Contact Us

The Story of the Beatles’ Experimental Zapple Records

Subscribe to Ultimate Classic Rock on

In the summer of 1968, the Beatles issued their first release on their own Apple Records imprint with the single “Hey Jude.” A few months later, the idea for a side label, Zapple Records, existing solely for the purpose of putting out more experimental outings, was proposed.

On May 9, 1969, two Beatles-related releases, George Harrison‘s Electronic Sound and John Lennon and Yoko Ono‘s Unfinished Music No 2: Life With the Lions, became Zapple’s first records. The label was run by author Barry Miles, who also happened to be a close friend of Paul McCartney.

Lennon and Ono put their avant-garde selves on display with Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With the Lions,’ which was, in some ways, like wandering into the middle of the off-kilter duo’s life at the time. Odd little tracks like “Mulberry” and “No Bed for Beatle John” were sung by Ono while Lennon noodled away on guitar. Side one was taken up with a single piece, a 27-minute piece of insanity called “Cambridge 1969,” which is essentially a battle between Ono’s screaming and Lennon’s howling guitar feedback. “Baby’s Heartbeat” is self-explanatory, as is “Two Minutes of Silence.”

Neither of Zapple’s albums sold well, though Electronic Sound crack Billboard‘s chart with a No. 191 showing before dropping off the very next week. Once manager Allen Klein was in full control of the Beatles’ business, he demanded that Zapple be closed, and planned releases by comedian Lenny Bruce and poet Richard Brautigan never came out.

Even with so many years in the distance, these two Zapple albums still sound like they came from another planet. This was barely six years after the release of Please Please Me.  Things certainly moved at a different pace back then.

Beatles Albums Ranked Worst to Best

Next: Top 50 Beatles Songs

Recommended For You

Around the Web

Best of Ultimate Classic Rock

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for Ultimate Classic Rock quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!