A Decade Later, They Shot Him
A Brief Commentary and Memory in Time by Doug Draper
Posted June 1st, 2019 on Niagara At Large
In the spring of 1969 – now 50 years ago, believe it or not – John Lennon and his new friend and lover, Yoko (whose ever presence in his life annoyed the hell out of many Beatle fans) were doing what appeared to be some pretty crazy and avant garde things.
One of them was a “bed-in for peace” that they staged and a hotel in Amsterdam in late March of that year. As legend has it, when a journalist asked the couple what they were trying to say or do with the act, John Lennon replied; “All we are saying is give peace a chance.”
That answer became the chorus of a song that John Lennon wrote and recorded with an eclectic cast of characters, from beat poet Allan Ginsberg, to comedian Tommy Smothers and pop singer Petula Clark, 50 years ago this June 1st at a second bed-in they stated staged in Canada, in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, Quebec.
‘Give Peace A Chance’ was released as a single in July of 1969, as demonstrations against the War in Vietnam continued to grow and a generation of young people were getting ready to go to “three days of peace and music” at a festival called Woodstock, and rose up the billboard charts in North America to number 14, which was modest for a single by Beatles standards.
Nevertheless, the chorus of the song went on to outlive its writer, who was shot to death in in gun happy America on December 8th, 1980 in front of a building where he lived in New York City.
‘Give Peace A Chance’ has lived on to this day as an anti-war chant as iconic as ‘We Shall Overcome’ lives on as a chant for social justice and civil rights.
I end here with what I know has become a tired old question. Why is it almost always the voices for a more peaceful world, in the persons of Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy and John Lennon (just to name a few) who get gunned down.
Fifty years after John Lennon recorded ‘Give Peace a Chance’ the world is still looking for some.
I am coming to the conclusion that there is something in the DNA of humans or in the way humans are hardwired that sees us so often making war and killing each other, however honest and noble the sentiment in John Lennon’s song is.
Click on the screen below to hear and view the chaos in a room of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel on June 1st, 1969 as John Lennon was leading a cast of interesting characters in recording ‘Give Peace a Chance’ –
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