An anti-war Christmas Song by John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Harlem Comminity Choir

Artist: John Lennon, Yoko Ono & the Harlem Community Chorus

Song: Happy Xmas (War is over)

See vocabulary explanations below

Also see another version of the video below with the Harlem Community Choir

Here is a modern Christmas classic: Happy Xmas (War is over).  It was written and performed by John Lennon and Yoko Ono with the Harlem Community Choir.   In English it is very common to shorten the word “Christmas” to “Xmas”.

The song is very anti-war but is now also considered a standard Christmas song.  The original intention was to protest the Viet Nam War or change people’s focus to one of peace.  The song is relevant again this year as the world finds itself involved in more wars.

The chorus is a phrase from a advertising campaign that John and Yoko did several years earlier.  They put posters in more than ten international cities that simply read “War is over (if you want it)” in different languages.

The full chorus is:

War is over over
If you want it
War is over
Now…

VOCABULARY & GRAMMAR

Happy Chirstmas: is a  non-standard phrase.  The real phrase is “Merry Christmas” or “Happy New Year/s”   Perhap Lennon mixes them just for fun or variation.

Over: often means “finished”

Ex: When is the movie over?

Ans: is just a mistake; they meant to write “and”.

The near and the dear: is a phrase which means people close to you (near) and people you love (dear).  Here, it is a little strange that they lyrics don’t say, “the near and the dear oneS” with an “s”.  Lennon’s choice is quite non-standard, but he is the artist, so…

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