How John Lennon Felt When He Met Justin Trudeau’s Dad

John Lennon was so popular he got to meet heads of state. At one point, he even met the Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau, the father of Justin Trudeau. Here’s what John thought about this experience.

John Lennon holding a guitar
John Lennon | Max Scheler – K & K/Redferns

What happened when a Beatle met a Canadian Prime Minister

In the 1971 book Lennon Remembers, Jann S. Wenner interviewed John about the times he crossed paths with a number of world leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Golda Mier and British Prime Minister Harold Wilson. He had the most to say about his interaction with the elder Trudeau. According to the CBC, John and Yoko Ono met with Trudeau to promote peace in 1969. John and Yoko requested the meeting. 

According to The New Yorker, John and Yoko were quite taken with Trudeau. Yoko commented he was “more beautiful than we expected.” In addition, John said “If all politicians were like Mr. Trudeau, there would be world peace.” That’s a major compliment from an artist who made peace a major theme in his music and his activism. 

“Give Peace a Chance”

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Subsequently, Trudeau responded by referring to John’s song “Give Peace a Chance,” saying its title was good advice. Later, when John was interviewed for Lennon Remembers, he theorized why Trudeau wanted to meet with himself and Yoko.

What John Lennon had to say about Pierre Trudeau after the fact

“He was interested in us because he thought we might represent some sort of youth faction – he wants to know, like everybody does, really,” John said in Lennon Remembers. “I think he was very nervous – he was more nervous than we were when we met.” John further elaborated on what it was like talking to Trudeau.

Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in front of a Canadian flag
Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau | AFP via Getty Images

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“We talked about everything – just anything you can think of,” John added. “We spent about 40 minutes – it was 5 minutes longer than he’d spent with the heads of state which was the great glory of the time. He’d read In His Own Write, my book, and things like that. He liked the poetry side of it. We just wanted to see what they did, how they worked.”

In His Own Write is a book of poems and surrealist short stories John wrote while The Beatles were still together. Unlike The Beatles’ songs, John’s books have not become very popular. The fact that Trudeau read In His Own Write perhaps suggests he was particularly interested in John’s work — or at least avant-garde literature. 

John Lennon in a car
John Lennon | Keystone/Getty Images

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What John Lennon wanted to do in Canada

According to canada.com, John and Yoko saw Canada as “a good place.” John wanted to hold a Woodstock-esque concert in Canada and start a global peace foundation in the country. These plans never came to fruition. Regardless, John and Yoko’s meeting with Trudeau will always be a fascinating part of rock ‘n’ roll and Canadian history.