John & Yoko: Two Minutes Silence (2:00)

From the album Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With The Lions 1969

(Zapple 01)

By Madeline Bocaro ©


A very odd zen piece appears on track 3 of the follow-up to John & Yoko’s album Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins.


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‘Two Minutes Silence’ preceded John & Yoko’s silent ‘Nutopian National Anthem’ (1973) by four years. Both of these Lennon/Ono pieces quite possibly sample ‘4:33’ by John Cage (1952). It is not known if John and Yoko paid him royalties on the silence.

It could be an homage to the child that Yoko miscarried in November 1968 at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital, London whose heartbeat is featured on Track 2 (‘Baby’s Heartbeat’).

We could say that this piece was replicated worldwide on December 14, 1980 when Yoko declared a ‘Ten Minutes Silence’ vigil in Central park in tribute to John six days after his death.

Perhaps the title references the Australian anti-war film Two Minutes Silence  made in the year of Yoko’s birth, 1933. The lost film directed by the McDonagh sisters was set during World War I.  It was Australia’s first anti-war movie.

The best mashup ever:

John Cage “Silence” & John & Yoko’s “Two Minutes Silence” – with lyrics!


Yoko & John & John Cage discuss vocalizing on Bank Street:


A strange and humorous commemorative bootleg 45 exists on a faux Apple label with ‘Two Minutes Silence’ Lennon/Omo (Disco Remix) on Side A and the same track by Lennon/Obo (Remix and Demo) ANTAR 4501 produced by The Shaved Fish (Armstrong Whitworth (Bag) – mimicking the PLAY LOUD instruction on the ‘Instant Karma!’ single.


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