It's common knowledge the 1969 Vietnam anthem "Give Peace A Chance" includes the voices of John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and one Timothy Leary. The couple invited the "pied piper of psychedelic 60's" to Montreal to record the track as part of their bed-in protest series, those famous week-long demonstrations that weren't always taken seriously by the press, but remain the source of some of the most iconic Lennon/Ono imagery.
This morning Boing Boing let us know of a newly discovered artifact from the event: a recording of a conversation between Leary, Leary's wife Rosemary, Lennon and Ono that Leary's biographer Michael Horowitz (who happens to be Winona Ryder's dad) recently found "buried in his personal archives." The interview, which Leary gifted to Horowitz in 1984 as thanks for his work, has likely never before been published, according to a statement Horowitz made to the Timothy Leary Archives.
It was apparently Leary's intention to add the interview to his 1968 essay “Thank God for the Beatles." The much-anthologized piece comes with a wonderfully weird description-of-premise by Horowitz: the Beatles as "evolutionary agents sent by God, endowed with mysterious power to create a new human species."
We read the transcript, and while we found no evidence of Lennon's literal divinity, other unlikely gems abound: Leary's and Rosemary's description of "the sexiest building ever invented" is the most poetic ode to teepee life we've ever read; further down, Ono's famous coolness breaks for a moment, when she criticizes London's "nasty magazines," for dubbing her and Lennon "John Lingam and Yoni Ono." Take a look at some of our other favorite finds below, and head over to the Leary Archives for the full transcript.
Lennon on spreading the message by talking to radio station callers:
JOHN: Yeah, think about it. But they’re getting it, y’know, I mean they must be. Our voices must be going out solid about every quarter of an hour. And if it isn’t singing, it’s talking, and we’re just repeating the same bit, y’know, and there’s very little “Me eyes are brown and Paul’s…y’know? I mean I do that for the ones that need it. Most of it’s just, “let’s get it together,” and it must be going out now like a mantra. We’re trying to set up a mantra, a peace mantra, and get it in their heads. It’s gonna work.
Lennon on the 1969 arrest of Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull for possession of marijuana:
JOHN: Oh, it’s again a bit paranoid in England now. It’s getting a bit heavy. ‘Cause there’s a lot of Americans coming in, y’know, sort of refugees, and it’s not even that so much. There’s just more people around, and they’re busting the pop stars. Like they got Mick Jagger and Marianne yesterday. There’s one guy doing it all, one little Sergeant Pilgrim.
JOHN: Yes, I think he’s on a pilgrimage, collecting scalps.
Lennon on sparring with conductor Yehudi Menuhi on an episode of "The David Frost Show":
JOHN: I was on a TV show with David Frost and Yehudi Menuhin, some cultural violinist y’know, they were really attacking me. They had a whole audience and everything. It was after we got back from Amsterdam…and Yehudi Menuhin came out, he’s always doing these Hindu numbers. All that pious bit, and his school for violinists, and all that. And Yehudi Menuhi said, “Well, don’t you think it’s necessary to kill some people some times?” That’s what he said on TV, that’s the first thing he’s ever said. And I said, “Did Christ say that? Are you a Christian?” “Yeah,” I said, and did “Christ say anything about killing people?” And he said, “Did Christ say anything about television? Or guitars?"...I got such a fright. I didn’t expect such…so much from ‘em. It was just a sort of David Frost show with a couple of people on, and we’d just got there, and the hatred was amazing. I was really frightened. But Yoko was cool, so when one of us loses it, the other can cover.
WATCH a recording of Lennon, Ono and Leary performing "Give Peace A Chance":
[via Boing Boing]