Bed Peace: The Story of John & Yoko

John and Yoko

photo courtesy of Nationaal Archief

Dear Friends,

In 1969, John and I were so naïve to think that doing the Bed-In would help change the world.
Well, it might have. But at the time, we didn’t know.

It was good that we filmed it, though.
The film is powerful now.
What we said then could have been said now.

In fact, there are things that we said then in the film, which may give some encouragement and inspiration to the activists of today. Good luck to us all.

Let’s remember WAR IS OVER If We Want It.
It’s up to us, and nobody else.
John would have wanted to say that.

Love, yoko

Yoko Ono Lennon
New York, USA
September 2013

Tomorrow, Friday, January 20th, KEXP is holding a Bed-In for Peace in the Gathering Space, starting at 8:00 AM. And if you’ve been wondering where we’d get a kooky idea like that, you can look to John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who pioneered the idea back in 1969.

When the two got married, they knew the paparazzi would be trailing them throughout their honeymoon. So, they turned the tables and used the spotlight for good, to promote the message of peace. The protest tactic of a “sit-in” dates all the way back to 1939, where large groups of people would occupy a space, refusing to leave until their demands are met. Yoko came up with the idea of a “bed-in,” mostly out of practicality, so the two would be comfortable during the grueling weeks ahead of them. At the time, she explained, “For us, it was the only way. We can’t go out in Trafalgar Square because it would create a riot. We can’t lead a parade or a march because of all the autograph hunters. We had to find our own way of doing it, and for now Bed-Ins seem to be the most logical way. We think the Bed-In can be effective.”

You can get a glimpse of what this event was like in the 71-minute-long documentary Bed Peace, produced by the couple’s own Bag Productions. Originally released on VHS, you can now watch the film in its entirety via Ono’s YouTube channel. Though production values are low, editing is, at times, confusing, and sound levels are hard to track since, I’m assuming, just the room was mic’ed, it’s an undoubtably fascinating watch, both heartwarming and heartbreaking.

For seven days, from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, John and Yoko spoke of nothing but peace. The movie covers the couple’s week-long stay at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, but keep in mind, they had already done seven days at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel. Over ten days, they gave over 60 interviews to the press. From all reports of those who were there, and as you can see in the documentary, Lennon was tireless and fueled by his passion. It’s more than a song lyric. It literally was all they were saying: give peace a chance.

At the time, the two were ridiculed in the press, but Lennon welcomed it. “If we make people laugh, that’s enough,” he says in the film. “Happiness is a good vibe for peace.” He adds, “If you think you can do better, do it. You top it. Stop asking us, ‘Do you think it’s going to work?’, y’know. Do something yourself.” Yoko concludes with an ideology that rings truer than ever today: “People are strong. They can do anything if they get together.”

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Thursday Music News

  • The rollout of new Arcade Fire begins! And it truly couldn’t happen at a better time. Stream the single “I Give You Power” below, which features guest vocals from legendary vocalist and civil rights activist Mavis Staples. The track is a Tidal exclusive (a company Win Butler and Régine Chassagne are part-owners of). All proceeds will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union. Via a tweet, the band message, “It’s never been more important that we stick together & take care of each other.” Perfectly put. [ Pitchfork]

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Midnight In A Perfect World: OCnotes


Born Otis Calvin III, OCnotes is an artist, musician, DJ, author, motivational speaker, and vibrant figure active within Seattle’s music scene since the turn of the decade. A chameleonic artist who records as a solo entity, as one-half of Metal Chocolates, and through his countless collaborations, OCnotes is also known for his wildly unpredictable and consistently on-point DJ sets. Recently relocating back to his birth state of Arizona, Otis is poised to make the new year a fruitful one, with a forthcoming solo album due out on Seven Davis Jr.‘s Secret Angels label, as well as more solo and collaborative works upcoming on Silver Jackson‘s Homeskillet label. His exclusive guest DJ mix for Midnight in a Perfect World is an excellent showcase of his razor-sharp ear for groovy underground house gems packed with soul, funk, and boogie – all of which he mixes in a smooth, seamless fashion, while also throwing in some surprising curveballs and forgotten favorites along the way.

