John Lennon, an indomitable force in the realm of music, left an indelible mark on the world with his unparalleled songwriting, raw talent, and unwavering commitment to peace and love. As one of the founding members of the legendary band, The Beatles, Lennon’s influence extended far beyond the boundaries of popular music, transcending generations and touching the hearts of millions. Even after his untimely departure from this world, his music continues to resonate with listeners worldwide, captivating them with its emotional depth and thought-provoking lyrics.
In this article, we embark on a musical journey through time to explore and celebrate the top 10 best John Lennon songs ever created. From his early Beatles days to his solo career, Lennon’s catalog boasts an array of timeless classics that showcase his unparalleled songcraft, poetic brilliance, and unapologetic honesty. Each composition serves as a testament to his artistry, as well as his unwavering pursuit of pushing boundaries and challenging societal norms.
Throughout this carefully curated list, we will delve into the diverse and multifaceted nature of Lennon’s work, from his introspective ballads to his politically charged anthems. Brace yourself to be transported through a tapestry of emotions as we revisit the music that solidified John Lennon as one of the greatest songwriters of all time.
Join us as we celebrate the legacy of this musical luminary, reflecting on the profound impact of his artistry, and honoring the timeless melodies that continue to captivate and inspire music lovers to this day.
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This iconic composition by legendary musician John Lennon, ranks among the best he has ever created. "Imagine," with its unforgettable melody and hopeful lyrics, embodies the singer's philosophy of peace, unity and equality. It is a powerful call to all humanity to strive for a better world filled with compassion and understanding. The song's popularity endures even today, decades after its release, and remains an eternal symbol of hope for generations to come.
Continuing on from the previous paragraph, Lennon leads us on his exquisite musical journey with “Imagine,” which captivates listeners across all ages till date. The song features a piano-driven melody infused with soulful singing that characterizes Lennon’s unmistakable style and sound. Its profound message empowers individuals to look beyond their differences and work towards a common goal of creating a better world through peace and love.
Interestingly enough, “Imagine” was written as part of his solo endeavor after leaving one of history's most iconic bands- The Beatles. With its timeless message of harmony and generosity resonating as strongly today as it did over fifty years ago when it first premiered, this track proves its absolute worth amongst the masses.
Pro Tip: Listen to “Imagine” while reading the lyrics; you'll discover new layers of depth to this masterpiece every time you experience it.
John Lennon may have claimed that 'God is a concept by which we measure our pain', but listening to this song will only bring joy and musical enlightenment.
This particular John Lennon song, written and performed post-Beatles, remains one of his most controversial and introspective compositions. In "God," Lennon tackles the concept of faith and disbelief head-on, denouncing various deities from Elvis Presley to Buddha as he reveals his own spiritual philosophy. The lyrics are a stream-of-consciousness ramble that sees the former Beatle detailing everything he's seen and done in his life, ultimately arriving at the conclusion that "God is a concept by which we can measure our pain."
Listening to 'Across The Universe' is like taking a peaceful, psychedelic journey through space, minus the pesky astronaut training.
3. “Across The Universe”
This iconic track, known as “Across The Universe,” showcases John Lennon’s creativity and songwriting prowess. The lyrics and melody are mysterious and introspective, drawing listeners into a dreamlike state. The song incorporates elements of Indian classical music with its use of the tambura, giving it a unique sound. It was originally released on a charity album for World Wildlife Fund in 1968 but soon became a fan-favorite within Lennon’s discography.
As an ode to the transcendental meditation movement, this song is both beautiful and haunting. Its lyrics describe a journey through time and space, taking listeners on a meditative exploration of the universe. The repetition of “nothing’s gonna change my world” at the end of each chorus adds to the hypnotic effect of the track.
What is particularly remarkable about “Across The Universe” is that it went through several iterations before making its final appearance on Let It Be in 1970. This shows how Lennon meticulously crafted his songs and was always striving for perfection in his work.
