Milk and Honey
Studio album by
Released27 January 1984 (1984-01-27)
RecordedOctober–November 1979
August–December 1980
LabelPolydor (first edition), Capitol (reissues)
ProducerJohn Lennon, Yoko Ono
John Lennon chronology
The John Lennon Collection
Milk and Honey
Live in New York City
Yoko Ono chronology
It's Alright (I See Rainbows)
Milk and Honey
Singles from Milk and Honey
  1. "Nobody Told Me"
    Released: 6 January 1984
  2. "Borrowed Time"
    Released: 9 March 1984 (UK)
  3. "I'm Stepping Out"
    Released: 15 March 1984 (US)

Milk and Honey is the sixth and final studio album by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, released in January 1984, three years after Lennon’s murder. It is Lennon's eighth and final album, and the first posthumous release of new Lennon music, having been recorded in the last months of his life during and following the sessions for his 1980 album Double Fantasy. It was assembled by Yoko Ono in association with the Geffen label.


Milk and Honey was the duo's projected follow-up to Double Fantasy, though Lennon's murder caused a temporary shelving of the project. It took Ono three years to be able to resume work to complete it. Ono's material largely comprises new recordings which she undertook during the album's preparation in 1983, which give her songs a more commercial and contemporary edge. Conversely, Lennon's material, being rough takes and rehearsal recordings, has a more casual feeling.

The album's title came from Ono, who explained that it referred to their journey to the US, "the land of milk and honey". "But also, in the Scripture, the land of milk and honey is where you go after you die, as a promised land", Ono went on to say. "So it's very strange that I thought of that title. Almost scary – like someone up there told me to call the next album Milk and Honey".[1] The cover is an alternate take from the same photo session that produced the front cover of Double Fantasy, though this photo appears in colour.[2]

Music and lyrics

"Nobody Told Me", a song Lennon intended for Ringo Starr's 1981 album Stop and Smell the Roses, was released as a single and became a worldwide Top 10 hit. Other singles from the album were "I'm Stepping Out" and "Borrowed Time". The songs "Let Me Count the Ways" and "Grow Old with Me" were written by Lennon and Ono to each other using inspiration from poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning. They are presented in their demo form.[3]

Ultimate Classic Rock critic Nick DeRiso called "I Don't Want to Face It" the most underrated song on Milk and Honey, describing it as being "complicated, just like Lennon, brutally frank and sort of tossed off, too".[4]

Release and aftermath

Professional ratings
Review scores
Robert ChristgauA[6]
Rolling Stone[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[10]

After falling out with David Geffen, whose Geffen Records had initially released Double Fantasy, Ono moved future projects to Polydor Records, which initially released Milk and Honey.[2] EMI, home of Lennon's entire recorded output—including that with the Beatles—acquired this and all Lennon releases in the late 1990s.

Milk and Honey did not match the commercial success met by Double Fantasy in the wake of Lennon's death, but it was still well received, peaking at No. 3 in the UK and No. 11 in the US, where it went gold. Jack Douglas, who had co-produced Double Fantasy with Lennon and Ono, also had input into the initial sessions for Milk and Honey, though Ono declined to credit him after their professional relationship soured following Lennon's death. Shortly after the album's release, Douglas filed a lawsuit against Ono, which resulted in him being awarded an undetermined share of revenues from Milk and Honey.[13]

In 2001, Ono supervised the remastering of Milk and Honey for its CD reissue, adding three bonus tracks and a 22-minute excerpt from Lennon's last interview in the late afternoon of 8 December 1980, 5 hours before his death.

The bonus tracks include home demo recordings of "I'm Stepping Out" and "I'm Moving On" (from Double Fantasy) along with a version of "Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him" featuring Lennon's vocals only, which was planned to be included on the Ono tribute album that was released in 1984, titled Every Man Has a Woman.

