Song facts: Give Peace a Chance

Give Peace a Chance is a song written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon/McCartney. Lennon wrote the song in Montreal Canada, during John and Yoko's Bed-in in May of 1969. 

Although the song is also credited to McCartney it was purely a John Lennon composition with no input from Paul. 

"I didn't write it with Paul; but again, out of guilt, we always had that thing that our names would go on songs even if we didn't write them. It was never a legal deal between Paul and me, just an agreement when we were fifteen or sixteen to put both our names on our songs. I'd put his name on Give Peace A Chance though he had nothing to do with it. It was a silly thing to do, actually. It should have been Lennon-Ono." - John Lennon
John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon, Yoko Ono et al performing Give Peace a Chance at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, June 1st 1969.

John Lennon, Yoko Ono et al performing Give Peace a Chance at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, June 1st 1969.

Recording

On June 1st 1969 Lennon recorded Give Peace a Chance with Yoko Ono at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. The recording session was attended by a plethora of journalists and musical celebrities, including: Timothy Leary, Petula Clark, Allen Ginsberg, as well as Beatles' press officer Derek Taylor. 

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

Personnel

  • John Lennon – lead vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Tom Smothers – acoustic guitar
  • Yoko Ono and others – hand claps, tambourine, backing vocals
  • Timothy Leary, Petula Clark – backing vocals
  • André Perry – percussion, production
Give Peace a Chance single sleeve, 1969. 

Give Peace a Chance single sleeve, 1969. 

Release

Give Peace a Chance was released as a single on July 4th 1969, less than five weeks after its recording. The US release was three days later on July 7th. The single was backed by Yoko Ono's song Remember Love.

The single peaked at number 2 on the UK Singles Chart and number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100. 

The song's anthemic theme struck a powerful chord with the anti war movement of the late sixties and was sung by over half a million demonstrators in Washington, D.C. at the Vietnam Moratorium Day, on November 15th, 1969.

"Well, after being interviewed for weeks and weeks and weeks, night and day, with Yoko and me talking about peace from our beds, I had those words coming out of my mouth or Yoko's - wherever the hell they came from - and it became a song." - John Lennon
"It wasn't like 'You have to have peace!' Just give it a chance. We ain't giving any gospel here - just saying how about this version for a change? We think we have the right to have a say in the future. And we think the future is made in your mind." - John Lennon
John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in, 1969.