Listeners can appreciate “Across The Universe” not only for its musical excellence but also for the message behind it. The idea that we are all connected through time and space resonates with many people, just as it did with John Lennon when he wrote this timeless classic.
If you want to keep your love hidden, just ask John Lennon, he'll give you some tips in 'You've Got To Hide Your Love Away'.
4. “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”
This Lennon classic, “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away,” is often praised for its unique structure and tone. The song features Lennon’s vocals in a hushed and introspective style, layered over strummed acoustic guitars and a Beatles-esque harmonica solo.
Lyrically, the song explores themes of loneliness and repression within society, making it both a catchy sing-along tune and an insightful commentary on the human condition.
Fun fact: This song was heavily influenced by Bob Dylan’s music, which Lennon was a big fan of at the time.
Pro Tip: Make sure to listen to this one with headphones on or in a quiet setting to fully appreciate its intricate melodies and vocal nuances.
Feeling jealous? Put on some John Lennon and let his hauntingly beautiful voice make you feel less alone in your misery.
5. “Jealous Guy”
This John Lennon classic, a deceptive song about wanting to shed jealousy, has since become one of his most covered songs. Its popularity stems from its immeasurable simplicity and Lennon's genuine emotion. The lyrics hit home for many people struggling with feelings of envy. The track is stirring, raw and is written with an admirable emotional depth that only John Lennon could deliver. Listeners can feel the pain and regret through every note played on the piano.
Lennon's vocal delivery is understated, making the song sound vulnerable and relatable to anyone who has ever been in love. It’s among his best work as a solo artist. Released posthumously after he passed away in 1980, “Jealous Guy” became his second number-one hit in the UK charts.
Despite its serious subject matter, it is not overbearing or gloomy at all; instead, it maintains its allure by being unpretentiously candid. This song shows why John Lennon is regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time.
For fans or new listeners alike looking to appreciate something different from Lennon's vast discography, give "Jealous Guy" a chance; its power will surely leave an impression that might stick with you long after listening.
Straight from the fields of Liverpool, this song is the strawberry jam to John Lennon's toast.
6. “Strawberry Fields Forever”
This iconic track “Strawberry Fields Forever” showcases John Lennon's songwriting prowess and experimental style. It was written during his childhood in Liverpool at a Salvation Army children's home named Strawberry Field. Lennon's lyrics are deeply personal, painting a picture of nostalgia and introspection mixed with psychedelic sounds. The track stands out for its unusual time signatures and the blend of classical and Indian music influences. Its final arrangement features two different takes from different keys, expertly combined into one. This multifaceted approach and distinctive sound highlight Lennon's innovative spirit.
Apart from its personal significance, "Strawberry Fields Forever" became an important symbol of a generation’s changing attitudes towards art and life in the 1960s. Its impact can still be felt today, almost six decades later.
With all of that considered, it is no surprise that this song has become one of John Lennon's most popular creations to date. It is not only beloved by his fans but also serves as inspiration for many new artists exploring the realms of psychedelic rock. Don't miss out on the wonders of this timeless piece – let it transport you back to 1967!
John Lennon's tribute to his son proves that even rock stars can write heartwarming lullabies.
7. “Beautiful Boy”
This particular track from John Lennon, which we shall refer to as the seventh on our list of 10 best John Lennon songs of all time, is titled “Beautiful Boy”. A well-known lullaby to his son Sean, this masterpiece can be found on the album 'Double Fantasy'. It was released and became popular in the year 1980 after Lennon's murder. Its playful nature, combined with a heartfelt message, has moved the hearts of millions worldwide.
Through its serene lyrics and slow tempo, “Beautiful Boy” aims at capturing the essence of parenthood. It talks about the ups and downs of parenting and imparts valuable lessons to listeners through its soft melody. The song remains a timeless classic and resonates even with non-parents due to its universal appeal.
