To celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary, Yoko Ono will release a special reissue of ‘Wedding Album’, out this Friday 22nd March with Chimera Music and Secretly Canadian. Its release comes 50 years after Yoko and John were married - to mark the golden wedding anniversary of two of the 20th century’s most emblematic cultural figures.
Originally released in 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s ‘Wedding Album’ was the couple’s third experimental, album-length record, following ‘Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins’ (1968) and ‘Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions’ (1969). ‘Wedding Album’ has been often cited as the most remarkable of the duo’s testaments to an intense romantic and artistic partnership that would last 14 years, until Lennon’s tragic passing in 1980.
As Lennon later recalled, the two artists first met in late 1966, when Ono was preparing an exhibition of her conceptual art in London. On 20th March 1969, John and Yoko were married in a civil service in Gibraltar. To celebrate the event, in lieu of a conventional honeymoon, the newlyweds spent a week in bed at the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam, inviting members of the press into their room for interviews and photo sessions to call attention to their campaign for world peace.
With ‘Wedding Album’, Lennon and Ono created an enduring snapshot of a vibrant pop-cultural moment, with the hostilities of the Vietnam War as its backdrop. The album features ‘John & Yoko,’ a call-and-response duet, which features John and Yoko calling out each other’s names seductively and playfully over the sound of their heartbeat as well as clips from interviews with reports and John’s acapella version of the Beatles’ song ‘Good Night’. Altogether, ‘Wedding Album’ captures the humour, earnestness and spontaneity that marked the early years of the ‘Ballad of John and Yoko’ era.
Side-two of ‘Wedding Album’ features ‘Amsterdam’ – a sound collage that features snippets of reporters noting that some observers were ‘suspicious’ of Lennon and Ono’s very public actions. Alongside this is Ono’s voice saying ‘In our way, we’re just announcing [that] we’re open to all invitations or suggestions to work for world peace. Let them criticise us.’
Wedding Album’s innovative, original packaging was created by graphic designer John Kosh. It includes a box filled with souvenirs of John and Yoko’s nuptials including photographs, a copy of the couple’s marriage certificate, Lennon’s and Ono’s own drawings of their wedding and Bed-in honeymoon, a photograph of a slice of wedding cake and more. Speaking of the album years later, Lennon told the BBC: ‘It was like our sharing our wedding with whoever wanted to share it with us.
'Wedding Album’ will be released on limited-edition, white-vinyl LP; compact disc; and digital-download formats.