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John Lennon and Yoko Ono Start Their “Bed-In”

bed in

John Lennon and Yoko Ono in their hotel room at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.

On March 25, 1969, John Lennon and his new wife, Yoko Ono, staged their first “Bed-In For Peace.” These “Bed-Ins,” based on sit-in protests, were meant to be experimental tests to promote peace and protest war. Lennon and Ono spent their honeymoon in Amsterdam, 5 days after their wedding, sitting in their hotel room bed, discussing peace while the press was allowed to come in to their room to ask questions and take photographs of the famous couple.

The couple knew their marriage would be a high profile event that the press would latch on to, so they took this publicity opportunity to convey to the world their thoughts on peace. Starting on March 25, and lasting an entire week until March 31, Lennon and Ono took up residence in the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel’s Room 902, spending the entire time in their bed and allowing press to visit from 9 AM – 9 PM daily. Because Lennon and Ono were known for previous lascivious public images of themselves they had used as promotional material, most of the press expected something lewd upon visiting the hotel room of the two stars. Instead, they found Lennon and Ono in their pajamas, comfortably sitting up in their hotel bed with signs that read “Hair Peace” and “Bed Peace” above them. The two discussed their visions of world peace with the press and their opposition to the Vietnam War and the Cold War.

Most of the press that covered this protest/performance “peace” did not take it seriously, but Lennon insisted that that was exactly what Ono and he wanted. “It’s part of our policy not to be taken seriously. Our opposition, whoever they may be, in all manifest forms, don’t know how to handle humour. And we are humorous,” said Lennon.

Seven days later, the couple flew to Vienna, Austria where they held a press conference to discuss Bagism, which was a term created by Lennon and Ono to satirize prejudice and stereotyping. Bagism literally involved encapsulating oneself in a bag, so that no judgement about the outward appearance of a person could be made, and people could only judge someone by the vocal messages they conveyed. It was viewed as a form of total communication.

The Amsterdam Bed-In was not the only one performed by Lennon and Ono. In May of 1969, the couple again reenacted their previous peaceful form of protest in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. It was here that they recorded “Give Peace a Chance” with other notable individuals. Later that year, they further publicly spread their message of peace by displaying on billboards in 11 major American cities, “WAR IS OVER! If You Want It – Happy Christmas From John and Yoko”. A documentary film made of the two’s Bed-Ins can be watched here.

The impact made by Lennon and Ono’s Bed Ins has been seen in the several popular culture references made about the peaceful protests, and protest groups and artists around the world have reenacted the famous “peace” since the 1960s.

Sources: Wikipedia, TIME, The Guardian, NPR

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The Beatles First U.S. Visit

beatles1stvisitcalendarOn February 7, 1964, British rock and roll band, The Beatles, made their first trip to the United States on Pan Am Flight 101 from London to New York City. What ensued is what was soon dubbed as “Beatlemania.”

The Beatles, made up of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, began gaining commercial success in the United Kingdom in 1962 and successfully toured the country for a year. With the release of the single “I Want to Hold Your Hand” selling over 1.5 million copies in less than three weeks, The Beatles’ popularity in the United States began to skyrocket in early 1964 and there was a high demand for the band to finally make their way across the pond.

Worried that the initial impact of their single might have worn off and that their scheduled appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show would not do much to capture the hearts of American teenagers, the band members were apprehensive about the trip. Those feelings were put to rest in the few minutes before their landing when the pilots told the musicians that fans were swarming at the airport to catch a glimpse of them, knocking over barricades and scrambling over fences. Harrison noted, “Seeing thousands of kids there to meet us made us realize just how popular we were there.” The British Invasion had officially started.

beatleswallBeatlemania came at a time when America was shrouded with grief and fear over the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Their upbeat music and personalities were a welcome distraction to a distraught nation. Their first visit, which had been advertised across the U.S. on 5 million posters, was well-received, with the band doing a series of television performances and concerts. Their success allowed them to return for another series of tours in the U.S. in August of that year and again in August of 1965. Their last tour came in 1966, and although their fan base and commercial success in the U.S. was still large, they also received severe backlash from religious protesters after a comment Lennon made in an interview stating, “We’re more popular than Jesus now.” This incident and their boredom over performing live caused this to be their last tour. The band then focused on recording new studio material.

The impact The Beatles made with their first U.S. visit is one that has gone mostly unparalleled by other musicians and they are still recognized as one of the most highly influential bands in rock and roll music.

Sources: Wikipedia, TIME Entertainment, The Beatles Bible

 

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The Beatles’ Last Performance

On January 30, 1969, legendary rock and roll band, The Beatles, performed for the last time ever as a group.

The Beatles were filming a documentary titled Let It Be, which captured their exchanges with one another and their recording sessions in the Apple Studios building in London, England. During filming, the high tensions between band mates John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr were made apparent.

At one point, they decided that their creativity was being stifled inside of the studio. They decided to move all of their equipment up five stories to the roof of Apple Studios and give an impromptu concert to the Central London lunch hour crowd. They hadn’t performed together live since their last concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 1966, and this rooftop performance would be their last.

The songs they performed are as follows: “Get Back” (5 versions), “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” “Don’t Let Me Down” (2 versions), “I’ve Got a Feeling,” “One After 909,” “Danny Boy,” “Dig a Pony” (2 versions), “God Save the Queen,” and “A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody.”

Upon being shut down by police, John Lennon addressed the crowd:

I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition.

Sources: Beatles Bible, Wikipedia

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Paul McCartney’s Birthday

Today Sir Paul McCartney turns 70 years old!

One of (if not THE) most successful musicians, singer-songwriters, composers, and recording artists of all time, McCartney is one of the founding members of the legendary group, The Beatles, and half of arguably the best writing duo of all time. Even after The Beatles broke up, he found solo success and formed the group Wings. On top of his success as a musician, singer-songwriter, composer, music and film producer, and businessman, McCartney has been involved in a variety of international charities, published a volume of poems and lyrics, campaigned against landmines and seal hunting, taken part in art exhibitions showcasing his paintings, and advocated for animal rights, vegetarianism, and music education.

Even at 70, he’s not finished yet…In the next year alone, McCartney will perform at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, release a new solo album in 2013, and continue rocking the stage while on tour.

Celebrate today by listening to your favorite Beatles songs!

McCartney by the numbers…
15: Age McCartney met John Lennon.
1960: Year The Beatles was officially formed.
2,200+: Number of artists who have covered McCartney’s Beatles song “Yesterday.”
1970: Year McCartney announced his departure from The Beatles. The band was officially dissolved five years later.
60: Number of gold discs McCartney has under his belt.
5: Number of instruments McCartney plays (piano, drums, and bass, acoustic, and electric guitars).
32: Number of McCartney’s songs, written or co-written, that have hit the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
6: Number of postage stamps McCartney designed for the Isle of Man Post.
£475 million: McCartney’s estimated fortune in 2010 (that’s roughly $715 million).

 

Sources: Wikipedia, ABC News

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