It’s interesting to note that this specific track was written during a break-in music production by Lennon when he decided to take some time off for a personal life. Upon his return later on, he felt quite refreshed and ready for action. Thus, he wrote “Beautiful Boy”, emphasizing his commitment towards fatherhood.
Incorporating “Beautiful Boy” into your playlist is an excellent way to show love to your loved ones or yourself. With every listen, you’ll find it increasingly relatable and soothing.
Proving that even the most cynical of us can appreciate a good message, 'Give Peace A Chance' is a reassuring reminder that John Lennon was more than just a witty lyricist.
8. “Give Peace A Chance”
This iconic track from John Lennon is a pacifist anthem that embodies his anti-war beliefs. The song was released in 1969 and became an instant hit. Its catchy chorus and simple but powerful lyrics have made it a timeless classic. A true representation of Lennon's philosophy, “Give Peace A Chance” encourages listeners to embrace peace over violence and war.
Lennon recorded this song during his honeymoon with Yoko Ono amidst the Vietnam War protests. The idea behind the song was to provide a rallying cry for the anti-war movement, which was gaining momentum at that time. The song features various artists providing background chanting alongside Lennon's lead vocals.
One unique aspect of this track is its recording process, which took place in a hotel room using basic equipment like a four-track tape machine. Despite these limitations, the song has managed to capture the essence of Lennon's message beautifully.
It is worth mentioning that “Give Peace A Chance” remains relevant even today, especially in times when social and political unrest is widespread. Its universal appeal has bestowed it with the status of being one of Lennon's most famous creations.
It is said that Lennon wrote this song while on Bed-In for Peace protest against the Vietnam War at Montreal Hotel La Reine Elizabeth. Even though he did not play any instrument on this track, he created something visually and emotionally captivating within just a few days.
John Lennon showed us that you don't need fancy degrees or connections to be a hero; just a guitar and a message that resonates with the working class.
9. “Working Class Hero”
This Lennon classic captures the struggles of the labor class and is widely seen as an anthem for societal change. With its raw lyrics, powerful voice and haunting melody, this track has become a timeless masterpiece that resonates with people across generations.
The song paints a grim picture of society's exploitation of the working class, highlighting their plight while urging them to rise against it. It remains an influential protest song today that continues to inspire political activists worldwide.
Lennon's intense vocals coupled with the stark message make “Working Class Hero” one of his most distinctive compositions yet. The song stands out not just for its emotionality but also for its clever word play. The choice of phrases like "when they've tortured and scared you" only drives home the point further. It's as much a commentary on society as it is an emotional plea for unity, which makes it a rare gem in Lennon's repertoire.
Beyond its artistic merits, this song has been known to be able to galvanize crowds into action. "Working Class Hero" once inspired striking miners in their fight against coal mines in Wales. This song still holds many lessons for us today – about injustice and inequality and how we need art more than ever to heal our society's wounds.
Give peace a chance this holiday season with John Lennon's festive anthem, 'Happy Xmas (War Is Over)'. No, seriously, please give peace a chance.
10. “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)“
This classic Christmas song, written by the legendary John Lennon, is ranked at number ten on the top ten list of his best songs. "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" was released in 1971 and quickly became an anti-Vietnam War anthem. Its heart-warming lyrics and catchy melody make it a perfect inclusion for any holiday playlist. With its powerful message of peace and hope, Lennon's masterpiece will continue to inspire people for generations to come.
Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" features Yoko Ono's vocals and conveys meaningful lyrics through captivating music. Its added elements of children singing "war is over" have made it an evergreen song that still resonates with listeners of all ages. The poignant track promotes love and peace during the festive season while reminding us that we can all work towards making the world a better place.
What sets this song apart from others on his top ten list is its focus on creating a positive impact on society with an emotional impact. It encourages people to unite against war, racism, and injustice to develop peace globally. The song represents Lennon's commitment to promoting social causes through his music.
