The Rabbi Who Inspired John Lennon’s ‘Give Peace Chance’ Received No Credit

John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance” was partly inspired by a rabbi. Subsequently, John revealed why he gave Paul McCartney a writing credit on “Give Peace a Chance.”

John Lennon‘s “Give Peace a Chance” was partly inspired by a rabbi. Notably, the rabbi was mentioned briefly in the lyrics of the song. During an interview, John revealed why he gave Paul McCartney a writing credit on the track even though he had nothing to do with its writing.

The rabbi who inspired John Lennon’s ‘Give Peace a Chance’ was an activist

Rabbi Abraham Feinberg was a Canadian religious leader known for his progressive stances, such as his activism against racism in the United States and apartheid in South Africa. According to the Jewish Journal, Feinberg was one of the guests during John and Yoko Ono’s Bed-In for Peace protest against the Vietnam War. Feinberg is the reason rabbis are mentioned in the lyrics of “Give Peace a Chance.”

The Times reports Feinberg made a fateful remark during the protest. He said “John, we really have to give peace a chance.” Feinberg’s words influenced one of the most famous protest songs of all time. Despite inspiring the tune, Feinberg did not receive a writing credit. Of course, John was not legally required to give him that honor.

In retrospect, John Lennon couldn’t remember who inspired ‘Give Peace a Chance’

The book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono features an interview from 1980. In the interview, John was asked to discuss the origin of “Give Peace a Chance.” John didn’t mention Feinberg at all.

“Well, after being interviewed for weeks and weeks and weeks, night and day, with Yoko and me talking about peace from our beds, I had those words coming out of my mouth or Yoko’s — wherever the hell they came from — and it became a song,” John said.

Notably, John said the song “wasn’t giving any gospel.” He wasn’t using the song to promote pacifism in all situations. Rather, he simply wanted to remind people that peace was an option.

The singer gave Paul McCartney a writing credit on the song out of guilt

Paul McCartney got credited as the co-writer of “Give Peace a Chance.” John was asked if this was accurate. “No, I didn’t write it with Paul; but again, out of guilt, we always had that thing that our names would go on songs even if we didn’t write them,” he said. “It was never a legal deal between Paul and me, just an agreement when we were 15 or 16 to put both our names on our songs.

“I’d put his name on ‘Give Peace a Chance’ though he had nothing to do with it,” he added. “It was a silly thing to do, actually. It should have been Lennon–Ono.”

Feinberg isn’t a household name but the song means he’ll always have a musical legacy.

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