Friday, February 27, 2009

Give Peace a Chance

"Give Peace a Chance" is associated with many interesting Beatles facts, a perfect example being that the song was the first solo single to be released while the Beatles were still together. It was a Lennon composition credited to the songwriting team of Lennon-McCartney. (The McCartney credit was later removed with the issue of Lennon's posthumous Live in New York City, an LP recorded with the his Elephant's Memory Band.)

Released on July 4 and 7, 1969 in the UK and U.S. respectively, the song was recorded on June 1, 1969 on a four-speed tape recorder at the Lennons' bed-in at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal Canada, the first bed-in having been held in Amsterdam. The song was rehearsed for several days in the hotel room, and the subsequent recording session was attended by Tommy Smothers, Petula Clark, Timothy Leary, Dick Gregory, Allen Ginsberg, Murray the K, Al Capp, Derek Taylor, and others. Lennon could not always recall the exact lyrics to the last verse and switched them frequently when performing the song.

"Give Peace a Chance" was the A Side of the single, with "Remember Love" as the B Side. The song was also issued on The John Lennon Collection, Shaved Fish, Lennon, and the soundtrack for The U.S. vs. John Lennon.

Like "Imagine," the song quickly became an anthem for peace and was used for many charitable and political events, including the demonstration in Washington, D.C. on Vietnam Memorial Day on October 16, 1969. The song was performed by a host of celebrities on that occasion, including Pete Seeger and Peter, Paul, and Mary. It has also been included in the soundtracks for countless films.

The song has been covered by hundreds of artists. Some include: Paul McCartney (live), Ringo Starr (live), John Frusciante, Lenny Kravitz, Sean Ono Lennon, Bonnie Raitt, Steven Van Zandt, Tom Petty, Cindi Lauper, Bruce Hornsby, Peter Gabriel, MC Hammer, LL Cool J, and Michael McDonald. Lennon friend Elton John used the song as the B Side to his single "The Club at the End of the Street."

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