Despite facing criticisms at release, "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" has become one of Lennon’s most beloved pieces worldwide because it inspires hope even amid despair. In fact, decades after release, it continues to be played regularly across different genres – from pop to rock music – proving its timeless appeal within the hearts of fans everywhere.
"Imagine" Lennon acknowledges upfront that 'Imagine,' his bestselling and most popular solo song, is a bit naive: "You may say I'm a dreamer," he sings. But that doesn't take away any of the power it's packed over the past 40 years.What did John Lennon consider his best song? ›
- 'Strawberry Fields Forever'
- 'I Want To Hold Your Hand'
- 'I Am The Walrus'
- 'Across The Universe'
Lennon's most famous solo single was inspired, he said, by a book of poems by Yoko Ono, who was credited with co-writing Imagine in 2017. Rolling Stone voted it third in its run-down of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2004 and it is still ubiquitous almost 50 years after it was made.
1. “Brown Eyed Handsome Man,” Buddy Holly (1956) Originally written and recorded by Chuck Berry—whose 1964 rock hit “No Particular Place to Go” also made Lennon's playlist—”Brown Eyed Handsome Man” was first released as a B-Side to “Too Much Monkey Business” and later on Berry's 1957 debut After School Session.What is the Beatles number 1 hit song? ›
"Hey Jude" was The Beatles' number one hit that spent the longest on the charts.What is the most listened to Beatles song? ›
"Here Comes the Sun" is not only the first Beatles' song to hit a billion, "it's also the first from the '60s," Vieira said, though it could be joined by others soon.What were John Lennon's last words to Paul McCartney? ›
Although their intimate conversations remained private, Paul's wife Linda McCartney once revealed John Lennon's last words to his former band mate. As Ultimate Classic Rock reveal, they were: “Think about me every now and then, old friend.”Did John like any of Paul's songs? ›
'Here, There and Everywhere'
“That's Paul's song completely, I believe. And one of my favourite songs of the Beatles.” And he even charmingly yelled out during the recording process: “Really good song lad!” Paul McCartney would later add: “That was the only song that John ever complimented me on.”
An analysis of the median number of song counts shows some interesting facts: Paul was the most popular Beatle! His median stream count is almost double that of John's.What was John Lennon's last hit? ›
"(Just Like) Starting Over" is a song written and performed by John Lennon from the 1980 album, Double Fantasy. It was released as a single on 24 October 1980 in the United Kingdom, with Yoko Ono's "Kiss Kiss Kiss" as the B-side. It reached number one in both the US and UK after Lennon was murdered on 8 December 1980.
He had 25 number-one singles on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart as a writer, co-writer or performer.What was the last song John Lennon sang? ›
'Oh! Darling' is the powerful goodbye to the biggest band there ever was.What song was written about John Lennon's death? ›
"Here Today" is a song by Paul McCartney from his 1982 album Tug of War. He wrote the song as a tribute to his relationship with John Lennon, who was murdered in 1980.Did Ringo Starr like John Lennon? ›
Ringo Starr and John Lennon held a strong bond that was never in doubt and, following the split of The Fab Four, the success that Starr had in his solo career made Lennon immensely happy.Who was Lennon's best friend? ›
Pete Shotton, known in Beatles lore as John Lennon's best friend during their childhood days in Liverpool and a member of Quarrymen, has passed away.What was the last Beatles song to hit the charts? ›
"The Long And Winding Road" became the Beatles' last official U.S. single, topping the charts for two weeks just two months after McCartney announced the group's split on April 10th, 1970.What was The Beatles first number 1 song in America? ›
On this date in 1964, the Beatles posted their first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100, as “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” their first entry on the list, rose 3-1 in its just its third week on the chart. It had vaulted from its No. 45 debut the week before.What were The Beatles first 5 hit songs? ›
On April 4, 1964, The Fab Four owned the Billboard charts, as they held the top five spots on the Billboard Hot 100. After only two weeks on the charts, "Can't Buy Me Love" hit No. 1, while "Twist and Shout," "She Loves You," "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "Please Please Me" round out the top five.What was the biggest selling Beatles song? ›
Today, 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' remains The Beatles' highest-selling physical single of all time, with no less than 12 million copies sold worldwide.Who has more 1 hits than The Beatles? ›
Elvis' 14 chart-toppers spent a combined total of 62 weeks at #1 on the “Top/Hot 100,” while The Beatles' 20 #1s spent a total of 59 weeks in the top slot.
1. Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) – 32 million copies sold.What did Ringo say when John Lennon died? ›
After explaining how he found out about Lennon's death, explaining that he received a phone call about the shooting, Starr cuts the answer short with a simple: “Do you want to stop that now?” with an almost desperate plea to move on. “It doesn't help and it always gets me upset,” he explains.Did John Lennon forgive Paul McCartney? ›
Paul McCartney says his bitter rift with Beatles bandmate John Lennon may have drawn headlines, but their real story at the end was one of forgiveness, as the two put aside differences to bond over fatherhood and “bread-making recipes.”What did George Harrison say to Paul McCartney? ›
During a chat with DJ Alan Freeman on his 1970s show Rock Around The World, George said he felt inferior in some ways to lead singer Paul, now 80. He said: “I had no confidence in myself as a guitar player having spent so many years with Paul McCartney, he ruined me as a guitar player.”Who was a better songwriter Lennon or McCartney? ›
McCartney was more melodic and covered a broader range of topics in his lyrics. Lennon was more musically raw and his lyrics more personal. If that analysis failed, the song's lead vocalist was usually the primary writer.What song did John wrote about Paul? ›
"How Do You Sleep?" is a song by English rock musician John Lennon from his 1971 album Imagine. The song makes angry and scathing remarks aimed at his former Beatles bandmate and songwriting partner, Paul McCartney.Who wrote more hits Lennon or McCartney? ›
Most number one singles by a songwriter (US/UK)
McCartney is credited as the writer on 32 number one hits in the US to Lennons 26 (with 23 co-written), whereas Lennon authored 29 UK number ones to McCartney's 28 (25 co-written).
Lennon earns 27% of the vote, while Harrison (17%) and Starr (11%) take third and fourth place. Despite being the favorite of one in four, Lennon is also the least favorite Beatle of nearly half (49%) of people who say they are "not a fan" of at least one of the band members.Who was the most loved Beatles? ›
And who is America's favorite Beatle? Paul McCartney ranked highest, at 35 percent; following by John Lennon (29%), Ringo Starr (11%), and George Harrison (8%). However, there is a gender gap: men favored John, while women preferred Paul.Who was the smartest Beatle? ›
A chronical of the Beetle's would be a book in its own right, although it is worth saying that John was de-facto leader alongside Paul and was sometimes called “the Smart Beatle”.
