Tittenhurst Park

This Tittenhurst Park blog is dedicated to John Lennon's home in Sunningdale, near Ascot, Berkshire between 1969 and 1971. The aim is to gather as much material relating to the estate as possible - obviously with the emphasis on the Lennon-era, but also concerning Tittenhurst Park as it was before and after John Lennon's ownership. In addition, there will be posts about and associated with the Beatles, plus any other rubbish I feel like. The blog is purely meant for the entertainment of anyone (assuming there is actually anyone) who, like me, has an unhealthy interest in one particular Georgian mansion. Those with anything interesting to contribute in the way of links, photos, scans, stories etc. please do contact me: tittenhurstlennon@gmail.com
(Legal: this blog is strictly non-commercial. All material is the property of the photographer/artist/copyright holder concerned. Any such who wishes a picture etc to be removed should contact me and I will do so. Alternatively, if someone is happy to see their photo on here, but would like a credit/link then let me know and I'll be happy to provide one).


Unfinished Music No.2: Life With The Lions

In May 1969 John Lennon bought Tittenhurst Park and issued "Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With The Lions" with Yoko Ono. In September John first introduced the "Plastic Ono Band" on record.

It was the successor to 1968's highly controversial Unfinished Music No.1: Two Virgins. The title parodies the BBC radio drama Life with the Lyons, which had been a favourite of Lennon's.

The album opens with an extended and improvised recording entitled "Cambridge 1969", recorded on 2 March at Cambridge University, before a live audience. The piece consists of Yoko Ono's vocalisations accompanied by electric guitar feedback from John Lennon. Saxophonist John Tchicai and percussionist John Stevens join Ono and Lennon towards the end of the piece.

The remainder of the album was recorded on a cassette tape in their suite at Queen Charlotte's Hospital in London during November 1968, where Ono would suffer the first of three miscarriages by the couple. "No Bed For Beatle John" consists of John and Yoko singing the text of press clippings about themselves, in a cappella chant style. "Baby's Heartbeat" is a recording (made with a Nagra microphone) of the ill-fated child's actual palpitations. "Two Minutes Silence" follows, sometimes compared to composer John Cage's 4'33", but intended as a memoriam for the baby, "and for all violence and death." The album closes with "Radio Play"; thirteen minutes of a radio dial flipped back and forth with brief moments of John Lennon making a telephone call in the background. (Incidentally, The Beatles song "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" is discernible amongst the radio static during this recording.)

The album's front cover photo was taken while Ono was bedridden at Queen Charlotte's with Lennon by her side, while the back cover was a news photo of Lennon and Ono leaving Marylebone Police Station, after their arrest for hashish possession on 18 October 1968. (The back also carried a 'quote' from Beatles producer George Martin: "No comment.")

Unfinished Music No.2: Life with the Lions failed to chart in the UK, but managed a #174 peak in the US; Lennon told the media later they'd sold about 60,000 copies in the States. (He and Ono were disappointed that Apple Records in the UK hadn't given any promotion to the album, or included it in any advertising.)

Unfinished Music No.2: Life with the Lions was initially released on the Apple Records subsidiary label, Zapple Records, but was reissued through Rykodisc in 1997 with two previously unreleased bonus tracks, "Song For John" and "Mulberry". These two tracks stem from the Queen Charlotte Hospital recordings - the source for the second half of the LP.

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