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There are many reasons to love John Lennon. As one half of the most potent songwriting partnership in pop history, he, and his work with The Beatles, confirmed that Lennon would right be immortalised in the annals of music history forevermore. With it, a love for his songwriting, his vision of a peaceful world and his desire to keep art always moving forward became steadfast reasons to fall in love with the bespectacled Beatle. But rarely is his voice given the respect it deserves.

That’s because, comparatively, it isn’t exactly the strongest vocal of all time. In fact, compared to contemporaries like Robert Plant, Roger Daltry and the rock set that followed The Beatles, Lennon’s voice is pretty paltry and unable to match up. But where those two singers had a wide variety of notes at their disposal, Lennon had something that few could temper, his brutal authenticity.

It was a facet of his personality that effortlessly transferred into his work on the mic as well as his songwriting. We see all three of these threads entwined together on the quite brilliant ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’. And there’s o better way to hear that standout Christmas anthem than through the isolated vocals of John Lennon. Here, we get to feel the warm peace, love and care that Lennon attempted to establish throughout the world through a song and how that feeling can be felt within every note of his vocal performance.

While promoting his 1971 Imagine album, John Lennon confessed to having had a revelation. “Now I understand what you have to do: put your political message across with a little honey.” In the late 1960s, Lennon began to endorse various radical political causes. He expressed an interest in feminism (though he could hardly be called a feminist), championed Native and African-American rights and became a vocal supporter of the anti-war movement.

By 1971, Lennon had tried everything: taking to the streets, attending rallies, and even staying in bed. Eventually, he concluded that the best thing he could do to get his message across was to use his “bigger than Jesus” global influence to his advantage. This led him to release ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ on November 24th, 1971, precisely a month before Christmas Eve.

Though Lennon would later claim that he wrote ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ because he was tired of hearing ‘White Christmas’, the song wasn’t a purely commercial gesture. It arrived after more than two years of peace activism, which began with those two ‘bed-ins’ in March and May 1969. Lennon realised that systemic change would only be possible with the cooperation of ordinary, working people. “The people are unaware,” he said. “It’s like they’re not educated to realise that they have power.”

With this in mind, John and Yoko set about devising a campaign to allow their radical message entry into the homes of everyday Americans. Their idea was to make peace unignorable. Renting billboard spaces in 12 major cities around the world, they erected black and white posters reading: “WAR IS OVER! If You Want It – Happy Christmas from John & Yoko”, but it was the song that truly landed the message.

Written out of a desire to change the world, ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ reminds us that the best Christmas songs are coincidentally festive but always authentic. Listen to John Lennon’s isolated vocal for ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ below.



Hear John Lennon’s Incredible Isolated Vocals For ‘Happy Xmas

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