When presented with a piece of unlistenable dreck like John and Yoko’s Wedding Album, a critic has two choices. Either go after the culprits with guns blazing, or bend over backwards to find something to be positive about.

Richard Williams, who had been assigned by the British music weekly Melody Maker to review Wedding Album, chose the latter course. In the issue published today, he praised two particular pieces, which he took to be minimalist drones:

Constant listening reveals a curious point: the pitch of the tones alters frequency, but only by microtones or, at most, a semitone. This oscillation produces an almost subliminal, uneven “beat” which maintains interest. On a more basic level, you could have a ball by improvising your very own raga, plainsong, or even Gaelic mouth music against the drone.

The only problem was that the “pieces” he was reviewing were not anything John and Yoko had made. Williams had received a test pressing consisting of two LPs, each of which contained one side of the album backed with a side of test tones (which did not, in fact, vary at all). It was these test tones that Williams took a shine to, preferring them to the actual content.

John and Yoko found this amusing and responded by telegram:

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