Working Class Hero (3:47)

Cover of Lennon Legend

From Lennon Legend and 6 other releases

“Working Class Hero” is a song from John Lennon’s first post-Beatles solo album, 1970’s John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.

The song is a take on the class split of the 1940s and 1950s, and of the 1960s in which he was famous. The song appears to tell the story of someone growing up in the working class of capitalism. According to Lennon in an interview with Jann S. Wenner of Rolling Stone magazine in December 1970, it is about working class individuals being processed into the middle classes, into the machine. Lennon stated (in the same interview) that he hoped that it was a warning to the people, a contemporary song for the revolution, for workers, thematically like Give Peace a Chance, aimed to replace the older songs like “We Shall Overcome”.

Notable Covers:

# Tommy Roe recorded his version in 1973. peaked at #97 on the Billboard Hot 100.
# Marianne Faithfull covered the song on her 1979 album Broken English.
# Then-New Zealand politician Marilyn Waring covered the song as a single in 1980.
# Jerry Williams covered the song in 1984 on his album Working Class Hero.
# Richie Havens covered the song for his 1987 album Richie Havens Sings Beatles and Dylan.
# Mike Peters covered the song when with The Alarm as a backing track to their 1989 single “A New South Wales”.


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As soon as you're born they make you feel small
By giving you no time instead of it all
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
A working class hero is something to be

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics


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  • theironictea

    Best use of 'fucking' in music [2] It's probably one of the first songs to include cursing.

    4 Jul 8:07pm Reply
  • guille_mijares

    I think this is better than "Imagine" more realistic and more message

    19 Jun 1:13am Reply
  • lucyinthesky8

    a sad true about world

    11 Jun 2:12pm Reply
  • psycheee

    There's room at the top, they're telling you still As long as you learn to smile as you kill

    1 Jun 7:00am Reply
  • pikininah

    Perfect! Love it! <3

    8 May 12:40am Reply
  • mynameisecho

    Lennon's best song.

    2 May 8:20pm Reply
  • Distron

    powerful and so relevent !!!!!!!

    25 Apr 4:16pm Reply
  • boka82

    Best use of 'fucking' in music

    10 Apr 6:37am Reply
  • FlutteringPetal


    6 Mar 6:24pm Reply
  • shellbyrne

    I want to get guitar and learn this

    28 Jan 4:15pm Reply
  • SomeAreDead

    A song that just gets more relevant the more we are cogs in the worlds financial grindstone

    19 Dec 2013 Reply
  • exeter232

    John Lennon spoke clear and free. What the fuck more needed to be said? Oh ya, nothing has changed except we are more lost! Welcome to it.

    6 Oct 2013 Reply
  • WLDB

    They probably would have if John had lived, even if only for a one off.

    13 Sep 2013 Reply
  • sls

    In a way, I think the Beatles breakup let him put out more political, venomous, and personal stuff (see Plastic Ono Band) - still wish they would have reunited at some point though.

    10 Sep 2013 Reply
  • Colintwemlow

    venom from john, nice.

    26 Aug 2013 Reply
  • NitaD1

    Deep.....don'tcha think?

    28 Jun 2013 Reply
  • treradical

    i think this is my favorite song that he's ever written. the lyrics are just so powerful.

    27 Jun 2013 Reply
  • Powerstars

    Rare version. Cool.

    27 Jun 2013 Reply
  • budmaster

    great great! yeh

    19 Jun 2013 Reply
  • kanto_sho

    still love the song despite every awful cover version over the years.

    19 May 2013 Reply
  • All 498 shouts

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