How John & Yoko almost recorded Virgin Records’ first single
- By Richard Branson -
- Oct 19, 2012
The last time I saw John Lennon was on the roof of Apple many years ago with Yoko Ono.
When I was a teen, around 17 years old, John promised to supply a single for the cover of Student Magazine. We were understandably over the moon. In a roundabout way, it would have been Virgin Records’ first single.
They were a fairly erratic organisation led by Derek Taylor. I printed 100,000 copies of the magazine, had the artwork all around it and was just waiting for the single to complete the cover. They completely forgot about it.
We were facing bankruptcy. I went over to meet John, Yoko and Derek to try to see what could be done. John and Yoko had recorded their baby's heartbeat before it sadly passed away. Yoko was crying her eyes out, John was comforting her and this poignant heartbeat was ringing out of the room. Then there was silence. They submitted this as an alternative for us to use for Student Magazine.
I (most likely foolishly) didn't put the record out. Instead we scrapped the issue of the magazine. In retrospect I should have just gone with it.
John and Yoko released the song as ‘Baby's Heartbeat’ on their ‘Unfinished Music No.2: Life with the Lions’ album. Although we were in financial trouble I dropped them a line saying we had no hard feelings. We remained friends and put it behind us. Derek wrote me a letter. It simply said: "Many thanks. All You Need Is Love."
By Richard Branson. Founder of Virgin Group