Thursday, April 11, 2019

Bed-In for Peace


In March 1969, the press received word that John Lennon was holding court for… something or other at the Amsterdam Hilton. It was a Beatle, so it didn't matter what. John and Yoko Ono had married, in secret, five days prior in Gibraltar. They would use the associated press coverage upon their announcement to "Spread the message of love, like butter."

The couple appeared naked on the cover of their 1968 LP Unfinished Music No.1: Two Virgins, an unmade bed behind them. So, when journalists heard they'd get access to Lennon and Ono in their honeymoon suite, they arrived hoping to witness a sideshow. What they found were John and Yoko in white pajamas and robes surrounded by bouquets and posters about Peace and Love.

From March 25th through 31st in Amsterdam—and then from May 26th to June 2nd at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, Canada—Lennon and Ono received visitors between the 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. They held babies and gave advice sometimes straight from Beatles lyrics: "Come together" or "All you need is love!" The philosophical art project lasted more than two months. Keep in mind, this was coming off a Beatles year that included the release of the White Album, the film and soundtrack to Yellow Submarine and Abbey Road.


Sometimes the message was so simple it came off as cryptic. Lennon said simply, "It's an achievement to eat your breakfast and it’s an achievement to brush your teeth." Simple philosophy really. A better world comes from a better home, but even that can be a challenge.

Rolling Stone said, "A five-hour talk between John Lennon and Richard Nixon would be more significant than any Geneva Summit Conference between the U.S.A. and Russia." Lennon himself said that Henry Ford knew how to sell cars by advertising. "I sell peace and Yoko and I are just a big advertising campaign." He'd go on to say, "Really, we're Mr. and Mrs. Peace."

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