Track listing

Side one

  1. "I'm Stepping Out" (John Lennon) – 4:06
  2. "Sleepless Night" (Yoko Ono) – 2:34
  3. "I Don't Wanna Face It" (Lennon) – 3:22
  4. "Don't Be Scared" (Ono) – 2:45
  5. "Nobody Told Me" (Lennon) – 3:34
  6. "O' Sanity" (Ono) – 1:05

Side two

  1. "Borrowed Time" (Lennon) – 4:29
  2. "Your Hands" (Ono) – 3:04
  3. "(Forgive Me) My Little Flower Princess" (Lennon) – 2:28
  4. "Let Me Count the Ways" (Ono) – 2:17
  5. "Grow Old with Me" (Lennon) – 3:07
  6. "You're the One" (Ono) – 3:56
2001 reissue bonus tracks
13."Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him"Ono3:19
14."I'm Stepping Out" (home version)Lennon2:57
15."I'm Moving On" (home version)Ono1:20
16."John and Yoko interview by Dave Sholin and Laurie Kaye, 8 December 1980" 21:55



Certifications and sales

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[31] Gold 50,000^
Japan (Oricon Charts) 106,000[32]
United Kingdom (BPI)[33] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[34] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Ono, Yoko (October 2010). "Milk and Honey 2010 Remaster Liner Notes".
  2. ^ a b "US album release: Milk and Honey by John Lennon and Yoko Ono". 19 January 1984.
  3. ^ "Milk & Honey". Rolling Stone. March 1984.
  4. ^ DeRiso, Nick (5 June 2021). "Underrated John Lennon: The Most Overlooked Song from Each LP". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 3 January 2023.
  5. ^ Allmusic review
  6. ^ Robert Christgau review
  7. ^ Doyle, Tom (November 2010). "John Lennon Signature Box". Mojo. p. 114.
  8. ^ Gary Graff & Daniel Durchholz (eds), MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, Visible Ink Press (Farmington Hills, MI, 1999; ISBN 1-57859-061-2), p. 667.
  9. ^ Kemp, Mark (23 October 2007). "John Lennon – Reissues". Paste. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  10. ^ "John Lennon: Album Guide | Rolling Stone Music". Archived from the original on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014.((cite magazine)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  11. ^ Rolling Stone review
  12. ^ Mullholland, Garry (November 2010). "John Lennon – Remasters". Uncut. p. 108. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Yoko Ono Is Told to Pay Producer". The New York Times. 3 April 1984. Retrieved 30 November 2023.
  14. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  15. ^ " John Lennon / Yoko Ono – Milk and Honey". Hung Medien (in German). Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  16. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 39, No. 24, February 18, 1984". RPM. Archived from the original on 28 August 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  17. ^ " John Lennon / Yoko Ono – Milk and Honey". Hung Medien, (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  18. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  19. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2021). "John Lennon". Sisältää hitin - 2. laitos Levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla 1.1.1960–30.6.2021 (PDF) (in Finnish). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 146. Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  20. ^ "Classifiche". Musica e dischi (in Italian). Retrieved 24 January 2024. Select "Album" in the "Tipo" field, type "John Lennon" in the "Titolo" field and press "cerca".
  21. ^ "a-ビートルズ – Yamachan Land (Archives of the Japanese record charts) – Albums Chart Daijiten – The Beatles" (in Japanese). 30 December 2007. Archived from the original on 14 February 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  22. ^ " – John Lennon / Yoko Ono – Milk and Honey". Recording Industry Association of New Zea Land. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  23. ^ " John Lennon / Yoko Ono – Milk and Honey". Hung Medien, VG-lista. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  24. ^ " John Lennon / Yoko Ono – Milk and Honey". Hung Medien, (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  25. ^ "John Lennon / Yoko Ono – Milk and Honey —" (in German). Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  26. ^ "The Official Charts Company – John Lennon and Yoko Ono – Milk and Honey". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  27. ^ "allmusic ((( Milk and Honey > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  28. ^ "Album Search: John Lennon" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 3 October 2011.[dead link]
  29. ^ "Top 100 Albums of 1984". RPM. 5 January 1985. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  30. ^ "日本で売れた洋楽アルバムトップ30 (Top-30 international albums on the Japanese Oricon Year-End Charts 1984". Archived from the original on 21 October 2007. Retrieved 21 October 2007.
  31. ^ "Canadian album certifications – John Lennon & Yoko Ono – Milk and Honey". Music Canada.
  32. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  33. ^ "British album certifications – John Lennon/Yoko Ono – Milk and Honey". British Phonographic Industry.
  34. ^ "American album certifications – Lennon, John & Yoko Ono – Milk & Honey". Recording Industry Association of America.