, the Gimme Some Truth collection, and the Double Fantasy Stripped Down remix.
The studio albums were digitally remastered from Lennon’s original mixes by Ono and a team of engineers led by Allan Rouse at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios in London and by George Marino at Avatar Studios in New York. Rouse’s team were also responsible for the 2009 remasters of The Beatles’ catalogue.
Each of the remastered album was presented in digipack sleeves with reproductions of the original artwork, along with booklets containing liner notes by Paul Du Noyer and photographs. The set was also issued as digital downloads.
Ono received some criticism at the time of the Signature Box’s release for not adding Double Fantasy Stripped Down to the box set, leaving fans with an extra expense to complete the collection. Some Lennon collectors also suggested that the bonus DVD of videos included in one of the Power To The People packages should have also been included.
Furthermore, the singles disc did not include ‘God Save Oz’, ‘Do The Oz’, the single version of ‘Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him’ featuring Lennon’s vocals, the 12″ mix of ‘(Just Like) Starting Over’ with an extended coda, or the 7″ version of ‘Meat City’ with different sound effects.
Although the posthumous Milk And Honey was included in the Signature Box, Menlove Ave, Live In New York City and Acoustic were not featured. Nor was the Plastic Ono Band’s Live Peace In Toronto 1969, or Lennon’s three experimental albums made with Yoko Ono: Two Virgins, Life With The Lions or Wedding Album.
The disc of home recordings contained three songs which Lennon never taped in the studio. India, India was recorded in 1980, and looked back to The Beatles’ time in Rishikesh in 1968; One Of The Boys dated from 1977, and was taped at Lennon’s home in the Dakota, New York City; and Honey Don’t was a cover version of the Carl Perkins song which The Beatles recorded in 1964.
This was a welcome release after the previous remixed reissues. These latest reissues are mixed like the original releases and sound even better.