And So This is Xmas...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

It’s hard to believe that as of today, the world has now been without John Lennon in it for 29 years. Equally hard to believe is that one of the most stupendous Christmas songs to become a modern hit, "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)", was a flop when it when it was first released in 1971. John Lennon and Yoko Ono wrote the song in a matter of hours one July morning in 1971. Lennon was so excited, according to the companion booklet for the CD Box set "Lennon; An Anthology", that he told Yoko, "This is going to be bigger than White Christmas, you’ll see."

But a misunderstanding that day over whether to attend George Harrison’s concert for Bangladesh caused the couple to put the song on the back burner. (Ono later found out years later that Lennon was invited while she was not, and he didn’t want her to know she’d been snubbed.) When they remembered the song in November of that year it was too late to give it a proper release backed by substantial advertising and PR. Lennon really wanted it to go out, but it bombed (it was released the following year in the UK, and charted at #4 on the UK singles chart.) Only after his death in 1980 did the song receive radio play and became a posthumorous hit.

Since then the song has been covered by numerous artists, including Maroon 5, Diana Ross, Neil Diamond, The Moody Blues, and even REO Speedwagon, but in my opinion no one will ever be able to top Lennon's version - which features backing children's vocals from the Harlem Community Choir.

War is Over. If you want it.


  1. Thanks for this informative post :)

  2. Great post. It is so sad to think about John's murder. It's hard to believe it's been so many years now. I can remember as a kid when I found out.


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