When Timothy Leary Met John Lennon

Photo: Roy Kerwood (CC)

A never-before-published transcript  reveals what John Lennon talked about with Timothy Leary during a “bed-in” at a hotel in Montreal. Just three months before Lennon left the Beatles — and the same week he recorded “Give Peace a Chance” — Leary warns the 28-year-old Beatle that “the kids must be taught how to use the media… People used to say to me… ‘Did the Buddha go on television?’ I’d say, ‘Ahh – he would’ve. He would’ve..'”

In a dark coincidence, Lennon remembers the Beatles last U.S. tour in 1966, saying “it was terrifying…. Somebody was letting off balloons, and we all looked around to see which of us had got shot!” And Leary invites Lennon to visit a scenic valley near their estate in Massachusetts, though a footnote in the transcript points out they abandoned the estate after government persecution led by G. Gordon Liddy, and within a year, Leary was in prison.

But one Leary archivist calls this transcript “a time capsule from an era that has powerful and poignant correspondences to our own,” and another notes that “These were some of the precursors of the Occupy Movement that began in Zuccotti Park last September.” (In 1967, Yippies occupied both the NY Stock Exchange and the grounds of the Pentagon…) Leary argues that crackdowns on drug-using pop stars were a reaction to a perceived political threat.

“The reason these power trips are happening is because the freedom thing is so strong…this thing we’re involved in, it does transcend all the old dichotomies of left/right or conservative.”

5 Comments on "When Timothy Leary Met John Lennon"


    Imagine an entire world living in peace… John saw the beauty
    and inherent good in humanity.  I tried
    to do his legacy justice and channel his world-embracing and loving energy this
    week with a tribute portrait inspired by his music and his passion for changing
    the world.  You can see this new work of
    art in memoriam on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/12/john-lennon-just-imagine.html
    along with some pictures showing how I created it.  See John holding the Universe in his hand and
    spreading his message.  When you stop by,
    let me know how his words and music have affected your life and creativity!

    • “If your only hope is simply peace and love,

      You end up discarding most of what you’re made of…”

    • Paul Erna | May 31, 2013 at 10:56 pm |

      There will never be peace. Religions will always fight. Politicians will always have favorites…like big names with money. Look at this public case:Bobby Brown Serves Nine Hours in Jail for Third DUI
      While California is known for having some of the toughest DUI laws in the nation, it seems Bobby Brown has been let off easy. He was released Wednesday after serving nine hours of his 55-day jail sentence for driving under the influence.

      L.A. County sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore told the media that Brown was released early due to jail overcrowding and good behavior.ily.
      This was like thumbing their nose at us as they knew it would be public

  2. Not to split hairs, but Millbrook was in NY state, not MA.

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