On this day in history : 25th March 1969 – Newly married John Lennon and Yoko Ono begin their ‘bed-in’ at the Hilton in Amsterdam – to convey a message of Peace to the World….

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Dutch National Archives – Public domain

John and Yoko had married five days before; they knew only too well that their ‘tying the knot’ would cause much interest amongst the media and public – and so decided to use this publicity to promote world peace…. War was raging in Vietnam at the time and the Cold War was ongoing….

Their idea for a ‘bed-in’ was inspired by the ‘sit-ins’ often used by protesters….literally sitting in an establishment or outside it to cause obstruction – until their demands are met of they are forcibly removed….

The couple booked into the Honeymoon Presidential Suite (Room 702) of the Hilton and invited the world’s Press to join them everyday, for a week, between 9am and 9pm….

At first the Press had probably been expecting to find John and Yoko making love…. Controversy had surrounded the release of their album ‘Two Virgins’ in November 1968…. Both had posed naked on the cover and had caused outrage…. So much so, that EMI refused to distribute it….other distributors were found for both the UK and US but the album had to be sold in a plain brown wrapping…. As for the title, that came about as the couple felt they were ‘two innocents in a world gone mad’….

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Image credit : Vinylmeister via Flickr

So the Press may have been a little disappointed to find John and Yoko sitting up in bed wearing pyjamas….in John’s words ‘like angels’…. Above their heads were signs reading ‘Hair Peace’ and ‘Bed Peace’ – when asked about the ‘hair’ John replied that they both intended to grow their hair even longer for the Peace Cause….and that everybody should do the same…. He also added that the world needed to laugh more…. When questioned as to why Amsterdam his answer was simple “it could have been anywhere really”….

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Dutch National Archives – Public domain

John and Yoko flew to Vienna to give a press conference on the 31st of March….a further bed-in was arranged. The original intention was to hold it in New York – but because John had a cannabis conviction from the previous year he was denied access to the US…. So instead it was decided to hold it at the Sheridan Oceanus Hotel in the Bahamas…. John and Yoko arrived on the 24th of May 1969 – but because of the intense heat after just one night the couple left for Montreal. Here they set themselves up at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel and invited the Canadian Broadcasting Company to conduct interviews from their room….. They received a very mixed reaction from the American Press….

 

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Dutch National Archives – Public domain

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