Just over two weeks after its US release, Unfinished Music No 1: Two Virgins by John Lennon and Yoko Ono was issued in the United Kingdom.
The album had the catalogue number Apple SAPCOR 2. Its tracklisting was the same as the US version: ‘Two Virgins No. 1’; ‘Together’; ‘Two Virgins (numbers 2-6)’; ‘Two Virgins’; ‘Hushabye Hushabye’; ‘Two Virgins (numbers 7-10)’. The tracks had been recorded on 3 May 1968 at Kenwood, Lennon’s former home in Weybridge.
The release of Two Virgins had been delayed for some months due to anticipated controversy over the cover photograph, which featured a full-frontal nude photograph of Lennon and Ono.
The album was the second long-player released by Apple Records, after George Harrison’s Wonderwall Music was issued in the UK on 1 November.
Actually, the first record that would have been out on Apple would been Two Virgins if they hadn’t held it up. They stalled and they said this, that and the other. Being naive in lots of ways, I had no idea I was going to get slagging from the immediate family. I thought maybe somebody out there will say something, but I was making a statement. It was as good as a song, it was better, you couldn’t say it better – pictures speak louder than words. There it was: beautiful statement.
Two Virgins was distributed by Track Records in the UK, after EMI refused to handle it. They did, however, master and press the record, for which they charged their standard fee.
Two Virgins was a big fight. It was held up for nine months. Joseph Lockwood was a nice, nice guy; but he sat down on a big table at the top of EMI with John and Yoko and told me he will do everything he can to help us, because we explained what it meant and why we were doing it. And he got me to sign him one – he’s got a signed edition of the very first one. Then, when we tried to put it out, he sent a personal note to everybody saying: ‘Don’t print it. Don’t put it out.’ So we couldn’t get the cover printed anywhere.
Also on this day...
- 2016: George Harrison’s What Is Life gets new video
- 2012: Paul McCartney live: Rexall Place, Edmonton, Canada
- 2001: George Harrison dies
- 1967: Editing: Christmas Time (Is Here Again)
- 1966: Recording, mixing: Strawberry Fields Forever
- 1965: Radio: Saturday Club
- 1964: John Lennon appears on Not Only… But Also
- 1963: Live: ABC Cinema, Huddersfield
- 1963: UK single release: I Want To Hold Your Hand
- 1962: Live: Majestic Ballroom, Birkenhead
- 1961: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening)
- 1961: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
- 1960: Paul McCartney and Pete Best are arrested in Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.
Its a fascinating story around this album and cover. By coincidence I was rummaging through some long stored away records and memorabilia Id collected over the years.
There among many items I pull out a print of the Two Virgins image…well its a print on card of the front and back cover on one flat piece measuring 17″ x 25″. I’m guessing its from Technink printers. back cover image to the left with front cover image to the right. All the wording is below the front cover image, with the second line repeated at top of card above front cover image. Imagine its from the previous print. I suppose its a proof or some sort of quality check sample.
If any experts out there love to hear your feedback. thanks in advance!