Montreal Bed-In 26 May 1969

Auctioned at Christies in September 2005.
This appears to be an uncirculated recording and must surely be one of the earliest recordings from the Bed-In.

See auction description below.


John Lennon And Yoko Ono

A previously unheard and undocumented reel-to-reel recording of an interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, the interview conducted by freelance radio journalist Ken Seymour on 26th May, 1969 at the Bed-In For Peace, Suite 1742, Hotel La Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Canada, the hour-long interview recorded on ¼in. Scotch magnetic recording tape, the 10½in. metal spool inscribed in chinagraph in Seymour's hand Ken Seymour talking to Beatle John Lennon & Yoko Ono -- In Bed in Montreal, additionally inscribed "Something To Say", [a radio show broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for which the interview was originally intended but never used], the back of the tape box similarly inscribed and additionally inscribed with details of previous recordings; accompanied by a copy of the interview on CD

To be sold with copyright

Whilst the seller confirms that this property is sold with copyright, Christie's can accept no liability in relation to any matters arising as a result of any imperfection in copyright given

Lot Notes

Following their first Bed-In event in Amsterdam after their marriage in Gibraltar, John and Yoko decided to capitalize on the wave of publicity and hold a second Bed-In. Having had their application for a U.S. visa rejected, they flew to the Bahamas on 16th May, but quickly realised the humid temperature of 86 degrees wasn't compatible with a week in bed. They flew to Canada and arrived in Montreal on 26th May.

Journalist Ken Seymour was based in Montreal at the time working as a freelance radio reporter. He was the first journalist to meet them in Montreal, and had exclusive access to them to conduct the interview. It was originally intended to be used for a Canadian radio show Something To Say, but shortly after the interview, Seymour's father was taken ill in England and he had to return home. The interview was never broadcast and has remained locked in a trunk for 36 years.

The intimate hour-long interview forms part of what Lennon referred to as ..."a continuous propaganda for peace campaign....a peace platform using our bed as a platform". He describes their aim: "Let's give peace as much airtime as war", saying that what he hopes to produce is ..."peace of mind, peace in the world, peace in Vietnam, peace in Biafra, peace in the streets".

Soon the subject switches away from the peace campaign to encompass a surprising variety of subjects. Lennon talks about his everyday life in London, revealing..."I lead a completely normal life, I wander the streets, I go shopping, I do everything that everybody else does"; on his marriage: "Yoko and I have fights...we all have violence in us"; his view of how the Beatles have changed: "We've matured, now we're middle-aged teenagers...George and Paul are complicated like me"; his opinion of Jesus Christ: "I'm one of Christ's biggest fans. If I can turn Beatles fans onto Christ's teachings, that's what I'm here to do"; his reminiscences of attending Sunday School as a child until he was banned from the church "for laughing"; his relationship with his son, Julian, and step-daughter, Kyoko: "Kyoko wants to marry Julian and Julian wants to marry Kyoko"; his memories of Paul McCartney's original audition for The Quarry Men in 1957, and his judgement of the contributions made to The Beatles business career by Brian Epstein and Allen Klein. He reveals that each of the Beatles "...takes fifty pounds a week" out of their collective earnings, and predicts that the four members of the group will always be together as friends, regardless of how long the Beatles survive as a working unit.

The interview is unusual for its time, for both its depth and wide range of topics. The interviewer's quickfire questioning and rapid response to Lennon's comments obviously ensured that both John and Yoko spoke to him in more detail and more openly than to the many other journalists they subsequently met during the Bed-In. The interview is a vivid portrayal of the couple's relationship and preoccupations during one of the most optimistic and productive periods of their marriage.