It’s hard to believe that half a century has passed since John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their famous ‘Bed-In’ at the Amsterdam Hilton.
The couple decided to spend their honeymoon staging a week-long protest against the Vietnam War and other conflicts.
They took to their bed in the Presidential Suite on March 25th 1969 and surrounded themselves with fruit and flowers. The press were allowed in every day from 9.00am to 9.00pm.
Signs above the bed read ‘Hair Peace’ and ’Bed Peace’ as the couple sat in white pyjamas trying to convey their calming message.
Seven days later they flew to Vienna where they held a ‘bagism’ press conference.
‘Bagism’ was a term coined by the couple for dressing up entirely in a bag so a person’s appearance would not detract from their message.
Ono appeared in a white bag at London’s Lyceum theatre in December 1969 when Lennon played live for the first time since 1966. He was also dressed in white.
The couple held another ‘Bed-In’ in May 1969. They planned to stage it in New York, but Lennon was banned from the USA due to a previous cannabis conviction.
Instead they flew to the Bahamas and the Sheraton Oceanus hotel. But after one night they decided the weather was too hot and moved on to cooler Montreal!
Their ‘Bed-In’ took place in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel and they invited a host of free-thinkers to their rooms. These included writer Timothy Leary, poet Allen Ginsberg and satirist Al Capp.
Between them, on June 1st 1969, they recorded the famous anthem Give Peace a Chance.
Lennon and Ono took the message further in December 1969 by setting up billboards proclaiming ‘War is over’ in 11 major cities across the world.
A month earlier, the Beatle had returned his MBE to the Queen in protest against the Vietnam war and the Biafran refugee crisis.
Lennon’s chauffeur, Les Anthony, delivered the medal to Buckingham Palace with a hand-written note from his boss.
On a happier artistic note, Lennon and Ono joined the Rolling Stones in October 1968 to take part in the band’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus production.
Our photo shows the couple with Lennon’s son Julian sitting contentedly with, from left, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, Keith Moon, Brian Jones and Eric Clapton.
Thirty five years ago this week in 1984, Ono was back in Liverpool visiting her husband’s old haunts with their son Sean.
The snow was lying on the ground as the couple and their entourage rolled up at Lennon’s childhood home – the semi-detached house at 251 Menlove Avenue, Woolton.
They also called at the Strawberry Field Salvation Army children’s home in Woolton which had a special place in Lennon’s heart.
One of his childhood treats was the institution’s annual garden party – and he’d often climb the walls to play with the children inside.
The home was, of course, immortalized in The Beatles’ single Strawberry Fields Forever.
More poignantly, it became the name of New York memorial park next to the Dakota building where Lennon was fatally shot by Mark Chapman on December 8th 1980.
The couple’s ‘Bed-In’ was used as template for a 62-day event at the Bluecoat – Liverpool’s centre for contemporary arts – in 2010.
The event started on October 9th, Lennon’s birthday, and ended on December 9th, marking 30 years since his death.
Yoko Ono commemorated the occasion by sending her own personal video message.