Friday, December 25, 2015

Song Spot: Happy Xmas (War is Over).





I’m not a great one for Christmas carols although I love Mario Lanza’s rendition of O Hoy Night. Hear it by clicking on:

Along with Rudolph, Frosty, Santa and Wenceslas, this is the time of year that we hear John Lennon’s Happy Xmas (War is Over). It has become the equivalent of a Christmas carol.

Some information and trivia about that song . . .
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Link:

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Lyrics:

(Happy Xmas Kyoko
Happy Xmas Julian)

So this is Xmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Xmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very Merry Xmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Xmas (war is over)
For weak and for strong (if you want it)
For rich and the poor ones (war is over)
The world is so wrong (if you want it)
And so happy Xmas (war is over)
For black and for white (if you want it)
For yellow and red ones (war is over)
Let's stop all the fight (now)

A very Merry Xmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Xmas (war is over)
And what have we done (if you want it)
Another year over (war is over)
A new one just begun (if you want it)
And so happy Xmas (war is over)
We hope you have fun (if you want it)
The near and the dear one (war is over)
The old and the young (now)

A very Merry Xmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

War is over, if you want it
War is over now
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About the song:

Happy Xmas (War is Over) is sung to a traditional melody known as “Skewball”, the name of an 18th century racehorse. That song concerns Skewball winning a race in which it is the underdog (or should that be underhorse?).

Hear the Peter, Paul and Mary version at:

The Joan Baez version titled “Stewball”) is at:

There are different melody versions, such as by Woody Githrie, but the above two are identical in melody to Happy Xmas (War is Over).

The Woody Guthrie version is at:

Another good version, also dissimilar to Lennon’s melody, is by Steeleye Span:
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John Lennon and Yoko Ono wrote the song in 1971 and it was recorded by the John and Yoko Plastic Ono Band.


The Vietnam War was still in progress when the song was released. John and Yoko had been protesting for peace for a couple of years, including erecting billboards in major cities with the words “War is over! (If you want it).” Those billboards were erected in 1969. Two years later the same words were incorporated in Happy Xmas.





Lennon felt that each of us had a responsibility for war, “that we're just as responsible as the man who pushes the button. As long as people imagine that somebody's doing it to them and that they have no control, then they have no control."
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This was originally released on clear green vinyl with Yoko Ono's "Listen, The Snow Is Falling" as the B-side.

At the beginning of the song, two whispers can be heard. Yoko whispers: "Happy Christmas, Kyoko" (Kyoko Chan Cox is Yoko's daughter with Anthony Cox) and John whispers: "Happy Christmas, Julian" 

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Other versions:

Celine Dion:

Delta Goodrem:

Sarah McLachlan:

Neil Diamond:


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