John Lennon and Yoko Ono are the songwriters behind “Happy Xmas (War Is Over,)” which not so secretly alludes to the meaning of this protest song. Here’s what fans are saying about the meaning behind the Christmas hit.
“Happy Xmas (War is Over)” came after more than two years of peace activism for the couple. In 1969, Lennon and Ono hosted their infamous honeymoon “Bed-in,” with Lennon releasing the solo song “Imagine.”
“So this is Christmas / And what have you done,” the lyrics read. “Another year has passed / And a new one has just begun / And this is Christmas / I hope you are having fun / The nearest and the dear / The old and the young.”
The song’s message was broadcast publicly, with Smooth Radio reporting that the couple “rented billboards in 12 major cities around the world to show black-and-white posters that read, ‘WAR IS OVER! If you want it – Merry Christmas from John & Yoko.’”
A holiday protest song, “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” was released in 1971, around the same time as the Vietnam War. Fans also commented on the song’s overall meaning beyond the Vietnam War.
“I think this is one of the most beautiful songs ever written,” reads one YouTube comment. “It reflects all of our thoughts, not just for a day, but for every day of our years. Thanks John and Yoko.”
“It’s not just the best Christmas carol; It’s a hymn to brotherhood because love has no race, gender, religion or gender, in other words further proof of Lennon’s genius,” wrote another YouTuber. “We have come in time to unite and transform the world. Thank you John for the beautiful songs you gave us.”
Listeners are still debating whether Lennon whispered his son’s name in the introduction to “Happy Xmas.” Some interpreted the introduction as John Lennon and Yoko Ono wishing each other a Merry Christmas, with Julian being another way of saying “John”.
“I know I might be late, but the fact that John says ‘Happy Christmas Julian’ at the beginning of this song made me cry,” said one Reddit user, noting Lennon’s son from his first marriage. “I never realized that until now… it still made me so happy that he decided to put Julian in a song.”
“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” was later covered and re-recorded by Celine Dion, Miley Cyrus and other well-known artists. Still, Lennon and Ono’s version remains the most popular, with over 370 million Spotify plays.
Other Beatles members recorded solo Christmas carols. That includes Paul McCartney, who published Wonderful Christmastime. Now music from The Beatles and Lennon is available on most major streaming platforms.
TIED TOGETHER: Paul McCartney wrote his Christmas hit, Wonderful Christmastime, on a muggy day in July