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Happy Xmas (War Is Over): Wikis

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"Happy Xmas (War Is Over)"
Single by John and Yoko, The Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir
B-side "Listen, the Snow Is Falling"
Released 6 December 1971 (US)
24 November 1972 (UK)
Format 7" single
Recorded October 1971 at Record Plant Studios (New York City, New York)
Genre Rock, pop, Christmas
Length 3:37
Label EMI, Parlophone, Apple
Writer(s) John Lennon, Yoko Ono
Producer Phil Spector, John Lennon, Yoko Ono
John Lennon American singles chronology
"Imagine"
(1971)
"Happy Xmas (War Is Over)"
(1971)
"Woman Is the Nigger of the World"
(1972)
John Lennon British singles chronology
"Power to the People"/"Open Your Box"
(1971)
"Happy Xmas (War Is Over)"
(1972)
"Mind Games"
(1973)
Alternate cover
80 reissue

"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.

Contents

Structure and release

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.[1]

The record starts with a barely-audible whisper of Christmas greetings to their children: Yoko whispers "Happy Christmas, Kyoko", then John whispers "Happy Christmas, Julian". The lyric sheet from the 1982 release The John Lennon Collection erroneously gives this introduction as "Happy Christmas, Yoko. Happy Christmas, John".

The single was released in the US on 6 December 1971, but never charted on the Billboard Hot 100 charts; the UK release was delayed until the following November due to a publishing dispute. Upon release, it reached #4 in the UK Singles Chart. The song was re-released in the UK on 20 December 1980 shortly after John Lennon's death on 8 December 1980, peaking at Number 3.

Musicians

Musicians on the original recording were:

  • Vocals: John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Harlem Community Choir
  • Guitar and bass guitar: Hugh McCracken, Chris Osborn, Teddy Irwin, Stuart Scharf
  • Keyboards, chimes and glockenspiel: Nicky Hopkins
  • Drums and sleigh bells: Jim Keltner

Klaus Voormann was supposed to play bass guitar on the song but was unable to attend the session when his plane was delayed. One of the four guitarists played the bass part but it is unknown which one.[2]

Notable cover versions

"Happy Christmas (War Is Over)"
Single by Street Drum Corps featuring Bert McCracken
from the album The Taste of Christmas
Released 2006
Format 7", CD single
Genre Pop
Label Warcon Enterprises
Producer Street Drum Corps
Street Drum Corps singles chronology
- "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)"
(2006)
  • In 1990 this song was covered by the Welsh band The Alarm, using the title "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" on the album Standards.

Notes

  1. ^ "Ger Tillekens, Baroque and folk and ... John Lennon", Soundscapes
  2. ^ Chip Madinger and Mark Easter, Eight Arms To Hold You: The Beatles Solo Compendium (Chesterfield, MO: 44.1 Productions, 2000), 65-66.
  3. ^ A Closer Look: Rebecca St. James' Christmas
  4. ^ http://www.speedwagon.com/news.php#172

External links

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Simple English

"Happy Xmas (War Is Over)"
Single by John and Yoko, The Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir
B-side "Listen, the Snow Is Falling"
Released 1 December 1971 (US)
24 November 1972 (UK)
Format 7" single
Recorded October 1971 at Record Plant Studios (New York City, New York)
Genre Rock, pop, Christmas
Length 3:37
Label EMI, Parlophone, Apple
Writer(s) John Lennon
Producer Phil Spector, John Lennon, Yoko Ono
"Happy Christmas (War Is Over)"
Single by Street Drum Corps featuring Bert McCracken
from the album The Taste of Christmas
Released 2006
Format 7", CD single
Genre Pop
Label Warcon Enterprises
Producer Street Drum Corps
Street Drum Corps singles chronology

- "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)"
(2006)

"Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" is a Christmas song by John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the The Plastic Ono Band. The song is a protest about the Vietnam War in 1969. It has become a Christmas standard and has appeared on several Christmas albums.

Notable cover versions

  • Céline Dion covered the song on her 1998 album These Are Special Times.
  • The Corrs included a live version as a bonus track on the Live in London DVD (2001).
  • Sarah McLachlan led off her 2006 Christmas album Wintersong with a cover of this song.
  • Maroon 5 recorded a cover version in 2007.
  • Drake Bell sang it live in Times Square, NYC to welcome in the new year, 2007.
  • *NSYNC recorded a cover version for one of their albums.
  • Sarah Brightman recorded her own version as a bonus track for her album A Winter Symphony.
  • Thrice, an Experimental rock band, has recorded their own version of the song.
  • The melody was used during the early 1990s as a jingle to promote tourism to Jamaica.

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