Someone wandering into a U.S. record store today might have been surprised to see a new album on the shelves called Unfinished Music No 1: Two Virgins, with John Lennon and Yoko One butt-nekkid on the cover. If they went ahead and bought it, they were probably even more surprised to hear the “music” contained therein. Since the White Album and “Revolution 9” had yet to come out, no one was prepared for the, ahem, experimental direction of John and Yoko’s opus.

Two Virgins, as we students of Beatle history know, was in fact the home recordings John and Yoko had made the first time they spent the night together, shortly before having sex for the first time. The decision to release it had been controversial, even among The Beatles. No one except John wanted to put it out at all, much less with a cover clearly designed to outrage all of polite society, but he held firm (as it were) and got his way.

Some stores refused to carry it, and some put a brown paper wrapper over the offending parts. Even so, it managed to chart, rising all the way to #124 in the U.S. I wonder how many of the people who bought it listened to it more than once.

During this period George was continuing to work on the Jackie Lomax album Is This What You Want? As of today he had spent four days recording synthesizer tracks. Synths were new and little-understood at the time; after today’s session synth player Bernie Krause stuck around to give George a demo of the Moog III.

Krause was unaware that he was being recorded, and rather taken aback when the demo later appeared on George’s solo album Electronic Sound. He was taken even further aback to find that he was not credited as a writer or performer, though the album did say “Assisted by Bernie Krause.” This was not a super-cool move by the Spiritual Beatle, and a lawsuit ensued.

Weird times in Pepperland. It has been suggested to me that at this point “the Beatles are over.” I don’t think that’s exactly true; the slow-motion disintegration that happens over the next year or so is not without its moments of beauty. But there’s some bad juju too. I intend to stick with it; proceed at your own risk.

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