Knowing that there would be a huge amount of publicity surrounding their wedding on March 20, 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono decided to use the opportunity to promote a cause close to their hearts. Their first Bed-In for Peace took place in late March during their honeymoon in Amsterdam, where they sat in a hotel bed and allowed members of the media to swing by during the day to discuss their ideas for achieving world peace. Hoping to reach a larger audience, a second Bed-In was scheduled for late May in New York, but because of John's conviction for possession of marijuana and resultant inability to enter the US, it ended up taking place in Montreal.
This interview was recorded over the phone during this second Bed-In with a friend of the couple, journalist (and Oscar-winning filmmaker a few years later) Howard Smith. In keeping with the spirit of the occasion, the focus is largely on the message of peace that the two were trying to spread. While Smith was most likely supportive of their intentions, it is hard to tell here, as he asks whether or not their methods are effective. It is a healthy balance, with Smith's skepticism prodding John and Yoko to explain the philosophy behind their acts in detail, and his familiarity allowing the tape to capture two individuals in the center of an historical event.
00:11 - What's going on in the hotel room
00:46 - The Bed-Ins as an effective method for promoting peace
01:36 - Indoctrinating peace
02:01 - Failed attempts at peaceful protests, their effects, and how to handle it
02:40 - Hoping to enter the US / plans to meet with world leaders…
03:27 - "Fifty acorns tied in a sack"
04:11 - Trying to talk to Nixon
04:56 - On vacation from The Beatles
05:19 - Reactions from the other Beatles to the Bed-Ins
06:27 - "Crazy John" by Tom Paxton / glad to be crazy
07:06 - How to mobilize governments
07:33 - An experiment suggesting we should believe in one another
08:27 - A message: "You are an artist; you have the power; you can achieve peace"
09:45 - How hippies should treat squares
10:29 - John's image as an impediment to his message / being oneself
12:22 - Preaching to the choir?
13:02 - Yoko and Howard catching up
13:33 - A frantic scene in the hotel room
13:46 - Life staying the same, but on a larger scale
14:10 - Preaching to the choir?
14:56 - The "peace" mantra vs. the Hare Krishna mantra / violence as the inevitable reaction to peace
18:03 - Using "peace" to communicate with squares
18:51 - Hippies becoming a snobbish establishment / a universal language
19:55 - Choosing the imagery of a bed / conveying relaxation and laughter
20:53 - Farewells
21:21 - The meaning of "The Ballad of John and Yoko"
22:14 - Why "The Ballad of John and Yoko" is causing trouble
22:28 - The new album and accompanying book
23:16 - Farewells