Hard Times Are Over (Stripped Down Mix, 2010)
Label: Capitol Records
A maniac murdered John Lennon, making this 1980 comeback LP his final non-archival release. The hit single "(Just Like) Starting Over" united grieving fans while offering cold comfort with the performance of an artist still in his prime. "Watching the Wheels" is just lovely and explains why Lennon spent most of his final five years out of the limelight. "I'm Losing You" proves that he was still a powerful rocker with a performance that stands up to late-period Beatles. While most fans skipped past the Yoko Ono tracks, Elvis Costello covered her new wave-y "Walking on Thin Ice." This edition comes with a bonus disc that features Lennon and his band laying down the tracks before subsequent overdubs (they sounded ready for prime-time even at this early stage).