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John Lennon and Yoko Ono - Reissues album review

It’s not rock’n’roll – but for the most part, we still quite like it...

No one understood the gaps between commercial music and experiment more than Yoko Ono (New York art) and her collaborator John Lennon (world-famous pop star). Their first record together, Two Virgins (510), released in ’68, is still far from easy listening, being tape collage, random sounds and the first appearance of Yoko’s from-nowhere stormy squall.

On their second collaboration, Life With The Lions (510) – recorded at a time when, in the midst of mass media hatred, Yoko One lost her baby – there’s anger and sadness in the emotion (the self-explanatory Baby’s Heartbeat is almost impossible to listen to), and there’s also a rage that’s absent from the contemporaneous Beatle single The Ballad Of John And Yoko.

By the time of 1970’s Plastic Ono Band (710), Ono and Lennon were creating a more conventional sound but it was still largely unacceptable to many. But this record set the template for avant-garde rock ever after, with its screams, jagged riffs and confrontational lyrics.