John Lennon Wrote ‘Give Peace a Chance’ Because ‘We All Have Hitler in Us’

John Lennon revealed the inspiration behind “Give Peace a Chance” and his feelings about his and Yoko Ono’s anti-war activism.

Some classic rock songs are more complex than you might think. For example, John Lennon‘s “Give Peace a Chance” had philosophical and moral underpinnings. In addition, he revealed what he thought about the reaction to the song. Notably, it was far more popular in the United Kingdom than it was in the United States.

John Lennon’s ‘Give Peace a Chance’ was inspired by the duality of humanity

A 1980 article from The Washington Post features a series of quotes from John in memoriam. In one of those quotes, John said something very provocative. “We all have Hitler in us, but we also have love and peace,” he said. “So why not give peace a chance?”

John discussed the reaction to “Give Peace a Chance.” “I was pleased when the movement in America took up ‘Give Peace a Chance’ because I had written it with that in mind really,” he revealed. To this day, “give peace a chance” remains a famous slogan, even appearing in the lyrics of Lana Del Rey’s “Say Yes to Heaven.”

John Lennon’s ‘Give Peace a Chance’ wasn’t his only work of activism

John discussed his peace activism. “Henry Ford knew how to sell cars by advertising,” he said. “I’m selling peace, and Yoko and I are just one big advertising campaign. It may make people laugh, but it may make them think, too. Really, we’re Mr. and Mrs. Peace.” There was some truth to his comment on “Mr. and Mrs. Peace,” as John and Yoko’s Bed-In for Peace remains one of the most famous anti-war protests of all time.

John had a positive outlook about himself and Yoko. “We’re not going to fizzle out in half a day,” he said. “But afterwards, I’m not going to change into a tap-dancing musical. I’ll just develop what I’m doing at the moment. This isn’t show business. This is different from anything that anybody imagines. You don’t go on from this. You do this and then you finish.”

How the song performed on the pop charts

“Give Peace a Chance” was a modestly successful debut for the Plastic Ono Band. The tune climbed to No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for nine weeks. The track appeared on The John Lennon Collection. That compilation hit No. 33 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 16 weeks.

According to The Official Charts Company, “Give Peace a Chance” peaked at No. 2 in the United Kingdom and spent a total of 18 weeks on the chart. The Official Charts Company says The John Lennon Collection topped the U.K. chart for six weeks. Altogether, The John Lennon Collection lasted on the chart for 42 weeks.

Since then, “Give Peace a Chance” has become a standard. It’s been covered by Stevie Wonder, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, Madonna, U2, Elton John, and numerous others. Famously, Hot Chocolate recorded a reggae version of the tune that included lyrics about racial integration.

“Give Peace a Chance” is a classic song and it was rooted in John’s view of human nature.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Mick Jagger John & Yoko’s Elvis Presley & Priscilla Presley