Monday, December 24, 2007

John & Yoko: Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

Via Wikipedia:

"Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" is a song by John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono.

It was recorded at Record Plant Studios in New York City in late October of 1971, with the help of producer Phil Spector.

It features soaring, heavily echoed vocals, and a sing-along chorus. The children singing in the background were from the Harlem Community Choir and are credited on the song's single.

The lyrics are based on a campaign in late 1969 by John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, who rented billboards and posters in eleven cities around the world that read: "WAR IS OVER! (If You Want It) Happy Christmas from John and Yoko". The cities included New York, Tokyo, Rome, Athens, Amsterdam, London and Toronto.

The line "War is over, if you want it, war is over, now!", as sung by the background vocals, was taken directly from the billboards.

Musicians on the original recording were:
  • Vocals: John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Harlem Community Choir
  • Guitar and bass guitar: Hugh McCracken, Chris Osborn, Teddy Irwin, Stuart Scharf
  • Keyboards, chimes and glockenspiel: Nicky Hopkins
  • Drums and sleigh bells: Jim Keltner
The record starts with a barely-audible whisper of Christmas greetings to their children: Yoko whispers "Happy Christmas, Kyoko", then John whispers "Happy Christmas, Julian".

The single was released on December 6 1971 in the US. Apple Records catalog #1842.

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