John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Year Canada Was Cool

Greg Marquis

While the Beatles were breaking up, John Lennon and Yoko Ono headed to Canada to stage a bed-in for peace, play a peace concert, and meet prime minister Trudeau.
Date Published :
April 2021
Publisher :
Lorimer
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Paperback
ISBN : 9781459415416
Pages : 168
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order
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$22.95

Overview
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John Lennon was the world's biggest rock star in the late Sixties. With his new wife Yoko Ono, the duo were icons of the peace movement denouncing the Vietnam War. In 1969, at the height of their popularity, they headed to Canada.

Canada was already a politically charged place. In 1968, Pierre Elliott Trudeau rode a wave of popularity dubbed Trudeaumania for its similarities to the Beatlemania of the era. The sexual revolution, hippie culture, the New Left and the peace movement were challenging norms, frightening the authorities and provoking backlash. Quebec nationalism was putting the power of the English-speaking minority running the province on the defensive, and threatening the breakup of the country.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged a "bed-in for peace" at an upscale downtown Montreal hotel. The couple, aided by the CBC, saw a steady stream of journalists, musicians and activists arriving for interviews, political discussions, singing and art-making. The classic "Give Peace A Chance" was recorded there with the help of local Quebecois musicians.

Three months later they were back in Canada with Eric Clapton and other friends to play a concert festival in Toronto arranged by local promoters. American acts like Little Richard, The Doors, Bo Diddley and Alice Cooper, along with many Canadian pop musicians of the time, played at the festival.

At year's end, the duo met with Prime Minister Trudeau in Ottawa. By this time Trudeau was cracking down on dissent, mainly in Quebec, and falling out of favor with the counterculture crowd.

Recounting the story of these events, historian Greg Marquis offers a unique portrayal of Canadian society in the late Sixties, recounting how politicians, activists, police, artists, musicians and businesses across Canada reacted to John and Yoko's presence and message.

About The Author
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GREG MARQUIS is Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Politics at University of New Brunswick at Saint John (UNBSJ), specializing in Canadian history and criminal justice history. Professor Marquis has developed a number of courses in the area of law and society, and is on the editorial board of Acadiensis and the Social History of Alcohol and Drugs. In addition to criminal justice history, his research interests include urban history and urban policy, the history of popular culture and the history of alcohol and drugs. Greg lives in Quispamsis, New Brunswick.

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