UK album release: Electronic Sound by George Harrison

The Beatles’ experimental label Zapple Records was launched on this day, with the UK release of two albums: George Harrison’s Electronic Sound and John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Unfinished Music No 2: Life With The Lions.

Zapple was created to release experimental solo albums by The Beatles, along with spoken word and avant-garde recordings from other artists.

The Apple subsidiary was run by Barry Miles, a friend of Paul McCartney; Miles later wrote McCartney’s authorised biography, Many Years From Now.

Although the label had been in existence since October 1968, Life With The Lions and Electronic Sound were the only albums released by Zapple.

Electronic Sound was Harrison’s second solo release, following November 1968’s Wonderwall Music. Issued as Zapple 02, it contained two tracks, with one on each side: ‘Under The Mersey Wall’ and ‘No Time Or Space’.

See, we conceived of an offshoot of Apple Records that would be arty music that wouldn’t normally gain an outlet, a series where people could talk or read their work, as with the Brautigan thing. The intention was to get Lenny Bruce and all these kinds of people. But as with so many other things at Apple, it seized up before it really got going. Both of the albums that did come out are a load of rubbish, yet they’re interesting from a collector’s point of view. The theory was, we wanted to let serendipity take hold.
George Harrison
George Harrison: Reconsidered, Timothy White

Acetate copies of a third Zapple album – a spoken word release by the writer Richard Brautigan which was to have been Zapple 3 – were pressed. There were also plans to release spoken word albums by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Michael McClure, as well as a recording of a UK appearance by comedian Lenny Bruce, but these never came to fruition.

The Zapple label was folded by Klein before the record could be released. The first two Zapple records did come out. We just didn’t have [Brautigan’s record] ready in time before Klein closed it down. None of the Beatles ever heard it.
Barry Miles

Zapple lasted until June 1969, when the label was closed by Allen Klein.

Last updated: 30 September 2020
John Lennon and Yoko Ono are interviewed for the BBC's Scene And Heard
UK album release: Unfinished Music No.2: Life With The Lions by John Lennon and Yoko Ono
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