The KYA 1969 Peace Talk
Featuring John Lennon of The Beatles
with KYA’s Tom Campbell and Bill Holley
Saturday, May 29, 1969
Unable to get into the United States due to restrictions placed on him by the Nixon Administration and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, John Lennon and Yoko Ono have holed up in Room 1742 of the Hotel Reine Elizabeth in Montreal, Quebec, where they are in the midst of their second “Bed-In For Peace.”
After being held up in Canadian customs for more than two hours following their arrival on Sunday, May 25, John and Yoko head to the “Queen E” on Monday to commence their eleven-day Bed-In, during which they meet with friends and well-wishers while attired in their robes and pajamas. John also takes the time to hone a recent composition that he calls “Give Peace A Chance,” while also making a series of interviews to promote peace.
One of the telephone interviews is with a pair of San Francisco disc jockeys, Tom Campbell and Bill Holley, broadcast live on KYA Radio, during which they touch upon a broad variety of topics — from the Beatles’ music publishing to song lyric interpretation to Moog synthesizers. Several questions submitted by listeners show that many of them haven’t quite caught on that Lennon has matured from the mop-top Beatle from just a few years earlier into a more savvy artist who is “selling” peace.
During the Montreal Bed-In, John also makes a phone call to the protesters at Berkeley’s People’s Park, where California Governor Ronald Reagan had recently sent in the National Guard to control the estimated crowd of 6000 that had gathered there.
On the Tuesday following this interview, John and Yoko — with friends Timothy Leary, Petula Clark and Tom and Dick Smothers, plus their publicist, Derek Taylor, accompanying them — record a version of “Give Peace A Chance” that is destined for release in July by the Beatles’ Apple Records. It only reaches #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States, but is established as an enduring peace anthem to this day.
The short interview heard here was released in the Bay Area by the radio station as “The KYA 1969 Peace Talk featuring John Lennon of the Beatles with KYA’s Tom Campbell and Bill Holley” on a 45-r.p.m. two-sided record.
The original recording (which has been edited into a single continuous piece for presentation here) is sandwiched between two KYA jingles, “Overground Radio/Music Power” at the front and “KYA/Since 1926” at the end.
The recording heard here was taken from a blue transparent 45 disc which is believed to be a bootlegged (unauthorized) copy of the original disc. Several skips and pops mar the overall sound quality, but do not detract from its historical significance.