Shaved Fish

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Shaved Fish
Superimposed on a background consisting mostly of a cloudy, pale blue sky is a three-row by four-column borderless grid. Eleven of the 12 blocks in the grid contain the title from one of the songs on the album and an illustration for that song. The 12th block, located in the first row, third column, has a white background. Starting from the top, the words "SHAVED FISH LENNON" are vertically aligned, appearing in large black block capitals with a red dot centred in a separate row between "FISH" and "LENNON"; below "LENNON", in a single row of smaller block capitals, are the words "PLASTIC ONO BAND".
Compilation album by
Released20 October 1975 (1975-10-20) (US)
24 October 1975 (UK)
RecordedJune 1969 – July 1974
ProducerJohn Lennon, Yoko Ono,
Phil Spector
John Lennon chronology
Rock 'n' Roll
Shaved Fish
Double Fantasy
Singles from Shaved Fish
  1. "Imagine"
    Released: 24 October 1975 (UK)

Shaved Fish is a compilation album by John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band, issued in October 1975 on Apple Records. It contains all of the singles that he had issued up to that point in the United States as a solo artist, with the exception of "Stand by Me", which had been released earlier that year. The only compilation of Lennon's non-Beatles recordings released during his lifetime, the album peaked at number 8 in the UK and number 12 in the US. It was also Lennon's final album released on Apple Records.


After the release of his oldies album Rock 'n' Roll, Lennon was planning to work on a disc with new material. However, when Yoko Ono became pregnant he decided to summon songs from his solo career.[1]

What I found out was, when I went to look for the Cold Turkey master tapes, nobody knew where they were. I had to use dubs of Power To The People because the tapes were gone, nobody could give a damn at the record companies because they weren't .. you know, that big. Big enough for them to be interested... I thought if I don't put this package together, some of the work is just going to go... they will be lost forever.

— J. Lennon[2]


This compilation includes many of Lennon's most popular solo recordings in their original 45 rpm edits. Five of the songs had not been previously issued on an album: "Cold Turkey", "Instant Karma!", "Power to the People", the holiday single "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" and "Give Peace a Chance". The latter appeared in truncated form, split to begin side one and end side two. Eight of these singles made the Top 40 on the Billboard chart, with "Whatever Gets You thru the Night" going to number 1; five made the top ten in the United Kingdom. "Imagine", never previously released as a single in the UK, was issued as such concurrent to the release of this album.

Several of the master tapes were unavailable for the compilation, and dubs from 45 rpm single records were used. Due to this, the first release of the compact disc on May 1987 suffered from low sound quality and needed to be remastered. The CD improved version was reissued on December 1987,[1] restoring the full fadeouts that were shortened in some of the songs on the original release.[3]

The release of the album came less than three weeks after the resolution of Lennon's long-running immigration dispute and the birth of Sean Lennon. The name of the album originates from the Japanese food katsuobushi, a kind of dried fish.[4][5]

Release, reception, and aftermath[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[6]
Christgau's Record GuideB+[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[9]

A Creem magazine reader's poll in 1975 included the album among the top five "Best Reissues" of 1975, placing fourth, behind two Rolling Stones compilations, Made in the Shade and Metamorphosis, and Bob Dylan's The Basement Tapes.[10] Robert Christgau called the album "eleven shots in the dark from the weirdest major rock and roller of the early '70s" and said "not counting the two available on must-own albums, the only great cuts are 'Instant Karma' (Lennon's best political song) and '#9 Dream.'"[11]

The album was released in the UK on 24 October 1975, peaking at number 8.[nb 1][12] Released from the album on the same day in the UK was the single "Imagine", backed with "Working Class Hero", charting at number 6.[12] The single was also Lennon's last for Apple Records.[12] The album later re-charted in the UK on 17 January 1981, at number 11.[12] After the release of the album, Lennon's recording contract expired, in February 1976; Lennon was uninterested in re-signing with EMI/Capitol.[13]

Cover art[edit]

Roy Kohara was the art director of the album, and the illustrations were made by Michael Bryan.[6]

The cover is divided into twelve rectangles, one for each of the eleven songs of the LP, and one for the album title, that is written in Bruce Mikita font (also known as Novel Open).[14]

Track listing[edit]

All songs by John Lennon, except where noted.

