Monday, December 8, 2008

happy xmas (war is over)

john lennon
9 october 1940 - 8 december 1980

today is the twenty-eighth anniversary of john's death - more accurately put, his shocking murder. lennon's contributions to the world in terms of music, art, and activism will keep him alive for generation after generation. I never saw john in person, either when he played with the beatles or afterwards. I remember watching the ed sullivan show when the beatles made their american debut. as a kid, I knew the words to more beatles songs than to songs of any other group. I remember as girls we would play 'what beatle will you marry' - most of the time I chose john, but sometimes I would choose george. I remember my mom, who didn't go for rock music, would hum, whistle, or sing beatles songs.

it was john's peace activism that makes him an a legend in my book. who can forget john and yoko's famous (or would it be, infamous) bed-ins for peace. john's songs - give peace a chance, imagine, and power to the people have become peace anthems around the world. however, at this time of year and considering our current circumstances, perhaps the best is john's and yoko's holiday song happy xmas (war is over).

the song's main lyric is based on a billboard campaign that john and yoko waged in 1969. they rented billboards and put up posters in eleven cities around the world. the billboards stated:
"WAR IS OVER! (If You Want it)
Happy Christmas from John and Yoko

there are many versions of the song on youtube - afterall the song has become a christmas standard and is covered by everyone - from céline dion to angélique kidjo to the fray and tokyo rose. here are two music vids that ring my bell. john and yoko's original 1971 vid which include the sweet faces of the children from the harlem community choir.

updated version which includes heart-searing images from past and present conflicts

yes, we want it! happy xmas!

photo: strawberry fields, nyc august 2008


Barbara said...

You just reminded me of how much I miss the Beatles. Theirs was GREAT music!

Reya Mellicker said...

Peace is definitely the theme of my Christmas cards and thoughts this time around.

Oh dear lovely John Lennon! I still miss you.

Thank you!

R.L. Bourges said...

petite souris, thought you and your readers might enjoy the link to amnesty International's online shop for gift ideas - here:


Dumdad said...

Lovely song, great guy, terrible tragedy.

Anonymous said...

Dennis likes the Beatles

dennis said...

Dennis does not like to be anaoymous, how did that happen????

Merle Sneed said...

John and Bobby Kennedy, MLK, and of course, John Lennon, I can remember exactly where I was when I heard the news. It is a sad today as it was then.

Megan said...

I remember. I had never seen so many adults crying before.

Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

I'd not really thought about the anniversary of John's death today, but this song was playing in my head today several times for no conscious reason and I was planning to seek it out to download. How synchronistic to run across it here.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Ah, the Beatles, nothing like the Beatles - brilliant music, stretching so far, reaching so wide.

Coffee Messiah said...

Nicely done ; )

Hopefully "the times, they are a changing"

; )

tut-tut said...

Lovely tribute, Kimy.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

thanks everyone for the comments

rlb providing the link for folks always nice when there's double benefit for a gift - giving a gift and supporting a group like amnesty int'l

dennis - blogger is funny sometimes. as long as you aren't anymouse - otherwise it might be dangerous living were you live....

merle - my movements on those days are also frozen in my memory.

megan - I can just imagine that it must have been quite surreal to have been a child and witnesses all the adults in one's live sobbing and sad.

junk - synchronicity - as they say on npr....this I believe!

WAT said...

The Beatles? Who were they again?!

Yeah, so this makes it 28 years since John was killed. WOW. That is a long time. I forgot this year's anniversary. Thanks for reminding me.

Squirrel said...

i saw john 2x in concert. both oddly times when he was barely audible.