How Do You Sleep? (5:00)

Cover of Lennon

From Lennon and 6 other releases

“How Do You Sleep?” is a song from John Lennon’s 1971 album Imagine, in which he attacks his former The Beatles songwriting partner and close friend Paul McCartney. The song features a slide guitar part played by George Harrison.

According to the How Do You Sleep Songfacts, the feud between Lennon and McCartney originated after The Beatles manager Brian Epstein passed away. Paul wanted his new father-in-law to manage the group while the other Beatles wanted the notorious Allen Klein. Lennon and McCartney maintained a frosty relationship after the band broke up.

The song’s lyrics refer to the Paul is dead hoax (“Those freaks was right when they said you was dead”).

The song begins with the words, “So Sergeant Pepper took you by surprise”, referring to the landmark album that the Beatles made. Preceding this first line are ambient sounds evocative of those heard at the beginning of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

The lyrics “The only thing you done was yesterday/And since you’ve gone you’re just another day” are direct shots at Paul McCartney as well, the first lyric being a reference to the Beatles’ 1965 song “Yesterday”, McCartney’s most popular song and technically the first Beatles’ “solo” track because no other Beatle was involved in the recording. The second lyric could be considered a reference to McCartney’s hit single “Another Day”, released earlier in 1971.

Although Lennon receives the sole credit as the song’s author, multiple reports indicate that Ono as well as Allen Klein, John’s manager, also contributed lyrics.

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John Lennon - How? 3:40 69,084
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The Beatles - Glass Onion 2:17 478,188
Paul McCartney - Too Many People 4:10 27,520

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So Sgt. Pepper took you by surprise
You better see right through that mother's eyes
Those freaks was right when they said you was dead
The one mistake you made was in your head

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics

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  • SpankThru23

    this song is so good, would've been better with different lyrics about something else.

    26 Sep 2:13pm Reply
  • bensellars12

    The US Government assasinated Lennon because he was becoming too influential with his peace-loving ways.

    25 Sep 12:42pm Reply
  • Bastard1

    The way to the dark side anger is, young Jedi Lennon.

    18 Sep 10:24pm Reply
  • Ivartist

    "Those freaks was right when they said, you was dead". Damn.

    17 Aug 6:15pm Reply
  • TheSuperCrasher

    I'm glad they made up before John passed away.

    10 Aug 9:24pm Reply
  • MattZielkowski

    "So Sgt. Pepper took you by surprise" - wasn't that album Paul's idea, and Lennon even had issues with lack of his own songs on it? I'm not even sure what he's trying to say?

    29 Apr 2:35am Reply
  • Songs_of_Myself

    John was being way too mean to Paul in this song. John the intellectual, the brain, Paul, the warm heart. It's like abusing a puppy.

    7 Mar 4:35am Reply
  • jennica_med_c

    i love paul but man, this song is pure masterpiece <3 [4]

    1 Mar 2:41pm Reply
  • Ksimi

    OMG these relays on guitar solo...

    16 Feb 11:22pm Reply
  • Ksimi

    Wish the lyrics were completely different as the music was just perfection

    16 Feb 11:18pm Reply
  • theironictea

    Take that, Paul! :)

    5 Feb 1:52pm Reply
  • Ksimi

    Why I always get a demo version and not the one from the regular "Imagine" cut?

    20 Dec 2013 Reply
  • Kate_Ostin

    Do not fight, make love, boys.

    8 Sep 2013 Reply
  • santi_monse

    A pretty face may last a year or two, but pretty soon they'll see what you can do!

    20 Jun 2013 Reply
  • GabrielaCarrer

    The only thing you done was "Yesterday" <333 Adoro essa parte

    4 Jun 2013 Reply
  • pinkieprojektor

    sick burn

    27 Mar 2013 Reply
  • buitronbrenda

    i love paul but man, this song is pure masterpiece <3 [3]

    19 Feb 2013 Reply
  • SomeOtherGirl76

    i love paul but man, this song is pure masterpiece <3 [2]

    5 Feb 2013 Reply
  • daniellepuente_

    i love paul but man, this song is pure masterpiece <3

    4 Feb 2013 Reply
  • thebroadcast

    He is singing about himself ( so Lennon later stated ), as even the line about yesterday was about him since everyone he met in public mistakenly thought he wrote it. Irony isn't it. When you think about it, it was about him. Sleep naked !

    26 Jan 2013 Reply
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