In the late spring of 1969, Lennon and Ono’s Plastic Ono Band recorded Give Peace A Chance, an anti-war anthem for generations of pacifists and music fans around the world. The song was recorded live from Lennon and Ono’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel suite in downtown Montréal, where the couple held their famous “Bed-in for Peace” protest.
“I thought often, and for many years afterwards, about the extraordinary experience of being in the company of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Spending time with him left an enduring impression, and only partly because I was a young, star-struck fan,” said former Minister of Health Allan Rock, who met Lennon and Ono in 1969.
“On a deeper level, I was moved by the sincerity of his idealism and encouraged by his certainty that citizen action and the energy it generates can truly change the world. He was an inspiration. And as our world grows more cynical, my memories of his message – clear, simple and unafraid – grow fonder still.”
Fifty years later, the Mint has captured that special moment in music history in a deal brokered by Epic Rights, Lennon’s global licensing agent.
“For generations of Canadians, the music and lyrics of John Lennon and Yoko Ono have been a source of pleasure and inspiration,” said Lemay. “We are delighted to have crafted a coin celebrating Canada’s special connection to John and Yoko, and their lasting message of peace.”
BED-IN FOR PEACE
Lennon and Ono married in Gibraltar in March 1969. They honeymooned in Amsterdam, where they held their first “Bed-In for Peace.” Montréal was their second “Bed-In” nest, and Lennon appreciated the Canadian welcome while applauding the country for “not interfering in foreign countries.”
After the Bed-In, then aspiring politician Allan Rock invited Lennon to attend a Peace conference at the University of Ottawa. He promised Lennon a meeting with Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Unfortunately, Trudeau wasn’t home.
Recorded in Montréal by Canadian music producer André Perry, Give Peace a Chance was released as a single by the Plastic Ono Band. The song was also Lennon’s first solo single. It became one of the world’s most powerful anti-war anthems and hit #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the British Singles Chart. Five months later, half a million anti-war demonstrators sang the song in unison on Moratorium Day in Washington, D.C.
The coin’s reverse design features the aforementioned black-and-white photograph of Lennon and Ono dressed in pyjamas and holding roses. They’re sitting on a bed with handmade peace posters hanging behind them.
The coin’s obverse features the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.
“For the 50th anniversary of the Bed-in for Peace, we are honoured that the Royal Canadian Mint is paying tribute to a marking moment in our hotel and our city’s history by issuing a commemorative coin,” said David Connor, regional vice-president and general manager of what’s now known as the “Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth.”
“We hope that it will help promote greater awareness about John and Yoko’s message of peace which still has strong resonance and importance today.”
The coin is limited to a worldwide mintage of 9,999 pieces.
For more information, visit mint.ca.