Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (3:33)

Cover of Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon

From Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon and 24 other releases

“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” is a Christmas song by John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band. It was recorded at Record Plant Studios in New York City in late October 1971, with the help of producer Phil Spector. It features soaring, heavily echoed vocals, and a sing-along chorus. The children singing in the background were from the Harlem Community Choir and are credited on the song’s single.

Although the song is a protest song about the Vietnam War, it has become a Christmas standard and has appeared on several Christmas albums.

The lyric is based on a campaign in late 1969 by John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, who rented billboards and posters in eleven cities around the world that read: “WAR IS OVER! (If You Want It) Happy Christmas from John and Yoko”. The cities included New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Rome, Athens, Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, London, Tokyo and Hong Kong. At the time the US was deeply entrenched in the unpopular Vietnam War. The line “War is over, if you want it, war is over, now!”, as sung by the background vocals, was taken directly from the billboards.

The song’s melody and chord structure has been compared to that of the folk standard known as “Stewball”. It is possible that “Happy Christmas” was merely a re-write of the traditional standard.


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  • m5p6n3

    john lennon nao morreu musicalmente

    8 Dec 2014 Reply
  • Metal-Kathy86


    2 Dec 2014 Reply
  • daniellepuente_

    Best Christmas song ever. Lennon did everything. [3]

    30 Dec 2013 Reply
  • thebroadcast

    Merry Christmas !

    25 Dec 2013 Reply
  • PCNoan

    Best Christmas song ever. Lennon did everything. [2]

    25 Dec 2013 Reply
  • PaiAmbrosio

    So this is Christmas and what have you done? another year over and new one just begun and so this is Christmas i hope you have fun the near and the dear one the older and the young a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year let's hope it's a good one without any fear

    24 Dec 2013 Reply
  • charliedub1

    Happy Christmas to all at last fm and hope it a good one :)

    20 Dec 2013 Reply
  • theironictea

    Best Christmas song ever. Lennon did everything.

    4 Dec 2013 Reply
  • madboy

    forever beautiful!

    28 Nov 2013 Reply
  • Catterick

    I love it when Yoko comes in "a very merry christmaaas!!" I never understood the hate she got.

    31 Oct 2013 Reply
  • xxxvanessaxx

    Favorite holiday song, hands down. [2]

    4 Oct 2013 Reply
  • Eye_Gore

    God damn you Chapman!

    8 Apr 2013 Reply
  • MaYrAsAn

    30 Mar 2013 Reply
  • paradrome

    Classic!!!!!!!!!!!! <33333333333333

    17 Feb 2013 Reply
  • CornerJukebox

    I Hate the John Lennon-Yoko OhNo! version, but this one sounds like Joe Cocker... and me like!

    6 Dec 2012 Reply
  • NitaD1

    Not Lennon.....but ok I suppose.............4 weeks to go!!!

    26 Nov 2012 Reply
  • padfoot8701

    According to Shazam, this is actually The Drifters... supposedly... Whoever it is though, it's definitely not John Lennon, haha! Last.fm, you need to fix your track! :)

    9 Nov 2012 Reply
  • gusminarelli

    Not Lennon, but does any body knows who is singing it here? nice performance!

    28 Oct 2012 Reply
  • TheDarkSide73

    I think Lastfm is Confused..This is NOT John Lennon

    12 Aug 2012 Reply
  • PeterRiviera

    Well this is not John Lennon singing. Songtitle is correct, but not the rest.

    1 Jun 2012 Reply
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