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Review Revue: Hula – 1000 Hours

Hula - 1000 Hours

It’s been four and a half years since I’ve talked about Sheffield’s Hula, and there’s still not much about them out there on the old world wide internet – except, perhaps, this charming little amateur doc from not long before the release of their double LP 1000 Hours.

Speaking of 1000 Hours, you really do have to shake your head at the band’s habit of giving their albums names that would later be attached to much better-known releases. Actually, it appears REM had dibs on Murmur first, but something tells me it hadn’t penetrated the Sheffield zeitgeist a year later, when Hula released their own Murmur. But they absolutely had dibs on Shadowland before K.D. Lang and 1000 Hours before those snotty Bay Area punk Green Day. Ah well, to the victors go the spoils – and the Wikipedia listings. But, for the record, Hula were a band, and they were, in the immortal words of a certain KCMU DJ, very good. Read More »

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Song of the Day: Laura Marling – Soothing

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unrealeased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Soothing” by Laura Marling from the upcoming 2017 album, Semper Femina, out March 10th on More Alarming Records/Kobalt Music Recordings.

Laura Marling – Soothing (MP3)
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Wednesday Music News

photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

  • As we mentioned earlier this month, Seattle’s own Soundgarden are set to reissue their 1988 debut LP Ultramega OK. Like previous reissues, it’ll come bundled with cool previously unreleased bonus tracks, like this early demo of “Beyond the Wheel.” Sub Pop explains, “The [early versions] were recorded in 1987 on 8-track tape by Jack Endino and Chris Hanzsek at Reciprocal Recording in Seattle, and mixed by Jack Endino in 2016. These versions feature the band in raw, powerful form — sonically closer to the band’s Endino-recorded six-song debut, Screaming Life — and provide a fascinating window into the development of songs that eventually became staples of the band’s set.” Listen below. Ultramega OK expanded will be out March 10th. [ Spin]

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Live Review: A Prairie Home Companion with Regina Spektor and The Shins at Paramount Theatre 1/7/2017

A Prairie Home Companion

On Saturday January 7th, A Prairie Home Companion made its first stop of 2017 at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle. New host Chris Thile, well known for his brilliance on the mandolin with bands Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers, brought his accompaniment The First Call Radio Players in support and a showcase from two prolific artists. Regina Spektor and The Shins were both in Seattle to debut new music and perform some of their previous tracks. Unfortunately, political comedian Hari Kondbolu was scheduled to perform, yet was delayed and could not attend.

A Prairie Home Companion
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Song of the Day: Strand of Oaks – Radio Kids

photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the day podcast subscription.  This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unrealeased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear.  Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Radio Kids” by Strand of Oaks from their forthcoming album, Hard Love, due February 17th on Dead Oceans.

Strand of Oaks – Radio Kids (MP3)
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KEXP at OFF Festival 2016

Darek with OFF Festival founder Artur Rojek

By Darek Mazzone

Festivals are amazing. The gathering of tribes, the sense of discovery, the hard work that it takes to put a good one together – all of these things combine to create a memorable experience for everyone who attends. Beyond the audience, even the staff and the artists on stage all feel the impact of such an experience. This is why so many festivals have proliferated through the last 20 years and the good ones just get better. Today, the OFF Festival, in Katowice, Poland, is one of the best. Everything, from the programming to the design, and particularly its inclusion of Southern Polish culture, makes OFF stand out in a crowded field.

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Monday Music News

photo by Victoria Holt (view set)

  • Radiohead are coming to Seattle! Following the Coachella announcement earlier this year, the guys have revealed some additional U.S. tour dates, including a Saturday, April 8th stop at Key Arena. Sure would be easy for them to walk next door to KEXP and hang out. Anyway! Keep it tuned to KEXP all day as we give away tickets before they’ve even gone on sale. General public purchase starts this Friday, January 20th. [ Spin]
  • We’ve got a new track from Spoon for DJ Cheryl Waters to play twice on the Midday Show! Stream the title track from their forthcoming ninth LP, Hot Thoughts. We also have confirmation that album will be out on March 17th via Matador. For this year’s SXSW, the guys will recreate the legendary Austin, TX venue Emo’s. Via a press release, they report, “The band will curate a unique line up each night and will stubbornly be referring to the venue as ‘Eno’s.’” [ Pitchfork]

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