Yoko Ono

"i dropped in on the bed-in"

 

Ede Wolk, Vancouver, Canada (originally in Beatlology 2001)

John and Yoko arrived in Montreal for their Bed-In at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel at the end of May in 1969. I was struggling through high school at that time, and more determined to catch a glimpse of the couple (and maybe, who knows, make it up to their room) than to get straight A's. So I spent the next few days skipping school and hanging around the hotel lobby, surprised that I wasn't questioned by anyone, as they were all busy enough coordinating the press and other media to wonder what I was doing there.

Naively, I though that maybe John and Yoko would emerge from their room to go for a walk, check out the sights. As I was sitting and waiting, nothing much was happening except for the continuous bustle of reporters and photographers.

One day there was a small group huddled near the reception counter, when a gentleman with a British accent approached them and asked "Are you here for the Lennon party?" The gentleman, I recognized right away, was none other than Derek Taylor, the Beatles' (later Apple's) press officer. The group followed him to one of the elevators and, recognizing a golden opportunity when one presented itself, I followed them and managed to squeeze into the elevator with them for the ride up to the 17th floor.

My heart was pounding with so much excitement I could hear it as we emerged from the elevator and entered room 1742. I had arrived! John, dressed in striped pajamas, politely rose out of bed and greeted us all. Already present in the room was the continuing entourage of reporters and photographers, a film crew hired by John and Yoko to document the whole event, and Yoko's six-year-old daughter, Kyoko. Timothy Leary, Tommy Smothers, Dick Gregory, the Hare Krishnas and Al Capp had yet to arrive, so the atmosphere was a little subdued.

As we sat on the floor at the foot of the bed, my eyes did a quick tour of the room … lots of flowers, John's drawings and slogans posted on the walls, and, of course, the man himself. Sitting up comfortably in bed next to Yoko, he was constantly smoking a cigarette. John and Yoko talked about love and peace and answered a lot of questions. At one point Kyoko was getting a little hyperactive among the guests, so John casually got out of bed and took her into another room, and from the corner of my eye I could see him wagging a finger at her and telling her to behave.

Shortly thereafter, Derek Taylor announced that our audience was over, thanked us and showed us to the door. I decided I was going to hang in as long as possible and befriended a local amateur photographer named Nathan Wolkowitz who was showing John and Yoko some photographs he had taken the day before, hoping to get John to sign a release form so he could have them published. I asked him if he would take a picture of me sitting at the edge of the bed as John and Yoko were perusing his photos. We exchanged phone numbers and a couple of days later he phoned to say my photo was ready and to meet him in the lobby of the hotel. Excitedly, I rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hotel and met Nathan, who presented me with the print and an invoice for $20! It was a bit rich for my pockets in those days, but as I look at that photo hanging on my wall 35 years later, I know that it, and the story behind it, are priceless.

Ede Wolk is a former Montrealer who says he's been a Beatles fan since February 9th, 1964. He currently lives in Vancouver where he's a radio music producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

 

arrow Montreal Bed-In by John&Yoko in 1969

 

 

Ede Wolk with John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Ede Wolk with John and Yoko


© Sari Gurney
Biography Interviews From Yoko Bibliography Discography Art and exhibitions Photos and stories Links Search Editor Home