HomeChévere reports55 years ago, John Lennon released 'Give Peace a Chance'

55 years ago, John Lennon released 'Give Peace a Chance'

In the midst of the current turbulent world panorama, 'Give Peace a Chance' turns 55 years old. John Lennon's iconic anti-war anthem, which became a generational anthem against the Vietnam War, continues to offer a much-needed message.

The song, released as a single on July 4, 1969 by the Plastic Ono Band (led by Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono), was the first solo song by the British singer-songwriter, who was still officially a member of The Beatles. It was composed entirely by him, although it was initially credited to the Lennon-McCartney team.

Lennon and Ono recorded the production with just four microphones and a four-track tape recorder. It was released first in Europe, as a single, followed by a release in the United States a few days later (July 6 of the same year).

during a question

According to media such as NPR, the phrase “give peace a chance” arose spontaneously, while the artist was answering a question from journalists during the second Bed-In for Peace, a series of non-violent activities that he developed together with Yoko. Ono to protest against war and promote peace. The idea was to stay in bed all day and attract the attention of the world's media. Two week-long sessions were held, one in Amsterdam and one in Montreal.

The song, it should be noted, was a faithful reflection of the pacifist ideology that Lennon always preached. “I wouldn't fight at all. There was never any intention to fight. Up until I was 18 there were still calls as a teenager and I remember the news that it was everyone born before 1940, and I was thanking God for that as I had always had this plan about the south of Ireland. He wasn't quite sure what he was going to do when he arrived in the south of Ireland. Hippies and dropouts were not as famous. There was no thought of 'he did it, he went to Ireland and lived happily ever after'. So he was never sure what he could do, but he had no intention of going and fighting. "He couldn't kill someone, he couldn't betray someone," he commented in the beginning when he was asked if he would fight in a war.

Similar to Verdi

According to John Cavalli, a music historian based in Stockholm, Sweden, “with long notes and voices sung in a chorus screaming for attention, 'Give Peace a Chance' bears similarity to the choruses of Giuseppe Verdi's operas, such as 'Va pensiero' or 'The Prisoners' Chorus' from the opera 'Nabucco', 1842. Lennon often used elements of classical music in his compositions.”

In a hotel room

'Give Peace A Chance' was recorded between June 1 and 2 of that year, in room 1742 of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, Canada. The single was published accompanied on its “b side” by the song 'Remember Love', written by Yoko Ono and recorded in the same place.

Present at the session were prominent figures of the time: the writer Timothy Leary, the comedian Dick Gregory, the singer Petula Clark, the journalist and writer Derek Taylor, the businessman Murray the K and the poet Allen Ginsberg.

John Lennon played acoustic guitar during recording, supported by Tommy Smothers of the folk duo Smothers Brothers. Some of those names became part of the lyrics.

“Let me tell you what everyone is talking about. Revolution, evolution, masturbation, flagellation, regulation, integrations, meditations, United Nations. Congratulations. All we say is let's give peace a chance,” highlights part of the lyrics of the song, which rhymes consonant in English.

On the charts

On the music charts, it reached number 2 in the United Kingdom, although in the United States its highest position was number 54 on the Billboard Hot 100. Likewise, in Europe and Australia it also managed to stand out among the most listened to songs of 1969.

It should be noted that in 1991, American rocker Lenny Kravitz produced a new version of 'Give Peace a Chance'. It was released on January 15, 1991. Kravitz wrote new verses along with Sean Lennon (Lennon's youngest son), who was 15 years old at the time. This remake was credited to the “Peace Choir,” and included stars like Little Richard, Tom Petty, Peter Gabriel, LL Cool J, and about 20 others. It peaked at number 54 in the United States, but went nowhere in the United Kingdom, as the BBC refused to air it due to the political tone given to the updated lyrics.

Leave a response

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here