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  • The cover of a John Lennon album features him and Yoko Ono naked.
  • John said “people got so upset by it.”
  • The former Beatle said his relationship to the press changed after the release of the album.
John Lennon holding a guitar
John Lennon | Max Scheler – K & K/Redferns

One of John Lennon‘s albums features him and Yoko Ono nude on the cover. Subsequently, John responded to the claim he and Yoko only created the cover for “shock value.” Notably, the album became far more popular in the United States than it was in the United Kingdom.

The nude photo on the cover of 1 of John Lennon’s albums wasn’t created for shock value

The front cover of the album Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins (1968) features John and Yoko nude. According to the book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko On, John discussed the album cover in 1980. “It was insane!” he said. “People got so upset by it — the fact that two people were naked.”

John responded to the claim he and Yoko got naked for shock value. “Well, that’s ridiculous, you know,” he said. “Later people started saying, ‘They’ll do anything for publicity,’ and then when we stopped talking to the press, we became ‘recluses,’ but we got more publicity than when we talked to the press.”

John Lennon stopped talking to the press and compared himself to Greta Garbo and Howard Hughes

John discussed the time he and Yoko spent as “recluses.” “We just stopped talking to the press,” he recalled. “The rest of our lives was as busy and full of things happening as it ever was. Our life is quite as interesting without the media as it is with the media.”

John compared himself to two other reclusive celebrities: Greta Garbo and Howard Hughes. “During that time I was calling myself Greta Hughes or Howard Garbo,” he remembered. “The press was more intrigued than when we were talking all the time. ‘They went here,’ or ‘They were sighted there … ‘It became fun for us to watch because we hadn’t gone anywhere or said anything.”


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How ‘Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins’ and its sequel album performed in the United States and the United Kingdom

Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins reached No. 124 on the Billboard 200. It stayed on the chart for eight weeks. The album’s sequel, Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions reached No. 174 and stayed on the chart for eight weeks.

According to The Official Charts Company, the Unfinished Music albums were even less popular in the United Kingdom. There, neither of the albums charted.

Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins is one of the most famous avant-garde albums of all time even if it caused controversy.