Iconic Photos

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Lennon-Ono Bed-in

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Every generation has its couples who mesmerize the public: General and Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, Kahlo and Rivera, Jack and Jackie Kennedy, Brangelina, etc. In the late 60s, it was Yoko Ono and John Lennon. They married on March 20, 1969 in Gibraltar. Knowing that their wedding would cause a huge stir in the press, John Lennon and Yoko Ono decided to use their honeymoon to help champion world peace. On March 25, the duo climbed into their honeymoon bed of room 902 at the Amsterdam Hilton and called the media.

Because of their well known proclivity for appearing in the nude, the press assumed that Ono and Lennon would have sex in front of the cameras. Instead, the two appeared in pyjamas and talked about world peace. The press was invited into their rooms from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for seven days, but many journalists didn’t take the bed-in seriously, saying they were merely publicity stunts. However, there were many prominent photographers present during the week long bed-in, including Roy Kerwood, Elmar Welge, Nico Koster, Cor Jaring, Gerry Deiter, Ivor Sharp and Bob Gruen.

After the Amsterdam stunt, Ono and Lennon held their “Bagism” press conference in Vienna Austria. In their view, by living in a bag, a person could not be judged on the basis of appearance. They went on to stage a second event in Montreal, where they stayed in rooms 1738-40-02 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. On June 1, 1969, they recorded the song “Give Peace A Chance” there, accompanied by a roomful of people that included Tommy Smothers, Timothy Leary, and members of the Canadian Radha Krishna Temple. The song became popular, reaching no. 14 on the Billboard chart.


Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

July 30, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Posted in Culture, Politics

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. This is a mixed-up item. Photos from Amsterdam – photographers that were only in Montreal mentioned. I can tell right away Amsterdam photos – Lennon and Ono look nervous, uncomfortable. At that time, they were test-driving their concept and by the time they got to Montreal, they were ready to rumble. “We’re going to sell peace the way other people sell soap” said john to photographer Gerry Deiter in Montreal. Deiter was the only photographer there the entire 8 days. He kept the images and ony upon his death, are we able to see them in a beautiful book – Give Peace A Chance (Wiley sons) . Yoko also contributed a heartfelt piece looking back and to the future.

    Joan Athey

    August 6, 2009 at 6:43 am

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