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.”