In 1969 the Vietnam War was still strong and was effecting everyone world wide, even The Beatles. Also in March of that year John Lennon had wed his second wife Yoko Ono and started their eleven year marriage, up to the death of John in 1980.
To protest the war the Lennon's had decided to grow their hair long and stay in bed for a week and promote the peace message. The couple were married on March 20 after having failed to get married in Paris days before. Apple employee, Peter Brown, told the couple to go to Gibraltar, a British colony near Spain and were married there. The couple liked Gibraltar because it was quiet and British. They originally set out to get married on the car ferry heading to France and by the time they arrived in France they'd already be married, but people wouldn't allow it due to the law that you had to be a three week residence to get married in Germany and two weeks to be married in France.
"So we were in Paris and we were calling Peter Brown, and said, 'We want to get married. Where can we go?' And he called back and said, 'Gibraltar's the only place.' So - 'OK, let's go!' And we went there and it was beautiful. It's the Pillar of Hercules, and also symbolically they called it the End of the World at one period. There's some name besides Pillar of Hercules - but they thought the world outside was a mystery from there, so it was like the Gateway to the World. So we liked it in the symbolic sense, and the Rock foundation of our relationship."- John LennonThis story later was placed in The Beatles song, "The Ballad of John and Yoko".
Finally made the plane into Paris
Honeymooning down by the Seine
Peter Brown called to say
You can make it OK
You can get married in Gibraltar near Spain
On their honeymoon the couple headed from Paris to Amsterdam and checked into the Hilton Hotel on March 25. Another line from "The Ballad of John and Yoko",
Drove from Paris to the Amsterdam Hilton
Talking in our beds for a week
The newspapers said, say what you doing in bed?
I said, were only trying to get us some peace
John and Yoko were aware that their marriage would be covered by the press so they decided to take this opportunity to spread peace. The two spent a week in bed in the presidential suite, room 902.
"The first bed-in was held in Amsterdam on our honeymoon. We sent out a card: 'Come to John and Yoke's honeymoon: a bed-in, Amsterdam Hotel.' You should have seen the faces on the reporters and the cameramen fighting their way through the door! Because whatever it is, is in people's minds - their minds were full of what they thought was going to happen. They fought their way in, and their faces dropped. There were we like two angels in bed, with flowers all around us, and peace and love on our heads. We were fully clothed; the bed was just an accessory. We were wearing pyjamas, but they don't look much different from day clothes - nothing showing."- John Lennon
Reporters had thought that since the couple had released the "Two Virgins" album cover, featuring the two naked that any thing goes and two find the Lennon's having sex in bed. But to their surprise the two were fully clothed, sitting in bed with signs on the windows that read "Hair Peace" and "Bed Peace". This event was filmed in colour and produced by Peter Goessens featuring the couple talking, sleeping, waking up, reading the paper and things like that.
The room in the Hilton is now room number 702 and is marked as the John and Yoko Honeymoon Suite. Couples are now able to get married in the room in a civil ceremony.
A few months later the couple found themselves back with long hair in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal on May 26. Canada was not the ideal location for the bed-in, they wanted to promote peace in New York but couldn't because John was banned from the US on half of cannabis possession the previous year. The couple then had the idea for the Bahamas and stay at a hotel where Beatles new manager, Allen Klein's nephew had his honeymoon. But the hotel was awful with twin beds cemented to the floor and blocks of concrete between them. John then said to have the bed-in in Canada, it's the closest place to the United States.
During the Montreal stay they gave up to 150 interviews each day and then recorded one of the great songs in Lennon's career and probably the best song to spread the message of peace, "Give Peace A Chance". The song was recorded on June 1 in the hotel room with special guest like; Yoko's daughter, Kyoko; US black civil rights advocate, Dick Gregory; Quebec separatist, Jacques Larue-Langlous, Timothy Leary; Toronto Rabbi Abraham Feinberg; musician, Petula Clark; members of the Canadian Radha Krishna Temple; and Al Capp, and American cartoonist.
In the United States their bed-ins were reported on 350 radio stations where they spread the peace message and the protests against the Vietnam War.