God (John Lennon song)

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"God"
God John Lennon cover.jpg
Cover to promo single issued by Odeon in Spain in 1988
Song by John Lennon
from the album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
Released11 December 1970
Recorded26 September – 9 October 1970[1]
Length4:09
LabelApple/EMI
Songwriter(s)John Lennon
Producer(s)John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Phil Spector
John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band track listing

"God" is a song by English musician John Lennon, from his first post-Beatles solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. The album was released on 11 December 1970 in the United States and the United Kingdom.[2]

Meaning[edit]

There are three sections in the song.

In the first section, John Lennon describes God as "a concept by which we measure our pain".

In the second, Lennon chants a Descartian list of things he does not believe in, ending by stating that he just believes in himself (individuality) and Yoko (his wife). He rejects magic, the I Ching, the Bible, tarot, Hitler, Jesus, Kennedy, the Buddha, mantra, the Gita, yoga, kings, Elvis, Zimmerman (Bob Dylan), and the Beatles.[3]

The final section describes Lennon's change since the break-up of the Beatles. While the Beatles were basically his family throughout the 1960s,[2] he refers to Paul McCartney’s 1965 Beatles song “Yesterday”, and states that he is no longer the "Dreamweaver" or "The Walrus", but just "John”. The final line of the song, "The dream is over”, has been seen as declaring the end of the 1960s quest for meaning. "If there is a God", Lennon explained, "we're all it".[4]

Legacy[edit]

The Irish rock band U2 wrote and recorded the song "God Part II" as an answer song to Lennon's "God". Included in U2's 1988 album Rattle and Hum, "God Part II" reprises the "don't believe in" motif from Lennon's song and its lyrics explicitly reference Lennon's 1970 song "Instant Karma!" and American biographer Albert Goldman, author of the controversial book The Lives of John Lennon (1988).

English musician David Bowie, a friend and one-time musical collaborator with Lennon, wrote and recorded the song "Afraid", which was included in his 2002 album Heathen; one of the song's lyrics, "I believe in Beatles", is a rejoinder to Lennon singing "I don't believe in Beatles" in "God".

Personnel[edit]

The musicians who performed on the original recording were as follows:[5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "God". 2 August 2010.
  2. ^ a b "God". The Beatles Bible. 2 August 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  3. ^ Wiener, Jon. (1991). Come together : John Lennon in his time (Illini books ed.). Urbana: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-06131-4. OCLC 21907530.
  4. ^ Wenner, Jann S. (2000). Lennon Remembers. London: Verso. p. 48. ISBN 1-85984-376-X.
  5. ^ Blaney, John (2005). John Lennon: Listen To This Book. Guildford, Great Britain: Biddles Ltd. p. 61. ISBN 0-9544528-1-X.
  6. ^ a b "God (p. 2)". The Beatles Bible. 2 August 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2020.