Watch this never-before-seen video of John Lennon and Yoko Ono
It captures the couple performing ‘Give Peace A Chance’ for the first time ever, from their hotel room in The Bahamas.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono famously performed their pacifist anthem “Give Peace A Chance” at their Bed-In For Peace in Montreal on 31 May 1969. It was the first performance of something that would go on to be adopted as an anti-Vietnam War protest song by an entire generation. Or was it? This new footage — released today as part of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band – the Ultimate Collection — was captured in The Bahamas six days prior and usurps the aforementioned as the earliest known recording of the song.
The video pans from a sunny balcony shot of the beach below to John and Yoko on their hotel bed; John playing guitar and rapidly ad-libbing verses before Yoko joins him for the famous chorus.
Interestingly, they were never supposed to end up in The Bahamas. The couple had planned to go to New York, but were denied entry because of John’s previous cannabis conviction. Instead, they flew to Freeport, where they stayed in the Sheraton Oceanus Hotel before relocating to Canada to be closer to the American press — they were, after all, trying to get the attention of then-President Nixon.
It was there, in Montreal, that John and Yoko made themselves very much at home in a hotel suite; giving interview after interview and performing, once more, “Give Peace A Chance”. It was recorded and released as John Lennon’s first solo single under the Plastic Ono Band moniker -- a hit on both sides of the Atlantic that was co-written by Yoko and would resonate widely.
“John and I liked the idea of this really raw, basic, truthful reality that we were going to be giving to the world,” Yoko writes in the preface of the book released as part of the debut album’s 50th anniversary celebrations. “We were influencing other artists, giving them courage, giving dignity to a certain style of vulnerability and strength that was not accepted in society at the time. It was a revolution for a Beatle to say, ‘Listen: I’m human, I’m real.’ It took a lot of courage for him to do it.”
John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band – the Ultimate Collection is out 23 April and available to pre-order here.