The Beatles: John Lennon and Yoko Ono used Imagine to write Happy Xmas War is Over

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Former member of The Beatles John Lennon worked on a lot of music with his wife, Yoko Ono, following the Fab Four’s break up. Collectively known as John Lennon and Plastic Ono Band, Lennon worked hard in creating his own vibe during releases of his solo music. Perhaps his first and biggest hit was the 1971 anthem Imagine, which has since been named one of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

While Imagine was a certified banger, it did include a political message of Lennon’s making.

He was telling listeners that everybody – all of humanity – needed to come together and work as one to survive.

Although this message could have been somewhat lost on its listeners, the song itself was unbelievably successful, as it peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 at the time of release.

It was Imagine’s construction which went on to help Lennon create the seemingly timeless song Happy Xmas (War Is Over).

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Lennon and Yoko worked on the song throughout 1971, and released it on December 1 of the same year.

It was a relative failure following its US release, as it came out late in the game for the holiday season, meaning it didn’t get much airtime on the radio.

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Happy Xmas’s UK release was substantially more engaging, however, as it was welcomed in at number four in the UK singles charts.

The song has gone on to reappear in the top ten nine times since its release, over Christmas times, and around Lennon’s death.

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Happy Xmas (War Is Over) was another politically charged song from Lennon.

The title, War Is Over, echoed the sentiment of some billboards Lennon and Yoko erected at the time in protest to the Vietnam war.

Years later, whilst talking about how he wrote Imagine, and subsequently Happy Xmas, Lennon explained how he managed to make such political songs so successful.

At the time, Lennon said: “Now I understand what you have to do: Put your political message across with a little honey.”

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Although the pair didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye about everything, Lennon and Paul McCartney were incredible at writing songs together.

Although it seems like Lennon didn’t need McCartney to write such hits as Happy Xmas and Imagine, McCartney recently revealed how he still thinks about Lennon’s opinions on his new music.

In a recent interview regarding his brand new solo album, McCartney III, the hitmaker said of his relationship with Lennon: “We had certainly got our friendship back, which was a great blessing for me.

“And I now will often think, if I’m writing a song, ‘OK, John — I’ll toss it over to you.”

McCartney continued: “What line comes next?’ So I’ve got a virtual John that I can use.”

He later spoke about the band getting back together, saying: “We made a decision when the Beatles folded that we weren’t going to pick it up again.

“So we switched off from the Beatles. You talk about something coming full circle that is very satisfying; let’s not spoil it by doing something that might not be as good.

“It was a conscious decision to leave well enough alone, so I don’t really think we would have. But who knows? We could have.”


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