John Lennon’s 1964 Gibson J 160E (in photo)
John Lennon used this guitar extensively throughout his career. It was prominently seen in the film “Help!” Lennon and Yoko Ono held two “bed-ins” for peace in March and May of 1969, which Lennon commemorated by drawing caricatures of Yoko and himself on the guitar.
Newseum’s new exhibit, “Louder than Words: Rock, Power, and Politics” explores the power of rock to change attitudes about patriotism, peace, equality and freedom. Created in partnership with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the exhibit, on display through July 31, 2017, highlights the intersection of music and politics.
A testament to those artists exercising their precious First Amendment rights, “This exhibit is a powerful testament to the role music has played in influencing political and social change,” said Cathy Trost, senior vice president of exhibits and programs at the Newseum. “These artists have helped shape attitudes and action about war and peace, social justice, and human rights around the world.”
Through iconic artifacts, compelling images and multimedia experiences, the exhibit examines how music has influenced issues ranging from political campaigns to civil rights. Included in the exhibit are John Lennon’s acoustic guitar from his 1969 Montreal and Amsterdam “Bed-Ins for Peace” with Yoko Ono, the Fender Stratocaster Jimi Hendrix used to perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock, stage costumes worn by the Village People and original handwritten lyrics to Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” Chuck Berry’s “School Day,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” and Green Day’s “American Idiot.” The exhibit also features artifacts related to the Vietnam War, the May 4, 1970, shooting at Kent State University, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Black Lives Matter movement.