Wedding Album

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Wedding Album
Studio album by John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Released 20 October 1969 (1969-10-20)
Recorded 25–31 March 1969, at Room 902, Hilton Hotel, Amsterdam
22 and 27 April 1969, at Abbey Road Studios, London
Genre Avant-garde[1]
Length 47:38
Label Apple
Producer John Lennon, Yoko Ono
John Lennon and Yoko Ono chronology
Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions
(1969)
Wedding Album
(1969)
Live Peace in Toronto 1969
(with The Plastic Ono Band)
(1969)

Wedding Album is the final in a succession of three experimental albums by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. It followed Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins and Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions.

Recording[edit]

"John & Yoko", the first side, a recording made on 22 and 27 April 1969, is of Lennon and Ono calling to each other, through a range of volume, tempos, and emotions, over the sound of their heartbeats. The two recorded on individual speakers.[2][3] Lennon described the heartbeats as being "like African drums", and the piece being "like an extended, very extreme John and Marsha that was out years ago by Stan Freberg. It really makes your hair stand on end."[2] Lennon edited the two together on May 1, 1969.[4]

"Amsterdam", the second side, had been recorded first, in a hotel room at the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam, Holland, during 25–31 March 1969.[2] The piece consists of interviews explaining their campaign for peace, conversations and captured sounds during the couple's "Bed-In" honeymoon.[2] An early form of what would become "John John Let's Hope for Peace" forms the beginning of "Amsterdam".[2] There was also four other musical interludes including Lennon performing a blues-style composition on acoustic guitar, featuring the words "Goodbye Amsterdam Goodbye". Ono sings "Grow Your Hair", a song regarding peace. Lennon sings a brief excerpt in a cappela of the Beatles song "Good Night". The last interlude is a short recitation of the words "Bed peace" and "Hair peace".[2][4]

Outtakes and interviews from Lennon and Ono's Bed-In were released as promo 7" vinyl acetates by Bell.[5]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 1.5/5 stars[6]
MusicHound woof![7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 1.5/5 stars[8]

Wedding Album was initially released on Apple on 20 October 1969 in the US,[nb 1] and 7 November 1969 in the UK.[nb 2][2] The record came as an elaborate box set designed by John Kosh, including sets of photos, drawings by Lennon, a reproduction of the marriage certificate,[nb 3] a picture of a slice of wedding cake (inside a white sleeve), and a booklet of press clippings about the couple.[2] It also a mylar bag that had "Bagism" printed on it.[9] included a The album did not chart in the UK, but managed to peak at number 178 in the US, staying on the charts for three weeks.[2][10] Regarding the limited success, Lennon later addressed it saying, "It was like our sharing our wedding with whoever wanted to share it with us. We didn't expect a hit record out of it. It was more of a... that's why we called it Wedding Album. You know, people make a wedding album, show it to the relatives when they come round. Well, our relatives are the... what you call fans, or people that follow us outside. So that was our way of letting them join in on the wedding".[4] The album was available on vinyl, cassette tape and 8-track tape, each with the same deluxe packaging. The album was also advertised through magazine print advertisements, which Lennon and Ono's previous two albums had not. The album was reissued in 1997 through Rykodisc with three bonus cuts – two of them B-sides by The Plastic Ono Band composed by Ono.

When Wedding Album was released, at least one music press reviewer was led to believe that the album was more experimental than it actually was. Richard Williams, who had been given two single-sided test pressings for his Melody Maker review, each with a blank side featuring only an engineer's test signal, took it to be a double album.[11] Reviewing it as such, he noted that sides two and four consisted entirely "of single tones maintained throughout, presumably produced electronically". This led Lennon and Ono to send the following telegram to Williams:

DEAR RICHARD THANK YOU FOR YOUR FANTASTIC REVIEW ON OUR WEDDING ALBUM INCLUDING C-AND-D SIDES. WE ARE CONSIDERING IT FOR OUR NEXT RELEASE. MAYBE YOU ARE RIGHT IN SAYING THAT THEY ARE THE BEST SIDES STOP WE BOTH FEEL THAT THIS IS THE FIRST TIME A CRITIC TOPPED THE ARTIST. WE ARE NOT JOKING. LOVE AND PEACE STOP JOHN AND YOKO LENNON.[12]

Track listing[edit]

All pieces by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "John & Yoko"   22:44
Side two
No. Title Length
2. "Amsterdam"   25:00
CD bonus tracks
No. Title Length
3. "Who Has Seen the Wind?" (Ono) 2:05
4. "Listen, the Snow Is Falling" (Ono) 3:25
5. "Don't Worry Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow)" (Ono) 2:35

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ US Apple SMAX 3361
  2. ^ UK Apple SAPCOR 11
  3. ^ Lennon and Ono's marriage was held in Gibraltar on 20 March 1969.[2]
Citations
  1. ^ Shepherd, John, ed. (2003). Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World: Volume 1: Media, Industry and Society (Volume 1. ed.). London., [England]: Continuum. p. 154. ISBN 9780826463210. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "John Lennon Discography". Homepage.ntlworld.com. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  3. ^ William Ruhlmann. "Wedding Album - Review". allmusic.com. Retrieved April 3, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c "Wedding Album". beatlesbible.com. Retrieved April 3, 2015. 
  5. ^ Borack, John M. (2010). John Lennon: Music, Memories, and Memorabilia. Iola, WI: Krause Publications. p. 124. ISBN 9781440216497. 
  6. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Wedding Album - John Lennon, Yoko Ono : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  7. ^ Gary Graff & Daniel Durcholz (eds), MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, Visible Ink Press (Farmington Hills, MI, 1999; ISBN 1-57859-061-2), p. 667.
  8. ^ "John Lennon: Album Guide | Rolling Stone Music". Rollingstone.com. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "John Lennon & Yoko Ono Wedding Album". rarebeatles.com. Retrieved April 4, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Wedding Album - Lennon/Ono". discogs.com. Retrieved April 3, 2015. 
  11. ^ John Lennon: listen to this book, by John Blaney
  12. ^ Calkin, Graham. "The Wedding Album". Jpgr.co.uk. Retrieved 27 April 2013.