Nostalgic News: ‘Give Peace a Chance’ was released 50 years ago

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As part of our War and Remembrance collaboration with Wessex Scene, this is the first in a series of Nostalgic News pieces looking at music, TV shows, films and literature that are celebrating big anniversaries this year.  John Lennon’s ‘Give Peace a Chance’ was released as a single on 4th July 1969.

John Lennon belongs to a select group of musicians whose image and character have transcended their art. Like Elvis before him and Kurt Cobain afterwards, the idea behind Lennon’s music is often just as enduring as the songs themselves. His biggest artistic contributions, in contrast to the stylistic flair of his writing partner Paul McCartney, rest heavily on this principle.

‘Give Peace a Chance’ is a prime example of this. Musically, the song is a raucous mess of hand-claps, foot thumps, and liberal tamborine shaking. John’s prose-like lyrics glide above the cacophony and, at first glance, don’t say much of anything beyond the title refrain. But herein lies the conceit. By the time you’ve arrived at these conclusions, some of them harsh, you have already absorbed the central message of the track. ‘Give Peace a Chance’ is John Lennon at his most unabashed – a no-strings-attached message that resonates today.

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Bailey studies Modern History and Politics, and spends his free time wishing the university offered a Beatles degree.

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