John Lennon Has a Coronavirus Message for You From Beyond the Grave

John Lennon was way ahead of his time. His worldview and some of the music he made both feel strikingly modern. John may have been so ahead of his time he gave us a message about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Well, not exactly. What did happen is that whoever runs John’s YouTube channel edited some old footage of the singer so it appears he’s giving a public service announcement about the coronavirus. Here’s the story behind the footage.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono at the National Press Club for a press conference | Bettmann

John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s coronavirus public service announcement

Many celebrities are now using their platform to encourage people to stay safe. That’s probably to be expected in a time like this. However, few would have expected footage of John to be used in a public service announcement about COVID-19.

In a brief clip uploaded to John’s official YouTube channel, John and Yoko Ono lie in bed. They each cheekily extol viewers to stay in bed and grow their hair. This cutesy message obviously has some relevance to current events, but it was originally delivered in a much different context.

Footage of the Bed-In for Peace repurposed as a coronavirus public service announcement.

Why John Lennon and Yoko Ono stayed in bed for peace

During 1969, John and Yoko were trying to spread a message of peace amidst the horrors of the Vietnam War. They invited the press to come see them and discuss their message of peace as they lied in bed in Amsterdam. This event would become known as the “Bed-In for Peace.” John and Yoko would repeat this little experiment every day for a week.

The reason they told people to stay in bed and grow their hair was twofold. Firstly, their stunt was an anti-violence message. It’s hard to hurt people if you’re just staying in bed. John could have just said “be peaceful.” However, after a certain point in his career, John started making avant-garde art and lost the directness of the Beatles’ early work.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono during the world-famous Bed-In for Peace | Central Press/Getty Images

Secondly, “grow your hair” was an anti-establishment message. That interpretation might seem strange today. However, at the time, long hair symbolized the hippie movement and a rejection of conformity. John wanted people to reject a violent establishment. He explained “we’re thinking that, instead of going out and fight and make war or something like that, we should just stay in bed: Everybody should just stay in bed and enjoy the spring.”

After John told everyone to stay in bed, he strummed a tune on his guitar reminiscent of the Beatles’ album track “Because.” John and Yoko’s little peaceful protest seemed absurd to some. However, John admitted he wanted his protest to be strange. The bizarre nature of the Bed-In certainly drew attention to John’s message.

Did the Bed-In work? Well, it certainly didn’t end any wars. However, the words of John and other rock stars helped to instill anti-war sentiment into the public at large. Hopefully, the same footage will inspire people today to stay safe.

Also see: Were John Lennon & Yoko Ono Going to Play Jesus & Mary Magdalene?