John Lennon – Give Peace A Chance

| December 11, 2011 | 1 Comment

The song was written during Lennon’s ‘Bed-In’ honeymoon: when asked by a reporter what he was trying to achieve by staying in bed, Lennon answered spontaneously “All we are saying is give peace a chance”; He sang the song several times during the Bed-In. Finally, on 1 June 1969, in Room 1742 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, André Perry recorded it using a simple setup of four microphones and a four-track tape recorder rented from a local recording studio.[1] The recording session was attended by dozens of journalists and various celebrities, including Timothy Leary, Rabbi Abraham Feinberg, Joseph Schwartz, Allan Rock, Rosemary Woodruff Leary, Petula Clark, Dick Gregory, Allen Ginsberg, Murray the K and Derek Taylor, many of whom are mentioned in the lyrics. Lennon played acoustic guitar and was joined by Tommy Smothers of the Smothers Brothers, also on acoustic guitar.

When released in 1969, the song was credited to Lennon/McCartney. On some later releases, only Lennon is credited; viz. the 1990s reissue of the 1972 album Live in New York City, the 2006 documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon, and the 1997 compilation album Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon and its DVD version six years later. Lennon later stated his regrets about being “guilty enough to give McCartney credit as co-writer on my first independent single instead of giving it to Yoko, who had actually written it with me.”[2] However, it has also been suggested that the credit was a way of thanks to McCartney for helping him record “The Ballad of John and Yoko” at short notice.

Ev’rybody’s talkin’ ’bout
Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism
This-ism, that-ism, ism ism ism
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

(C’mon)
Ev’rybody’s talkin’ ’bout
Minister, Sinister, Banisters and Canisters,
Bishops, Fishops, Rabbis, and Pop Eyes, Bye bye, Bye byes
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

(Let me tell you now)
Ev’rybody’s talkin’ ’bout
Revolution, Evolution, Masturbation, Flagellation, Regulation,
Integrations, mediations, United Nations, congratulations
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Ev’rybody’s talkin’ ’bout
John and Yoko, Timmy Leary, Rosemary,
Tommy Smothers, Bobby Dylan, Tommy Cooper,
Derek Taylor, Norman Mailer, Alan Ginsberg, Hare Krishna
Hare Hare Krishna
All we are saying is give peace a chance

john lennon

john lennon

All we are saying is give peace a chance
(Repeat ’til the tape runs out)

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Category: Music, Songs of OWS, Songs of Protest/Activism, Student Activists, Video

Comments (1)

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  1. wildshovel says:

    Great classic song. Lennon’s message of peaceful protest is as relevant today as it was back in the 60s.

    Here’s a similar track from the same era, this one a 2011 cover of the fist-shaking protest / garage rock anthem “NOTHING CAN CHANGE THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME”: http://tinyurl.com/7p93vvm

    The lyrics are all too relevant:

    “There’s a new sun rising up angry in the sky.
    There’s a new voice crying but not afraid to die.
    Let the old world make believe it’s blind and deaf and dumb
    BUT NOTHING CAN CHANGE THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME.

    There are changes lying ahead on every road.
    There are new thoughts ready and waiting to explode.
    When tomorrow is today, the bells will toll for some.
    BUT NOTHING CAN CHANGE THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME.

    The future’s coming on sweet and strong,
    And no-one’s gonna hold it back for long…

    There are new dreams crowding out old realities.
    There’s revolution sweeping in like a fresh new breeze.
    Let the old world make believe it’s blind and deaf and dumb,
    BUT NOTHING CAN CHANGE THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME. “

    (BTW, the whole album is pretty decent, if you are into that vintage 60s garage rock thing. It’s a free download http://tinyurl.com/7od26by)

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