Top 10 John Lennon Songs You Haven’t Heard For Ages

John Lennon

Published at 6:01am 8th December 2018.

5 minute read

On the 8th December 2018, it'll be 38 years since the tragic death of the legendary John Lennon.

On the 8th December 2018, it'll be 38 years since the tragic death of the legendary John Lennon. So at Spire 70s, we've taken a look back at the musicians superb solo singles you may not have heard for ages. They are a treat!

Mind Games

  • Released on Apple Records as a single in 1973, ‘Mind Games’ was initially called Make Love Not War’, and can be heard in The Beatles’ 1969 Let It Be sessions.
  • The line “YES is the answer” links to Yoko Ono’s art piece ‘Ceiling Painting (YES Painting)’, which initially drew them together.
  • It’s been covered by many artists since his death, notably Sinead O’Connor and Arcade Fire.

Whatever Gets You Thru the Night

  • In 2005, John and Yoko’s personal assistant May Pang told Radio Times that: "At night he (John) loved to channel-surf, and he would pick up phrases from all the shows.
  • One time, he was watching Reverend Ike, a famous black evangelist, who was saying, "Let me tell you guys, it doesn't matter, it's whatever gets you through the night."
  • John loved it and said, "I've got to write it down or I'll forget it." He always kept a pad and pen by the bed. That was the beginning of Whatever Gets You Thru The Night."
  • The song also features Elton John on backing vocals and piano!

Nobody Told Me

  • This was the lead single from the posthumous album Milk and Honey, which, like Double Fantasy before it, was a shared collection of songs by both John and Yoko.
  • Thus, it was the first “new” material from Lennon after his death, including subsequent live and demo releases.


Instant Karma

  • ‘Instant Karma’ was produced and released under Lennon’s idea of “why can’t a record be recorded at the weekend, and be out by next Thursday?”
  • Thus, Instant Karma was written, recorded, and released in 10 days, despite there being a clash of heads between Phil Spector and Lennon regarding the bass in the final mix of the track.
  • Additionally, the chorus inspired the title of Stephen King’s novel, The Shining.


Watching the Wheels

  • In ‘Watching the Wheels’ John addresses his five-year break from the music industry where he focussed on raising his son Sean, with Yoko.



  • John told Rolling Stone that:

“Woman came about because, one sunny afternoon in Bermuda, it suddenly hit me. I saw what women do for us. Not just what my Yoko does for me, although I was thinking in those personal terms. […][I]n Bermuda, what suddenly dawned on me was everything I was taking for granted. Women really are the other half of the sky, as I whisper at the beginning of the song. And it just sort of hit me like a flood, and it came out like that. The song reminds me of a Beatles track, but I wasn't trying to make it sound like that. I did it as I did Girl many years ago. So this is the grown-up version of Girl.

Beautiful Boy

  • Written for his son, Sean, John allays his fears and expresses his love for him.
  • On Desert Island Discs in 1982, Paul McCartney includes this as one of his favourite songs of Lennon’s.

Give Peace A Chance

  • ‘Give Peace A Chance’ was written during John and Yoko’s honeymoon “Bed-In”- a non-violent protest against war - in Montreal.
  • When asked by a journalist what he was trying to achieve, Lennon responded: "Just give peace a chance".
  • The song was credited to Lennon/McCartney upon its initial release, as was the tradition at the time (as Lennon was still part of The Beatles). It has subsequently been changed to the sole credit of Lennon.


Working Class Hero

  • ‘Working Class Hero’ is a critique of the social hierarchy. John stated "I think it's a revolutionary song – it's really just revolutionary”.

Jealous Guy

  • ‘Jealous Guy’ was originally written in 1968 for The Beatles’; White Album, in Rishikesh, India, as ‘Child of Nature’, but was rejected at the demo stage.
  • John later re-wrote the lyrics into the ‘Imagine’ album classic that we know today. 

So there you have it 10 of the best John Lennon Solo songs that you need to listen to!

If you love music from Lennon's era, you'll love our station Spire 70's that can be found on our free app, online and via your smart speaker.

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