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On this day in music history: November 11, 1968 - Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins by John Lennon and Yoko Ono is released (UK release date is on November 29, 1968). Produced by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, it is recorded at Kenwood Sun Room (John Lennon home studio) in Weybridge, Surrey, UK on May 19, 1968. The avant garde recording is the result of an all-night recording session consisting of tape loops combined with minimal instrumentation, sound effects, and ad-libbed dialogue between Lennon and Ono. The album will become infamous for its cover art which feature photos of the couple naked on both the front and back of the LP. This will stir up such great controversy that Apple Records' US distributor Capitol Records and UK distributor EMI will refuse to handle the album. Tetragrammaton Records will distribute it in the US, while Track Records will distribute it in the UK (limited to only 5,000 copies). Retailers outraged by the nudity on the cover will only agree to sell it if it is packaged in a brown paper bag. Though in one instance, 30,000 copies of the album are seized from a distributor in New Jersey. Treated more as a curiosity by fans, the album will be officially reissued in the US by Rykodisc in 1997. Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins will peak at #124 on the Billboard Top 200.
On this day in music history: November 11, 1975 - Gratitude, the seventh album by Earth, Wind & Fire is released. Produced by Maurice White, Charles Stepney, and Joe Wissert (live tracks), it is recorded in Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Atlanta, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC from late 1974 - mid 1975 (live tracks) and Hollywood Sound and Wally Heider Studios in Hollywood in June of 1975 (studio tracks). Following their huge breakthrough success with "That's The Way Of The World," Columbia Records will request another album from the band to be released in time for the 1975 Christmas holiday season. Not having enough time or new material written to record a brand new studio album, they begin recording their live shows. The finished album will be a two-LP set with three sides of live material and a fourth side with five new songs. It will spin off the hits "Sing A Song" (#1 R&B, #5 Pop) and "Can't Hide Love (#11 R&B, #39 Pop). The album will be regarded by many fans and critics as one of the best live recordings of all time. "Gratitude" will spend three weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, six weeks (non-consecutive) on the R&B album chart, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.