Beds To Protest With: How John Lennon And Yoko Ono Used Their Bed

by Emily Barasch

Beds can serve all kinds of function: a place for rest and sleep; cuddling and unmentionables; Neflix and chill; and even, the occasional indulgence of takeout Chinese or ice cream. 

But for John Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1969, the bed was a space for political protest. On March 25th, five days after their wedding, they staged their first Bed-In in the presidential suite of the Amsterdam Hilton. An unconventional honeymoon to say the least, they invited the press into their bedroom for ten hours a day, over the course of a week, to promote world peace.  

Inspired by the sit-ins utilized by the civil rights movement and later, the anti-war protestors, Lennon and Ono took advantage of the public’s fascination with their coupling and choose a more intimate setting. And really, who wouldn’t want to spend several days in bed with their beloved? It was no secret they were crazy about each other. (See the collapse of the Beatles.) The press had believed they would be getting intimate as a part of the event, but instead found them just hanging out, playing music, and engaging the reporters about their opposition to Vietnam.

The Bed-Ins—there was a subsequent one in Montreal—were immortalized in a documentary called Bed Peace; and their influence has reverberated in performance art, protest music, and pop culture as a well. Of course, not everyone was impressed: One newspaper hilariously called the event a “spectacle of hairy hedonists.” 

Whatever your thoughts on the occurrence, it’s impossible to deny the sheer coolness of melding languid luxury with peaceful protest.