The following article appeared in page 4 of The Montreal Gazette on May 31, 1969. As already documented, Rabbi Feinberg played a central role in John and Yoko's peace campaign by appearing on Canadian television with the Lennons in promoting their peace initiative. As the reader will discover, Rabbi Feinberg also made a significant contribution in what became a historical musical event...Lennon's much beloved recording of "Give Peace A Chance".
(Technical note: the word "tagether" was written this way by The Gazette).
TITLE OF ARTICLE:
Feinberg joins Beatle in song
Can a rabbi and a Beatle make beautiful music tagether?
Toronto Rabbi Abraham Feinberg and Beatle John Lennon believe they can, and they'll find out for sure today when the 69-year-old rabbi records a song with the bedded Beatle.
It all started yesterday when Rabbi Feinberg visited Lennon's bedside in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel because "he is one of the most powerful influences in the modern world, and I feel he is doing a phenomenal thing for peace."
They struck up such instant empathy that Rabbi Feinberg very nearly presented Lennon with the dragon-headed walking stick given to him by Ho Chi Minh in 1967.
He finally decided that this would be an insult to the North Vietnamese leader and promised to have a replica of the cane made for Lennon instead.
When the conversation turned to music, it turned out that in 1930 Rabbi Feinberg had temporarily given up the rabbinate of Temple Israel in New York to become a popular radio singer.
Singing under the name Anthony Frome, he had even had Arthur Godfrey as his announcer.
But now, he confided to Lennon, he could barely keep time with today's music.
"That doesn't matter," Lennon's wife Yoko interjected. "You're God's child, and any sound that comes out of you is beautiful."
"Keeping time isn't that interesting anyway; if you just keep time, that's beautiful too," she said.
The rabbi and the Beatle tried harmonizing briefly on something called "Love Is The Sweetest Thing," then Lennon took up his guitar.
He began singing the refrain of a very catchy tune he was in the process of composing: "All we are saying is give peace a chance."
He hadn't worked out the rest of the words yet, so he ad-libbed "Everyone's talking about rabbis and babbis and..." stringing together a whole collection of nonsensical rhymes.
"How about something on bishops, too," Rabbi Feinberg suggested.
"...bishops and pishops and..." Lennon chanted.
Rabbi Feinberg was delighted with the song. The next time around he joined in on the chorus.
"Why don't you record it with me?" Lennon said.
"Maybe we can bill ourselves as John Lennon and the Flaming Red Rabbi," he added, referring to a label pinned on the rabbi by one of his critics.
It turned out that Lennon was entirely serious about the idea, if not about the billing. And Rabbi Feinberg was entirely enthusiastic about the idea of recording a song for peace.
Lennon promptly arranged to have a Capitol Records team set up shop in his suite tomorrow to record him and the rabbi singing the song, which will be released as a single.
"I'm not interested in what people say about dignity," Rabbi Feinberg later told The Gazette. "I don't worship respectability.
"I feel you can sing for truth, justice and peace."
He said he may later make a soul recording of his own, perhaps an LP, dedicated to peace and featuring a number of songs in the pop idiom.
To Lennon, Rabbi Feinberg's parting words after yesterday's visit were: "You certainly are serving God."
"Yes, I know," Lennon replied. "It's 'Make God Happy' week."
Copyright by The Montreal Gazette, May 31, 1969, all rights reserved.
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