When the authorities seized the album of John Lennon and Yoko Ono

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There is no doubt that in 1969 John Lennon had reached a new phase in his life. Already starting to part ways with the Beatles hype, despite being around a year away from the band’s official disbandment, Lennon had found a new muse in Yoko Ono and a cherished new sense of experimentation. He has seen the songwriter immerse himself in some of his most avant-garde works, including the album Unfinished Music # 1: Two Virgins.

The first try in the expansive and creative world that Lennon and Ono would provide for each other, the album made it to the U.S. Billboard charts and saw the Beatle walk away for the Fab Four in more ways. permanent than ever. Recorded in one night, the album has always featured a quote from Lennon: “It was midnight when we were done, then we had sex at dawn. It was really beautiful.”

The album may have found favor with Lennon fans, but that was not the case with authorities at Newark Airport in New Jersey who seized 30,000 copies of the album as he landed at Apple Records. It wasn’t the unusual songs and the sound structure of the LP that offended them, but the cover art.

The original artwork shows Lennon and Ono side by side naked. While the image was well-intentioned to remind humans of idols as well as the vulnerability of a new love, the record became a huge controversy. Apple Records anticipated the problem and had the album wrapped so that only the heads of the artists could be seen. However, this was not sufficient for those at Newark Airport.

“We were both a little embarrassed when we pulled away for the photo, so I took it myself with a delayed shutter,” Lennon later recalled of the famous image that was taken in Ringo Starr’s basement after Lennon left his first marital home. .

“The photo had to prove that we are not a crazy couple, that we are not deformed in any way and that our minds are healthy,” said the singer. This is a fair point. Even in 1968, images of Lennon and Ono were constantly shared in tabloids and music magazines with salacious attachments.

By today’s standards, it would still be relatively difficult to get the album to censorship control. However, Lennon saw it differently: “If we can get society to accept this stuff without offending, without sneering, then we will achieve our goal. “

You can listen to the album below:

(Credit: John Lennon)


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