John and Yoko original previously unpublished photo by Gail Renard
Estimate: £1,000-1,500 Christie's Images Ltd. 2008
SOUTH KENSINGTON - Christie’s is to offer John Lennon’s lyrics for Give Peace a Chance from the legendary Montreal Bed-In of 1969, along with personal photos which have never been seen in public before (estimate: £200,000 300,000). The lyrics and photos are offered from the collection of UKbased comedy writer and presenter Gail Renard and highlight Christie’s South Kensington’s Rock and Pop Memorabilia sale on Thursday 10 July 2008.
Just sixteen and living in Montreal at the time of the Bed-In, Gail and a friend sneaked into the Queen Elizabeth Hotel where John and Yoko were holding their protest for Peace and became friendly with the recently married Lennons. John gave Gail a few momentos at the time, including the lyrics, telling her; “…one day they will be worth something…” and she has had them in her possession ever since.
Gail Renard and John Lennon
Gail Renard was a student at Sir George Williams University in Montreal in 1969, when John Lennon and Yoko Ono came to Montreal to stage their Bed-In. Gail and a friend got into the room where John and Yoko were staying by climbing up the fire escape and waiting for the moment when the security guards outside Suite 1742 changed shifts; it was then that they knocked on the door and asked for an interview for their university magazine. Arriving before the rest of the invited press, they quickly made themselves useful, running errands, playing with Yoko Ono’s five-year old daughter Kyoko and being generally helpful. John and Gail shared a similar sense of humour and got on very well. As a result, Gail spent the rest of the week with John and Yoko at the Bed-In and struck up a life-long friendship with John. In a final act of generosity, John Lennon effectively launched Gail’s early career as a writer, by calling the editor of The Beatles Monthly Magazine in London and instructing him to publish Gail’s review of the Bed-In.
The Montreal Bed-In, 1969
John Lennon and Yoko Ono checked in to Montreal's Queen Elizabeth Hotel at midnight on May 26, 1969. The newlyweds had previously hosted a honeymoon "Bed-In" for peace at the Amsterdam Hilton two months earlier, and building on the phenomenal success of this earlier event they were keen to hold a second Bed-In in New York. However, having been denied access to America, they opted instead to use Montreal, Canada due to its close proximity to the US border. The Bed-In lasted eight days, and throughout the week the couple, along with Kyoko, sat up in bed in their nightclothes and opened their doors to the worlds’ media speaking to as many radio and TV journalists and political figures as they could.
The climax and highlight of this event occurred on the final evening when John led the recording of what has been described as the worlds’ most endurable peace anthem and slogan; Give Peace a Chance. The recording took 5 minutes and was sung by the John and the 50 or so guests in the room that night who included Timothy Leary, Rabbi Geinberg, comedian Tommy Smothers, British singer Petula Clark, US beat poet Allen Ginsberg, British DJ Roger Scott and several members of the Canadian Radha Krishna Temple.
Facts and Figures:
• Give Peace a Chance was the first hit single to be recorded by an individual band member whilst still in The Beatles. It reached No. 14 on Billboard's chart, and inspired an entire generation to sing a song of peace. When Lennon witnessed TV footage of nearly half a million anti-Vietnam protestors signing this song outside the White House in November 1969 he considered it to be “..one of the biggest moments of my life…”
• John Lennon and Yoko Ono occupied the corner suite room 1742 at the stately Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal between 26 May to 2 June, 1969. Every year on 8 December, the anniversary of Lennon’s death, two dozen roses, half red and half white, are left anonymously by the door of the suite.
• John Lennon and Yoko Ono were married on 20 March 1969 in Gibraltar.
• The first Bed-in for peace took place in room 902, the presidential suite of the Amsterdam Hilton, 25– 31 March 1969.
Gail Renard is an experienced comedy writer and presenter. In 2002, she won a BAFTA Award for her BBC TV children’s’ comedy drama series, Custer’s Last Stand Up. Gail started writing professionally at a young age, and after graduating from university in Canada, her writing took her to Britain, where she was mentored by John Cleese. She wrote and performed with Douglas Adams (Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy) and together they wrote and performed in a comedy revue, So You Think You Feel Haddocky, which played in London’s West End Little Theatre. Gail’s other TV writing credits include Get Up, Stand Up (an award winning Channel 4 adult comedy), Chucklevision (BBC TV) and Your Mother Wouldn’t Like It (ITV, Bafta Award Winning children’s’ series which Gail wrote along with actor Hugh Grant). Gail has been associated with The British Comedy Awards for the past eight years, as both a judge and presenter; and still occasionally performs comedy on television. For four years Gail was part of The
Breakfast Show on Talk Radio, and has also broadcast on LBC. Gail is closely associated with the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, having been a former Chair, and is currently Chair of its Television Committee.