Unfinished Music No.2 - Life With The Lions

John Lennon
Life With The Lions - Front cover Life With The Lions - Rear Cover
Life With The Lions - Front Cover Life With The Lions - Rear Cover
Label Apple
Catalogue No. ZAPPLE 01
Release date 9th May 1969
Total time 51:00
U.K. Album Chart Detail : Did NOT Chart.
Detail : John's second solo album release, and second experimental outing.
Cedited to John Lennon and Yoko Ono

The album is of course produced by John and Yoko, but the best summary is probably the sleeve notes on the cover by George Martin which simply says :
"No Comment".

The rear of the cover also says, "Made In Merrie England Nov. '68".

The photograph on the front cover was taken by Susan Wood in Room No. 1, Second West Ward, Queen Charlotte Hospital, Hammersmith. The rear cover picture was taken by a Daily Mirror photographer outside Marylebone Magistrates Court, 181, Marylebone Road, London on 19th October 1968 after John had appeared with Yoko for possession of hashish (he had been arrested the previous day at Ringo's flat). Even though John has always claimed the weed was planted(sic), he pleaded guilty so that the pregnant Yoko could have her charges dropped. He was fined 150 plus costs.
It was this offence that would haunt John later in the seventies as he struggled with the American authorities to get his "Green Card".

This the first release on what the Beatles intended to be an Apple budget label. The idea for Zapple was that the records would be priced cheaply enough to discard after playing, but when they reached the shops, they were priced normally.

Just like the first solo release, this did not chart, and only sold around 5,000 copies.

Side 1

Track Composer Recording Information Time
Cambridge 1969 Lennon-Ono Recorded live 2nd March 1969 at Lady Mitchell Hall, Cambridge
Personnel :
  Yoko - Vocals
  John - Guitar
  John Tchicai - Saxophone
  John Stevens - Percussion
Introduced by Yoko, she says :
"This is a piece called Cambridge 1969".
This is the very first solo performance of a Beatle, and includes John producing feedback from his guitar with Yoko doing her own thing. Her first screech lasts almost 45 seconds, and then it doesn`t get any better... screeches and feedback almost incessantly (my children were none too pleased when I played this to time it for this research !)
The other two performers listed appear towards the end of the piece, and in fact performed for longer but this was faded out.

Side 2

The whole of this side was recorded on a simple cassette recorder, in Room No. 1 Second West Ward, Queen Charlotte Hospital, Hammersmith. It captures the sounds and experiences of Yoko's pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage from 4th November until 25th November 1968 (the miscarriage was on the 21st).

Track Composer Recording Information Time
No Bed For Beatle John Lennon-Ono John had been staying in a bed at the hospital to be with Yoko (as can be seen in the picture below !), but the bed was more urgently required for a patient, and John resorted to a sleeping bag (as seen on the front cover, above). This track includes John and Yoko reading aloud passages from various newspaper reports of this event in a "singing" style. Also they read newspaper reports on the "Two Virgins" cover. 4:48
Baby's Heartbeat Lennon-Ono A recording of Yoko's unborn baby.
John can be heard at the beginning preparing the mic, and says : "O.K. I`m ready"
Two Minutes Silence Lennon-Ono Just what is says ! ...
Except the actual silence is 2:01, which could be an allowance for the track banding.
Radio Play Lennon-Ono The radio noise is a harsh "chopping" noise which is Yoko repeatedly turning the radio quickly on and off. In fact it`s not really apparent that it is a radio until about the 11th minute.
Various snatches of conversation can be heard, although they are difficult to hear beneath the irritating radio noise. About one minute in, John can be heard making a phone call. First he checks the number with Yoko, then you can clearly hear him ask the operator to get him "Ambassador 5973 please". After asking if Anthony is there, John discusses keeping files of Esher data together, and instructs the callee not to "mix all that stuff up".

(If one knows how (and I do !) ... one can decipher that phone number....
... I wonder how many rung it in 1969 ?)


Released Versions (Rarities)

First (and only) pressings (1969) - are worth around 75.

The C.D.

A C.D. was released 9th June 1997 on Rykodisc catalogue number RCD 10412.
It was digitally remastered under the supervision of Yoko.
The front and rear are almost identical to the album sleeve above, but it does have a nice booklet with some terrific pictures, three of which I show below. It also has TWO BONUS TRACKS ! .... giving it a run time of 61:32.

It also contains a sheet, printing the Yoko Ono catalogue available on Rykodisc.

The Bonus Tracks :

Track Composer Recording Information Time
Song For John Ono John strumming a "Dear Prudence" style chord sequence, with Yoko singing.
At the end John says, "Enough, stop and wind back".
Mulberry Ono Randon guitar pickings from John, then after 1:16 Yoko starts to sing the word "Mulberry". This soon degenerates into shrieking, with even more bizarre noises from the guitar. 8:57

Life With The Lions - Picture From C.D. Booklet Life With The Lions - Picture From C.D. Booklet
Life With The Lions - Picture From C.D. Booklet Life With The Lions - Picture From C.D. Booklet
Life With The Lions - Picture From C.D. Booklet
Life With The Lions - Picture From C.D. Booklet

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