How I got in to the room
At the age of 18 I was very fortunate to
have the chance to be one of the photographers at the "Bed In
For Peace" in Montreal. Below is the story of how I got into
the "Bed In".
knew the radio announcer who would host the live broadcast
from the Queen Elizabeth Hotel on the first night of John Lennon's stay in Montreal.
He had agreed that I could take photos for the station, all I had to
do was get in. Richard Glanville-Brown of Capital Records agreed to
give me 15 minutes with John and Yoko during the live broadcast.
Was Absolutely Ecstatic!
I was going to meet John Lennon and Yoko Ono and I was going
to be part of the live radio broadcast event.
arrived at John Lennon's suite at 5:45 pm having pushed my way
through throngs of adoring fans who filled the corridors of
the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. There
was a security man seated on a chair in front of the door to the
suite, I announced that I was the photographer for CFOX Radio. I was ushered into a room adjoining
'The Bed in Room' and was told
that the Montreal press would be finishing up with John in a few
minutes then Roger Scott, Charles P. Rodney Chandler and I would be introduced to John
Lennon and Yoko Ono before 6 p.m. I would be
given 15 minutes to take my photographs then I would have to leave.
So there I was, sitting in the room with
John Lennon, Roger Scott, Charles P. Rodney Chandler and Yoko Ono.
Roger was on the air interviewing John and I was seated in a corner
of the room not more than 10 feet away shooting images. After about 10 minutes of interviewing John, Roger had
Charles P. Rodney Chandler play one of John songs. During the break
I couldn't resist the temptation to go over and sit next to John and
ask him a question. "John tell me what the meaning was
behind Strawberry Fields Forever." "Well Roy, I will tell
you. It was like this. We had 11 songs for the album and we needed one
more song, so we wrote Strawberry Fields." "You mean, there wasn't any deep psychedelic message about love,
peace, eternity and all that" I asked. "No nothing like
that, it was just a song Roy, just one of many songs. Other people
gave them special meaning, depth and intent, we just wrote songs. The record company just kept telling us
to put out more records and write more songs. We were just a bloody
There was one illusion completely
destroyed! I believed every single word of every song that was on
every album, came from Valhalla directly to the Beatles, with no
intermediary steps. Boy was I wrong.
So between songs, Roger would interview
John, during songs I would pepper John with questions. All the time
snapping pictures with my beautiful Licaflex 35mm camera. At one
point, very on into evening I ran out of film. I went over to 'Chuckie'
Chandler, as he was affectionately known in the radio world and borrowed a few dollars to buy some film. I dashed down to the lobby and picked up a role of
film, then rushed back to the room. I stayed until the
I was leaving, Derek Taylor, John's secretary, assistant and friend,
approached me and said that John was interested in looking at the
pictures I had taken and could I possibly come over with some black and white
proofs the next day. No
problem at all I said! although I had no darkroom, no way of developing
the images, I knew that I would be there the next day with the prints!
I got the use of
a dark room and enlarger, for a rental fee. I rushed out and bought some photographic paper went to the
darkroom and printed two 8 x 10 contact sheets.
The next day went back to the QE
Hotel and Derek brought me back into the room, where John sat up and looked at them.
John told me that he wanted one 8 x 10 print of each of
the pictures I had taken. As I was leaving
Richard Glenville Brown took me aside and asked me if I would do a
set of prints for Capital Records. No problem, I replied, so now I had orders for 76 pictures at $10 each. That is $760 in one day, in one sitting, on
the first professional job of my life in photography.
Thus began an eight day adventure
with John, Yoko and friends, which included the writing and
recording session of the song "Give Peace A Chance".