John Lennon/Yoko Ono: “Unfinished Music No. 2 - Life with the Lions”

The Beatles: John and Yoko's Second Album

Episode 52

Episode date - November 2, 2012

How Music Changed

    When we started this project, we announced our intention to play every officially released track put out by the Beatles. That meant every album and every single, plus every official live recording, radio appearance, demo track, fan club release, and whatever else may have seen the light of day on a sanctioned record label. In other words, we will ignore ‘bootleg’ releases but intend to play everything from the group’s very first recordings, up to the band’s demise, including solo efforts.

    We are now at a point where that promise becomes more of a threat than a promise. John Lennon’s releases with Yoko Ono in 1968 and 1969 easily qualify as some of the most difficult listening experiences ever put to vinyl. The impact of these recordings on John’s reputation (and thus the Beatles as well) was nearly universally negative. As a couple, John and Yoko released three albums together while the Beatles struggled to continue as a unit. We covered their first album in show #47. Now, with the ‘White Album” ready to hit the stores, John and Yoko recorded bits for a second album (“Unfinished Music No. 2- Life with the Lions”) that was even more unlistenable than the first – which is a feat.

    I have serious doubts that this album was ever previously played on the radio in its entirety. It would be commercial suicide to air this album uninterrupted, so I will use this show to convey the circumstances that surrounded the band at this period of time, in order to better enlighten Beatles fans to the attitudes and circumstances that encumbered the band at the time of their double-album release.

    Next show, we start coverage of the “White Album,” but meanwhile...

    1) No Bed for Beatle John

    2) Baby’s Heartbeat

    3) Two Minutes Silence

    4) Radio Play

    5) Cambridge 1969

    Channel 141 - The Beatles