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Top Ten Songs Written by John Lennon
On October 9, John Lennon would have turned 73 and this month we're celebrating all things Lennon.
Though the famed Beatle and solo artist has been gone for more than three decades, he wrote some of the greatest music to hit the airwaves and his spirit lives on through the wonderful songs he composed during the course of his tragically short life.
To pay tribute to his memory, here’s a list of ten of our favorite John Lennon compositions.
1. Instant Karma
Written, recorded and released in just a week, Instant Karma became one of Lennon’s most successful solo singles – and the first single penned by a former Beatle to reach 1 million in sales. It is also one of three Lennon songs included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
2. In My Life
Some consider Rubber Soul to be the Beatles’ finest album, and one of the reasons for that is the song In My Life. This song was originated by Lennon before it was fleshed out into the Lennon-McCartney contribution it would later become.
This one routinely gets accolades for its pointed political lyrics and Lennon’s hard-hitting and heavily distorted guitar work. Many people do not know that the Beatles actually produced two versions of this song. The second version, now referred to as “Revolution 1," has a relaxed tempo, without any of the distortion and urgency of the popular arrangement. This track was recorded before the better known version of Revolution but was released later on the White Album. Check out both versions below.
4. I Am the Walrus
Lennon famously told Playboy that he wrote some of I Am the Walrus’ lyrics while tripping on acid – which perhaps explains the tune’s eccentricity.
5. Give Peace a Chance
The first of Lennon’s many anthemic solo singles, Give Peace a Chance, was released while Lennon was still a functional member of the Beatles. It went on to become an anti-war anthem during the Vietnam War due to its hopeful lyrics. This song is the second of three included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
6. Beautiful Boy
This 1981 single, written by John about his son Sean, was picked by Paul McCartney as one of his favorite Lennon compositions from his entire career.
7. Working Class Hero
Yet another of Lennon’s tongue-in-cheek songs that called for freedom from conformity. It is likely that much of the song, including the title, was meant to be ironic. This was a successful solo single that went on to become a popular cover by Green Day.
8. I’m So Tired
Written during the Beatles’ visit to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to study meditation, this song was penned by Lennon in a heightened state of focus and emotion brought on by insomnia. Lennon’s developing obsession with Yoko Ono comes through very clearly in this song.
9. All You Need is Love
This Beatles song predated Lennon’s solo material but there are noticeable similarities in its style to his later songs.
This may be Lennon’s best known solo piece. The message of this song is a significant departure from some of his other popular works because it calls for peace instead of inspiring revolution. After Lennon’s assassination, this song became even more powerful for Lennon fans around the world.
If you have any favorite Lennon songs that we didn’t mention, don't hesistate to let us know in the comment section below.
John, we miss you!
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