The #1 song on the UK Singles Chart on December 27, 1964
The #1 song on the UK Singles Chart on December 27, 1964
Today on Christmas Eve, John and Yoko arrived back in England from Canada, where they had launched their global peace campaign. Part of the campaign was to have been a Christmas Eve antiwar demonstration due to take place in various countries, for which the couple had tape-recorded a greeting to be played.
Upon their arrival back in the UK, they were driven to Rochester Cathedral in Kent, where they intended to join a fast and sit-in calling for peace and to highlight world poverty. They arrived, accompanied by comedian Dick Gregory, in a white Rolls-Royce.
They were due to take part in a 24-hour sleepover with the homeless of Kent. However, a small crowd was already present when they arrived, and it was felt likely that their continued presence would have caused a commotion.
Lennon, Ono and Gregory posed for press photographers, and briefly went inside the cathedral but soon returned to their limousine to avoid being mobbed. They later attended midnight mass in the cathedral before returning to Tittenhurst Park in Ascot, Berkshire.
Today, John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1969 peace campaign came to a close following a meeting with Canada’s prime minister Pierre Trudeau which took place in the Centre Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Lennon and Ono had arrived in the city at 2am that morning, having traveled from Toronto via Montreal.
They arrived at the Parliament Building at 11am, with a scrum of photographers ready to snap the moment they met the Canadian PM. It was the only time Lennon and Ono were able to take their peace campaign directly to a world leader.
The meeting lasted for 51 minutes behind closed doors, although news cameras were on hand before and after. When they emerged, a reporter asked Lennon and Ono what had taken them so long. Ono replied that it was because they had all been enjoying the conversation.
Lennon added: “We spent about 50 minutes together, which was longer than he had spent with any head of state. If all politicians were like Mr Trudeau there would be world peace.”
Today John Lennon and Yoko Ono travelled to Ottawa, stopping briefly in Montreal during their Peace campaign. They gave a press conference to local journalists at Montreal’s Château Champlain hotel.
Both Lennon and Ono dressed in black and were surrounded by War Is Over posters. A brief colour clip from the conference was later included in the 1988 documentary Imagine: John Lennon.
Today was the final Beatles-related studio booking in 1969. It was a mixing and editing session for the unreleased Get Back album. None of The Beatles attended.
It lasted two hours, from 2-4pm, and was a continuation of Glyn Johns’ work-in-progress on the LP. It is not known which songs were worked on.
Johns had been asked by The Beatles to compile the album, which was to more closely follow the songs in the film than his previous effort had. His first session for this part of the project had taken place on 15 December.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono gave an interview to CBC-TV’s news and current affairs show CBC Weekend in Toronto.
Lennon introduced the show, hosted by Lloyd Robertson, as “Peace Weekend”. The other guest was Rabbi Abhraham Feinberg, who had previously sang in the chorus on Give Peace A Chance.
The segment featuring Lennon began with legislator Russell Doern, via a linkup from Winnipeg, reading a letter from Manitoba’s premier asking whether Lennon and Ono would visit in the new year to promote peace. Lennon described the offer as “beautiful” and said he would definitely visit for the province’s 100th anniversary year, although he never did.
Lennon went on to explain why he chose Canada for this peace campaign. “I don’t want to be Mr and Mrs Dead Saint of 1970.”
The final Beatles Christmas offering was also recorded separately, as the band had effectively split by this point. It features an extensive visit with John and Yoko at their Tittenhurst Park estate, where they play “what will Santa bring me?” games. Harrison only appears briefly, and Starr only shows up to plug his recent film, The Magic Christian. Paul sings his original ad-lib, This is to Wish You a Merry, Merry Christmas. Starting at 1:30, at the tail-end of Ringo’s song, the guitar solos from The End are heard, followed by Yoko interviewing John.
In December 1970, in the wake of the band’s break-up, the UK fan-club sent out a compilation LP of all seven recordings, entitled From Then To You. The master tapes having been mislaid, the LP was mastered from copies of the original flexi discs. In the US, the LP was repackaged as The Beatles’ Christmas Album and sent out by the fan-club around springtime 1971. With no new recording, the LP served to remind that the Beatles were no more, but had the advantage of durability over the original flexi discs, and, for the US, it was the first time the 1964 and 1965 messages had been made available.
Today John Lennon and Yoko Ono recorded a message to be broadcast on Japanese radio. The recording took place at the home of musician Ronnie Hawkins in Ontario. It began with a few words in Japanese, before a version of Give Peace A Chance. Lasting about a minute, it ends with Lennon repeatedly bantering “moshi moshi” in mock Japanese. Much of the remainder of the 10-minute recording is of Ono speaking in Japanese, with Lennon in the background playing an acoustic guitar.
You could hear versions of Sun King, Dear Prudence and Make Love Not War, which later became Mind Games.
Ono speaks of her plans for the peace movement and accompanying music festival. She mentions her recent holidays with Lennon in India and Italy, and says she would like to return to Japan in 1970.