John Lennon acknowledged having experienced an epiphany while promoting his 1971 album Imagine.
“Now I understand what you have to do: put your political message across with a little honey.”
Lennon started endorsing different extreme political causes in the latter half of the 1960s. He advocated for Native American and African-American rights, displayed interest in feminism (though it’s hard to call him a feminist), and became a prominent opponent of the war.
Lennon had tried everything by the year 1971, including going out on the town, going to protests, and even remaining in bed. He eventually came to the conclusion that using his “larger than Jesus” worldwide power to his advantage was the greatest thing he could do to spread his message. Due to this, he decided to release “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” exactly one month before Christmas Eve, on November 24th, 1971.
Despite John Lennon’s subsequent assertion that he created “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” because he was sick of hearing “White Christmas,” the song wasn’t just a promotional effort. After more than two years of the peace movement that started with the two “bed-ins” in March and May of 1969, it finally came. Lennon understood that the support of regular, wage-earning people was necessary for systemic change to be successful.
“The people are unaware,” he said. “It’s like they’re not educated to realise that they have power.”
In order to get their radical message into the homes of regular Americans, John and Yoko came up with a campaign. They wanted to make peace impossible to ignore. They built black-and-white signs reading: “WAR IS OVER! If You Want It – Happy Christmas from John & Yoko,” while leasing billboard locations in 12 significant cities across the globe. but the song itself was what really got the point through.
“Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” a song that was inspired to change the world, serves as a good reminder that the finest Christmas songs aren’t necessarily merry, but they’re almost always sincere. Below, you can hear John Lennon’s lone voice from “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”.