Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: making great music personal

looking back

40 years ago this week: rock stars and rallies

March 25, 2009

In the last few months of our milestone 40th anniversary season, we continue to look back 40 years ago to the colorful historical events taking place this week 40 years ago. In the week of March 21 through March 28, 1969, prominent American music icons brought a new level of creativity to their ideological protests and stage performances.

On March 21, 1969, newlyweds John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged a “Bed-In for Peace.”After their highly publicized March 20 wedding, the two music icons decided to spend a week in bed in a Hilton hotel in Amsterdam—and not just because it was their honeymoon. Lennon and Ono invited friends and media to enter their hotel room to join in a non-violent protest against the war. Above their bed, the two placed signs that said “Hair Peace” and “Bed Peace.” They talked about peace, sang songs and invited discussion. This Bed-In for Peace was the first of two staged by Lennon and Ono; the other took place in May 1969 in Montreal and was the site of the recording of “Give Peace a Chance.”

In response to a Doors concert in which an intoxicated Jim Morrison performed obscene gestures and activities while on stage, thirty thousand teenagers joined in a Rally for Decency in Miami on March 23, 1969. This rally demonstrated that conservative Americans, much like their liberal counterparts, were willing to vocalize their distaste for the state of the US in group protest. This rally prompted President Richard Nixon to write the following letter to the organizer of the protest, a teenager named Mike Levesque (dated March 16, 1969):

Dear Mike:
I was extremely interested to learn about the admirable initiative undertaken by you and 30,000 other young people at the Miami Teen-age Rally for Decency held last Sunday.
This very positive approach which focused attention on a number of critical problems confronting society strengthens my belief that the younger generation is our greatest natural resource and therefore of tremendous hope for the future.
I hope that you will express my appreciation to everyone involved and my congratulations on the success of their efforts.


Stay tuned as we continue to look back to the turbulent times that surrounded LACO’s beginnings…

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