Vietnam Music Monday: “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”

Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” was released in 1971 as a single by John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir. (Newseum collection)

Music played an important cultural role during the Vietnam War, representing the rebellious views of a young generation and the traditional values of an older, so-called “silent majority.” The Newseum selected 40 songs released between 1963 and 1973 that typified the music of the Vietnam era. The songs captured the emotions of people for and against the war and reflected the mood of an increasingly diverse country amid dramatic social and political change.

The 40 songs, part of the Newseum’s “Reporting Vietnam” exhibit, are a fraction of the hundreds of recordings that dealt with the war and civil disobedience. Each week, one song from the playlist will be featured. We encourage you to add your favorite songs of the era to the comment section!

Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (1971)

Recorded by John Lennon and Yoko Ono
After he left the Beatles, John Lennon became actively involved in the peace movement with his wife, Yoko Ono. “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” was the culmination of a two-year anti-war campaign that included billboards with the slogan “War Is Over — If You Want It.” The song made the pop charts nine times and became a Christmas standard.

 

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)

Purchase “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” on Amazon or iTunes.

“Reporting Vietnam,” a new exhibit that marks the 50th anniversary of the start of America’s first televised war, explores the dramatic stories of how journalists brought news about the war to a divided nation.

CBS News

Contributing support for the “Reporting Vietnam” exhibit is provided by CBS Corporation, in memory of CBS News correspondent Bob Simon.

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