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"Power to the People"
Single by John Lennon with the Plastic Ono Band
Released UK: 12 March 1971
US: 22 March 1971
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded January/February 1971
Genre Rock/Pop
Length 3:15
Label Apple
Writer(s) John Lennon
Producer Phil Spector, John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Certification Gold (US)
John Lennon with the Plastic Ono Band singles chronology
Instant Karma!
(1970); Mother (US only, 1970)
"Power to the People"
(US only, 1971)

"Power to the People" is a song recorded by John Lennon at Ascot Sound Studios in London, England[1] and released on 12 March 1971 in the United Kingdom and 22 March 1971 in the United States.[2] The song was written by Lennon in response[3] to an interview he gave to Tariq Ali and Robin Blackburn, published in Red Mole (8-22 March 1971).[4] As Lennon explained, "I just felt inspired by what they said, although a lot of it is gobbledygook. So I wrote 'Power to the People' the same way I wrote 'Give Peace a Chance,' as something for the people to sing. I make singles like broadsheets. It was another quickie, done at Ascot."[1]

It entered the charts on 20 March 1971, and remained there for nine weeks. It was Lennon's fourth solo single and it was credited to John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, which on this occasion comprised Lennon, Klaus Voormann, Alan White, Bobby Keys and Billy Preston.[5] Additional backing vocals were supplied by Rosetta Hightower[5] and "44 others."[citation needed] Phil Spector, John Lennon, and Yoko Ono were credited as producers.[5]

Lennon's perception of the song changed during the 1970s. In Skywriting by Word of Mouth he called the song "rather embarrassing" and supported Hunter S. Thompson's claim that the anthem was "ten years too late."[6] In 1980, he stated that the song "didn't really come off" as it had been "written in the state of being asleep and wanting to be loved by Tariq Ali and his ilk."[7]

The B-side featured "Open Your Box" in the UK and "Touch Me" in the US. Both songs are by Yoko Ono.

The Minus 5 recorded a version of the song for the 1995 tribute album Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon.

The song was also covered by Black Eyed Peas on the album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur.

In 2000, Eric Burdon, Billy Preston and Ringo Starr released a live performance of this song. It was featured on the soundtrack of the motion picture Steal This Movie!.


The musicians who performed on "Power to the People" were as follows:[2]


  1. ^ a b Williams, Richard (2003). Phil Spector: Out of His Head. London: Omnibus Press. p. 160. ISBN 0-7119-9864-7. 
  2. ^ a b Blaney, John (2005). John Lennon: Listen To This Book. Guildford, Great Britain: Biddles Ltd.. pp. 66–70. ISBN 0-9544528-1-X. 
  3. ^ Ingham, Chris (2003). The Rough Guide to the Beatles. London: Rough Guides Ltd.. p. 117. ISBN 1-84353-140-2. 
  4. ^ Thomson, Elizabeth and David Gutman (eds.) (2004). The Lennon Companion. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press. p. 165. ISBN 0-306-81270-3. 
  5. ^ a b c Blaney, John (2005). John Lennon: Listen To This Book. Guildford, Great Britain: Biddles Ltd.. p. 70. ISBN 0-9544528-1-X. 
  6. ^ Lennon, John (1986). Skywriting by Word of Mouth: And Other Writings, Including "The Ballad of John and Yoko". New York: HarperCollins. p. 25. ISBN 0-06-091444-0. 
  7. ^ Cadogan, Patrick (2008). The Revolutionary Artist: John Lennon's Radical Years. Morrisville, North Carolina: Lulu. p. 137. ISBN 978-1-4357-1863-0. 


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