John Lennon and Yoko Ono had recorded 22 songs in the studio during the sessions for Double Fantasy. A little over three years after his death, Ono issued the remainder as Milk and Honey, the first posthumous release of previously-unrelease material by Lennon.
Milk And Honey was released with a cover photograph almost identical to that of Double Fantasy, although this time in colour. The original concept was to have 200 heart-shaped photographs of the couple, but the idea was abandoned. By instead using an outtake from the Double Fantasy shoot, the effect was to present it as a sequel or companion piece, although the sound of the two albums is often starkly different.
The album was issued on Polydor, as Ono had fallen out with David Geffen, whose Geffen label had released Double Fantasy. However, EMI later acquired the rights to Milk And Honey, who issued subsequent pressings of Milk And Honey.
Milk And Honey sold less well than Double Fantasy had, but performed respectably. In the United Kingdom it peaked at number three, and in the United States it reached 11 after its release on 19 January 1984.
In the UK it was also issued as a vinyl picture disc. The first pressing of 2,000 copies quickly sold out, and a further 1,000 were made. Some unauthorised coloured vinyl editions were also issued.
Upon its release in January 1984, Milk And Honey was the first album by any of The Beatles to be issued on compact disc. A remastered version in 2001 also added four bonus tracks, including an interview recorded on the day of Lennon’s death.