Much of Lennon’s post-Beatles work was drenched in autobiographical reflection. This DVD companion to a greatest-hits collection is no exception. It’s largely comprised of home movies, personal photos and video valentines featuring Lennon and spouse Yoko Ono—a sort of narration-less documentary where song lyrics do the talking and images provide additional insight.
Legend’s a bittersweet look at the latter half of Lennon’s career—the obvious heaviness of his relationship with Ono, his love for his son, and a bright future cut short. Such sentimental sorrow is countered by the raucous live footage of “Cold Turkey,” the studio rock out of “Instant Karma!” and the rockabilly rave-up of “Slippin’ & Slidin’.” And while Lennon’s activist angst is well on display in clips of “Power to the People,” “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” and “Give Peace a Chance,” his playful side is there, too, with footage of unbridled goofiness and lovey-dovey cuddling with Ono. His simplistically amusing art bounds through “Whatever Gets You Through the Night” and a bonus animation section.
Legend seems to best sum up the man as we’ve come to know him. The music and its accompanying visuals show an altogether brilliant, bitter, whimsical, thought-provoking 20th-century treasure. It’s a fitting tribute even the often skeptical Lennon might approve of.