John Lennon - Unfinished Music No.1
When John Lennon presented his fellow Beatles with the cover art for Unfinished Music No.1, Two Virgins in November of 1968, everybody recoiled. McCarthy's quote sat beneath Lennon and his lover, Yoko Ono, holding hands naked in their bedroom with postcoital grins.
EMI's lordly chairman, Sir Joseph Lockwood, refused to distribute the record, pronouncing John and Yoko "ugly". In America, Capitol Records balked, and even when the album was shipped through an independent distributor, New jersey authorities confiscated thirty thound copies, declaring the cover "obscene". Controversy subsumed the record's experimental sounds.
Nobody could understand why John Lennon would deliberately extend the public-relations debacle he had already created by leaving his British wife and child for a Japanese-American "conceptual artist", especially on the eve of the first Beatles album in eighteen months, the double White Album (originally The Beatles).
Time has papered over the photograph's insolence: Lennon was pouring acid on the Beatles myth, demonstrating how shallow and ridiculous pop stardom seemed even as his band hit new creative peaks.
This would be just the first of many media campaigns John Lennon waged to kick his way out of the Beatles.