Side one[edit]

No. Song Length Notes
1 "Give Peace a Chance" 0:57
  • Only the first minute of "Give Peace a Chance" is excerpted here
  • Issued as a single 4 July 1969 (UK) and 7 July 1969 (US).
  • Credited to Lennon–McCartney on the original single issue and vinyl edition of Shaved Fish,[15] the song now appears as credited to Lennon alone.[16]
2 "Cold Turkey" 5:01
  • Issued as a single 20 October 1969 (US) and 24 October 1969 (UK).
3 "Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)" 3:21
  • UK single mix, issued as a single in the UK on 6 February 1970; a different mix was issued on a single in the US on 20 February 1970.
4 "Power to the People" 3:21
  • Issued as a single 12 March 1971 (UK) and 22 March 1971 (US).
5 "Mother" 5:03
  • Exclusive edit, different from the single edit issued on 28 December 1970 (US) of track from John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. This edit includes the bells at the intro not present on the single edit, and fades out later than the single but earlier than the LP version.
6 "Woman Is the Nigger of the World" (John Lennon, Yoko Ono) 4:37

Side two[edit]

No. Song Length Notes
1 "Imagine" 3:02
  • Issued as a single 11 October 1971 (US) and 24 October 1975 (UK).
2 "Whatever Gets You thru the Night" 3:03
  • With Elton John on piano and backing vocals.
  • Exclusive edit. The single, issued 23 September 1974 (US) and 4 October 1974 (UK) ran for 3:20; while the recording on Walls and Bridges was 3:24.
3 "Mind Games" 4:12
  • Issued as a single 29 October 1973 (US) and 16 November 1973 (UK).
4 "#9 Dream" 4:47
  • Issued as a single 16 December 1974 (US) and 31 January 1975 (UK).
5 "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" /
"Give Peace a Chance (Reprise)" (Lennon, Ono)
  • "Happy Xmas" issued as a single on 1 December 1971 (US) and 24 November 1972 (UK).
  • An excerpt from a live performance of "Give Peace a Chance" recorded at the 1972 "One to One" concerts is crossfaded into the song's ending.[18]



  1. ^ UK Apple PCS 7173[12]


  1. ^ a b Blaney, John (2005). John Lennon: Listen to This Book. John Blaney. p. 173. ISBN 978-0-9544528-1-0.
  2. ^ Peebles, Andy (1983). The last Lennon tapes : John Lennon and Yoko Ono talk to Andy Peebles December 6, 1980. New York: Dell Publishing. ISBN 0-440-04903-2. OCLC 9158501.
  3. ^ "Better late than never for remastered CDs". The Gazette from Montreal. Quebec. 1 June 1989. p. 54. Retrieved 7 November 2020 – via Newspapers.
  4. ^ "John Lennon & Plastic Ono Band – Shaved Fish". Beatles Vinyl Record Collectors Online Shop, retrieved 8 December 2010.
  5. ^ Womack, Kenneth (2014). The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO Greenwood. p. 823. ISBN 978-0-313-39171-2. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Shaved Fish". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: L". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 1 March 2019 – via
  8. ^ Gary Graff & Daniel Durchholz (eds), MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, Visible Ink Press (Farmington Hills, MI, 1999; ISBN 1-57859-061-2), p. 667.
  9. ^ "John Lennon: Album Guide | Rolling Stone Music". Archived from the original on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  10. ^ "CREEM Magazine 1975 Reader Poll Results". Creem. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
  11. ^ "John Lennon: Shaved Fish". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
  12. ^ a b c d e Blaney, John (2005). John Lennon: Listen to This Book (illustrated ed.). [S.l.]: Paper Jukebox. p. 171. ISBN 978-0-9544528-1-0.
  13. ^ Ingham, Chris (2003). The Rough Guide to The Beatles (1st ed.). London: Rough Guides. pp. 110–111. ISBN 978-1-84353-140-1.
  14. ^ Hardwig, Florian (9 October 2020). "Lennon / Plastic Ono Band – Shaved Fish album art". Fonts in Use. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  15. ^ Shaved Fish. Apple Records SW 3421, 1975, back cover credits.
  16. ^ John Lennon. Working Class Hero. Capitol Records CDP 0946 3 40391 2 3, 2005, liner notes.
  17. ^ Some Time in New York City. Apple Records SVBB 3392, 1972, side one track timings.
  18. ^ Madinger, Chip; Easter, Mark (2000). Eight Arms To Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium. Chesterfield, MO: 44.1 Productions. p. 80. ISBN 0-615-11724-4.