Mark Chapman – Conspiracy or random act of violence… John Lennon Death 12/09/80 CBS Evening News w/ Walter Cronkite part 1

CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite 12/09/80 on the death of John Lennon. Part 1

Give Peace a Chance” is a 1969 single by (John Lennon’s) Plastic Ono Band that became an anthem of the American anti-war movement at that time.

A different song with the same name, written by Leon Russell and Bonny Bramlett, was sung by Joe Cocker.

Writing and recording

The song was written during Lennon’s Bed-In honeymoon: when asked by a reporter what he was trying to achieve by staying in bed, Lennon answered spontaneously “All we are saying is give peace a chance”; Lennon liked the phrase and set it to music for the song.[citation needed]. He sang the song several times during the Bed-In, and finally, on 1 June 1969, in Room 1742 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, recorded it using a simple setup of four microphones and a four-track tape recorder rented from a local recording studio.[1] The recording session was attended by dozens of journalists and various celebrities, including Timothy Leary, Rabbi Abraham Feinberg, Joseph Schwartz, Allan Rock, Rosemary Woodruff Leary, Petula Clark, Dick Gregory, Allen Ginsberg, Murray the K, Al Capp and Derek Taylor, many of whom are mentioned in the lyrics. Lennon played acoustic guitar and was joined by Tommy Smothers of the Smothers Brothers, also on acoustic guitar.

The song was credited to Lennon/McCartney (John Lennon and Paul McCartney) and published by Northern Songs (now Sony/ATV Music Publishing). On some later releases of the song, only Lennon is credited; viz. the 1990s reissue of the 1972 album Live in New York City, the 2006 documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon (in which the song appears), and the 1997 compilation album Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon (and its DVD version six years later). Lennon later stated his regrets about being guilty enough to give McCartney credit as co-writer on my first independent single instead of giving it to Yoko, who had actually written it with me. [2] However, it has also been suggested that the credit was a way of thanks to McCartney for helping him record “The Ballad of John and Yoko” at short notice.[3]

Commercial release

The “Give Peace a Chance” single (with Yoko Ono’s “Remember Love” as the B-side) was released on 45 RPM vinyl in the UK (on APPLE 13) on July 4, 1969 and July 7, 1969 in the US (on Apple 1809). The track’s first full-length album appearance was on the Lennon hits compilation The John Lennon Collection issued November 1, 1982 in the UK (EMI/Parlophone Records) and November 8, 1982 (originally on Geffen Records, since re-released on Capitol Records). A significantly truncated version of the Montreal session and a snippet of the One to One Benefit concert performance of the song appear on Lennon’s Shaved Fish hits compilation from 1975. “Give Peace a Chance” was the first “solo” single released by a member of the Beatles while the band was still intact, though, technically, the artist was credited as Plastic Ono Band, not John Lennon.


The song reached number 14 on the pop charts in the United States and was kept out of the top slot in the UK by The Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women”.

The song quickly became the anthem of the anti-war movement, and was sung by half a million demonstrators in Washington, D.C. at the Vietnam Moratorium Day, on 15 October 1969.[4] They were led by the renowned folk singer Pete Seeger, who interspersed phrases like, “Are you listening, Nixon?” and “Are you listening, Agnew?”, between the choruses of protesters singing, “All we are saying … is give peace a chance”.[5]
[edit] Lyrics

The original last verse of the song refers to: “John and Yoko, Timmy Leary, Rosemary, Tommy Smothers, Bobby Dylan, Tommy Cooper, Derek Taylor, Norman Mailer, Allen Ginsberg, Hare Krishna”.

In the performance of “Give Peace a Chance” included on the Live Peace in Toronto 1969 album, Lennon openly stated that he couldn’t remember all of the words and improvised with the names of the band members sharing the stage with him and anything that came to mind: “John and Yoko, Eric Clapton, Klaus Voormann, Penny Lane, Roosevelt, Nixon, Tommy Jones and Tommy Cooper, and somebody.”

The third verse contains a reference to masturbation, but Lennon changed this to “mastication” on the official lyric sheet. He later admitted this was a “cop out” but wanted to avoid unnecessary controversy.[6]

2 responses to “Mark Chapman – Conspiracy or random act of violence… John Lennon Death 12/09/80 CBS Evening News w/ Walter Cronkite part 1

  1. Absolutely love The Beatles~♡and their solo works incuding the amazing John Lennon…so tragic and sad that this awful and mindless act ocurred. I really like the tribute songs done by McCartney and Harrison with their songs “Here Today” and “All those years ago” respectfully. I own just about every Beatles and Beatles related release on cd and dvd…I went through an age of passion for all things Beatles when I was still in high school as a friend had turned me onto them, it was funny then that I only knew of Paul McCartney’s songs and didn’t even know who the Beatles were =P. I remember plsying the age card saying that how could I possibly know as I was too young….but he wasn’t buying it saying that despite my young age i should still know of ‘the greatest music group for all time’….and i so agree! The Beatles are the greatest and most influential group of all time ^^.


    • Back in the time of the eastern block, we were listening to the Beatles on “radio Free Europe” and “Voice of America”, both on AM (there was no FM_ and both interdicted by the communist regime. So we had to be careful not to be listened to the walls by Secret police informants) I remember “Back to USSR”, ,”Let It Be” and so many more, and dreamed that such music would not be forbidden… I enjoyed very much all the group’s members, but I absolutely understood John Lennon’s personality due to his young years hardship: it innobilated him, made him aware of his personal role in making this world a better one, even if he did not understand the lie of communism. There is always a crevice, between ideology and its reality! John Lennon should still live today and sing together with Leonard Cohen!

      SO nice chatting again, and thanks for sharing your wonderful story: Let’s listen to…”Let It Be”!


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