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Unfinished Music #2: Life With The Lions

Yoko Ono, John Lennon, Bob James, John Lennon & Ono YokoAudio CD
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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Audio CD, 1997 --  
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Audio Cassette, 1969 --  

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Unfinished Music #2: Life With The Lions + Wedding Album + Live Peace In Toronto [Vinyl]
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 3, 1997)
  • Original Release Date: 1968
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rykodisc
  • ASIN: B0000009RF
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,216 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Cambridge 1969
2. No Bed For Beatle John
3. Baby's Heartbeat
4. Two Minutes Silence
5. Radio Play
6. Song For John
7. Mulberry

Editorial Reviews

From the Label

Life With The Lions creeps sideways into the details of Yoko's miscarriage.

Yoko & John's second release of sound art. "I make sounds to look at. This I know from Yoko. I live in her shadow."--THURSTON MOORE (Sonic Youth)

Recorded 1969.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Volume Two of John and Yoko's Life as Art. July 23, 2003
Format:Audio CD
While John and Yoko's first album "Two Virgins" got plenty of attention because of its nude album cover photos, their second album "Life With The Lions" only got scant attention. The album is a continuation of John and Yoko attempting to present their lives together as art.
The opening track "Cambridge 1969" was recorded live at Cambridge University during an unusual avant-garde jazz concert. For 26-minutes, Yoko is heard screeching, screaming, cackling, howling and doing who knows what else while John Lennon brutalizes his electric guitar with atonal feedback behind her. This piece continues in this fashion for much of its duration. It's only towards the end that some additional help comes along. Percussionist John Stevens and Sax player John Tchicai join John and Yoko during the last six minutes. After Yoko shuts up and John turns off his amplifier, the two other John's continue playing alone as the piece fades out.
The second half of the album was recorded at Queen Charlotte Hospital in London where Yoko was pregnant but ultimately suffered a miscarriage. "No Bed For Beatle John" consists of Yoko (with John in the background) putting various press articles on the couple to music. It is sung in a the style of a Gregorian chant.
This is followed by "Baby's Heartbeat", a five-minute tapeloop of the heartbeat of John and Yoko's unborn child who was miscarried shortly after this recording was made.
Next up is the self-explanitory "Two Minutes Silence". This was obviously influenced by composer John Cage's piece entitled "4:33" which sounds exactly like "Two Minutes Silence" only longer.
The album closes with "Radio Play" which is 12 and 1/2 minutes of someone rhythmically shutting a radio on and off while playing with its tuner.
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30 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Least Obvious of the three experimental albums. December 7, 1998
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
What do you hear when you put "Life With the Lions" in your stereo? Well, first comes "Cambrige 1969", an extraordinarily long jam with John simply abusing guitars to produce feedback as Yoko screams and yells for about 26:30. The you hear a soft ballad, sans-instruments, about John losing his hospital bed, and various other things going on in the lives of John and Yoko. Then "Baby's Heartbeat", wisely followed by "Two Minutes Silence." Finally (for the old version) "Radio Play" a piece where John speaks in the background as Yoko flips through the various stations on the radio, producing one-nanosecond bursts of sound along the way. Two bonus tracks follow on the new version, "Song for John", and "Mulberry". "Song for John" is as close to a normal song you will find on "Lions," where "Mulberry" is more of the Avant Garde. When you know the story of the album, it is so much more interesting. Basically, Yoko is pregnant, due in February. She goes to the hospital for observation with John at her side the whole way. (He loses his bed and has to lie on a sleeping bag, however.) Well, Yoko's baby is miscarriaged. I do not know when it happened, that would change a lot about track #3, "Baby's Heartbeat." Laughing at the beginning of the track would suggest that the baby was alive at the time of the recording, but either way, it is a very sad, touching expirience. They may have had so much hope for the baby, only to have it flushed away. "Baby's Heartbeat" may have become a gift for the baby, instead it stands as a memorial. This CD is a lot of noise, however it was definitely structured. Read more ›
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another wonderful record from John & Yoko February 12, 2003
Format:Audio CD
Track by track:
1. "Cambridge 1969" -- Yoko sings free jazz (in the same manner that people play it on wind instruments). The sounds she makes are absolutely astonishing. How does she do it without frying her voice? How does she overcome physiological barriers? If you know how to listen to a pitch or timbral curve, she not only calls and responds with her own phrases, she calls and responds with John's feedback guitar. I once spoke to John Tchicai about this track and he smiled really wide and recalled it very fondly, so they must have been having fun. He also informed me the performance went on much longer without John & Yoko (John & Yoko's sets blended with Tchicai and John Stevens), typical for free jazz performances. Check Alan Silva's "Seasons" for a 2 hour and 26 minute big band freakout -- something really astonishing and scary if this floats your boat.
2. "No Bed For Beatle John" -- Funnily enough the chants in this song are catchy enough that I find myself sometimes humming the melody to this song. This is a nifty trick. I wonder what John & Yoko were thinking about as they were reading these newspaper accounts.
3. "Baby's Heartbeat/Two Minutes Silence" -- I've always thought these tracks went together. You hear John and Yoko shuffling to get the microphone onto Yoko's belly to record the heartbeat, and you hear it churning along like a Hafler Trio track. And suddenly it quits just as you've hit the point that George Clinton calls "where repetition becomes sacred." The vigil for the loss of the baby in the two minutes silence gives you plenty to ponder as the track passes and you hear the ambience of your surroundings.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking
You can imagine what the general public must have thought when this album, Life with the Lions, was released. Read more
Published 2 months ago by The Peripatetic Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars What every Beatles/Lennon collector should have
This is by far not my favorite "music", but as a collector of all things Beatles, this is a must have.
Published 4 months ago by Lea Kayson
1.0 out of 5 stars Worth melting!
In 1969, when I was 9 years old, this album made it's way into my house via my sister's friend's older brother who just wanted this crap out of his record collection. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Howie Lord
1.0 out of 5 stars Nonsensical lunacy...even if 1 out of 10,000 call it 'art'
Plato, Locke, Praetorius, Bach, Michelangelo, heck, even Fleetwood Mac, then....this? Has the long development of Western civilization really led to this? Read more
Published 19 months ago by Steve
1.0 out of 5 stars Really? more like Life With The Crap
can't even call this avant garde music because it's just random sounds they are making while the tape is running. Anybody with a tape recorder can do that. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Tall Paul
3.0 out of 5 stars Life With The Lions
I have the Z apple lable record. I know its a type of sound art that Yoko loves to do. Some tracks on the album are, No bed For Beatle John, Yoko singing news headlines. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Pete Darling
5.0 out of 5 stars I Was Wrong
When I Was About 14 Or 15 Years Old I Bought This CD Thinking It Was A John Lennon Yoko Ono Collaboration Like Double Fantasy Well Back Then I Was Too Unsophisticated To Realize I... Read more
Published on August 15, 2012 by Earl Millard
1.0 out of 5 stars Both Albums Are Pointless Drivel
To begin, I do not place any blame on the Amazon sellers who sold these 3 albums--it is not their fault that I bought them. Read more
Published on July 26, 2012 by Kurt
4.0 out of 5 stars A recorded diary of a troubled but liberating time
This album has a long performance art piece on the first side, and on the second side includes the listener in a hospital stay during which Yoko miscarried a baby conceived with... Read more
Published on July 8, 2012 by M. Emery
4.0 out of 5 stars This is John AND Yoko, not The Beatles
...but 1-star reviewers do not get it. In fact, many did not even bother to listen. Instead they just regurgitate the same tired and old: "This is not like The Beatles, so I hate... Read more
Published on May 19, 2011 by Charles Miller
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