Despite being revered as a songwriting genius, Lennon was deeply worried about what his legacy would look like and how people would remember him after he was gone. “I remember John was a bit insecure,” McCartney said during a revealing interview on the CBS programme 60 Minutes.How long was John Lennon's bed in? ›
In March 1969, John and Yoko set about bringing a message of peace to the world from their bed in the Amsterdam Hilton hotel. They vowed to stay in bed for a whole week in what they called a 'bed-in for peace'.What was John Lennon's best selling album? ›
Although Imagine is a greater catalog seller for very long, the initial sales if Double Fantasy still make it Lennon's best result at almost 10 million.What was John Lennon's best selling song? ›
"Imagine" is a song by British rock musician John Lennon from his 1971 album of the same name. The best-selling single of his solo career, the lyrics encourage listeners to imagine a world of peace, without materialism, without borders separating nations and without religion.What does the name Lennon mean? ›
Origin:Irish. Meaning:lover. Lennon is a gender-neutral baby name of Irish origin. This baby name is as beautiful as it sounds with the meaning “lover”. Though the meaning is enough to adore, this name also became widely popular due to the late star John Lennon from The Beatles.What is the unreleased song of John Lennon? ›
A student asks whether Lennon would play the guitar, and he plays 'Radio Peace', followed by 'Give peace a chance. '" "Radio Peace" was written for a radio station in the Netherlands but never actually released, according to the AP.What were the last two Beatles songs? ›
It was to become the last Beatles song to be recorded (well, at least until 'Free as a Bird' and 'Real Love' for the 'Beatles Anthology')I Me Mine actually dated back to the 'Get Back' sessions in January 1969, almost exactly a year earlier.What songs did the Beatles play at their last concert? ›
The Beatles took to the stage at 9.27pm, and performed 11 songs: 'Rock And Roll Music', 'She's A Woman', 'If I Needed Someone', 'Day Tripper', 'Baby's In Black', 'I Feel Fine', 'Yesterday', 'I Wanna Be Your Man', 'Nowhere Man', 'Paperback Writer', and 'Long Tall Sally'.What was John Lennon's last big hit? ›
On the day of John Lennon's murder, The Beatle spent his final evening doing what he loved most: working in the studio with his beloved wife, Yoko Ono, creating the hauntingly fitting 'Walking On Thin Ice'.Who wrote more No. 1 hits Lennon or McCartney? ›
The most successful songwriters in terms of number one singles are John Lennon (1940-80) and Paul McCartney (b. 18 Jun 1942). McCartney is credited as the writer on 32 number one hits in the US to Lennons 26 (with 23 co-written), whereas Lennon authored 29 UK number ones to McCartney's 28 (25 co-written).
In a decade that produced countless hits for The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, Frank Sinatra, Cliff Richard and many more, Ken Dodd's track outsold them all – except for two songs by The Beatles: She Loves You and I Want to Hold Your Hand, both released in 1963.What was John Lennon's best-selling album? ›
Although Imagine is a greater catalog seller for very long, the initial sales if Double Fantasy still make it Lennon's best result at almost 10 million.What was John Lennon's number one song? ›
Even more unbelievable was that Lennon only had one number one during his lifetime. 'Whatever Gets You Thru the Night' is a raucous romp of a song, featuring blasting horns that sound straight out of the Saturday Night Live theme.What was John Lennon's last words to Paul? ›
Although their intimate conversations remained private, Paul's wife Linda McCartney once revealed John Lennon's last words to his former band mate. As Ultimate Classic Rock reveal, they were: “Think about me every now and then, old friend.”Who was the most talented Beatle? ›
Conclusion: Paul Was The Greatest Beatle
There simply is no clear winner, but if pressed, I would say this analysis shows Paul as the slightly better song writer.
As far as the vocals, Paul obviously had better range, both were great at scream-singing (e.g., 'Long tall Sally', 'Oh Darling' for Paul, 'Bad Boy', 'Yer Blues' for John), but there was a tonal depth to John's voice that gave it a hauntingly beautiful quality (e.g., 'Strawberry Fields", 'Julia').Who owns John Lennon's music? ›
While the bassist's half of the songs will return to him, Lennon's will not belong to his estate. Yoko Ono sold the rights to his music to Sony/ATV Music in 2009, those rights lasting the entire copyright's lifetime (70 years).Who sold more than The Beatles? ›
Perhaps unsurprisingly, British rock band The Beatles are top of the list for best-selling artists worldwide, with 183 million units certified sales. Second is Garth Brooks with over 157 million units sales, followed by Elvis Presley with 139 million units.Who surpassed Beatles in sales? ›
20-dated chart. As a result, Drake passes The Beatles, who have 29, for the record over the list's 64-year history. The Beatles held the top-five mark for 55 years, having last reached the region in 1970 with “The Long and Winding Road”/”For You Blue,” which spent two weeks at No. 1.