Mind Games (John Lennon song)

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"Mind Games"
Mind Games 45.jpg
Single by John Lennon
from the album Mind Games
B-side"Meat City"
Released29 October 1973 (US)
16 November 1973 (UK)[1]
Format7-inch single
RecordedJuly–August 1973
Songwriter(s)John Lennon
Producer(s)John Lennon
John Lennon singles chronology
"Woman Is the Nigger of the World"
"Mind Games"
"Whatever Gets You thru the Night"
Mind Games track listing
12 tracks
Side one
  1. "Mind Games"
  2. "Tight A$"
  3. "Aisumasen (I'm Sorry)"
  4. "One Day (At a Time)"
  5. "Bring on the Lucie (Freeda Peeple)"
  6. "Nutopian International Anthem"
Side two
  1. "Intuition"
  2. "Out the Blue"
  3. "Only People"
  4. "I Know (I Know)"
  5. "You Are Here"
  6. "Meat City"

"Mind Games" is a song written and performed by John Lennon, released as a single in 1973 on Apple Records.[2] It was the lead single for the album of the same name. The UK single and album were issued simultaneously on November 16, 1973. In the US it peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 10 on the Cashbox Top 100. In the UK it peaked at No. 26.[3]


This song, which was begun in 1969 and can be heard in the Beatles' Let It Be sessions, was originally titled "Make Love, Not War",[2] a popular hippie slogan at that time.[4] Another song, "I Promise", contains the melody that would later be featured on "Mind Games".[2] The original Lennon demos for "Make Love, Not War" and "I Promise", recorded in 1970, are available on the John Lennon Anthology.[2][4] Lennon finished writing the song after reading the book Mind Games: The Guide to Inner Space by Robert Masters and Jean Houston (1972).[5][6] Lennon later encountered Masters in a restaurant and told him, "I am one of your fans. You wrote Mind Games."[5]

In keeping with the original theme, the lyrics advocate unity, love, and a positive outlook. The lyric "YES is the answer" is a nod to his wife Yoko Ono's art piece that brought them together originally. The song was recorded as Lennon split with her for his 18-month "lost weekend" with May Pang.

Chart performance[edit]


Personnel per The Beatles Bible.[14][better source needed]

Cover versions[edit]

In 1990 South African musician Ratau Mike Makhalemele released an EP of Lennon covers including a 16-minute-long version of Mind Games.[15]

In 1995, it was recorded by George Clinton for the John Lennon tribute album Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon.

In 1997, it was recorded by DJ Krush with vocals by Eri Ohno for the album MiLight.

In 2001, it was performed by Kevin Spacey as part of the tribute concert Come Together: A Night for John Lennon's Words and Music.

The Irish band Hal covered Mind Games for Q Magazine in 2005.

In 2006, it was covered by German rock /pop group MIA., as well as Australian band, Eskimo Joe, as part of the project Make Some Noise to support Amnesty International. Eskimo Joe's cover would also appear on the International release of "Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur" as well as the Complete Recordings of the same project.

In 2007, Gavin Rossdale's version appeared on Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur as an iTunes exclusive bonus track.

In April 2009, Sinéad O'Connor's version of the song recorded in the mid 90's appeared on the re-released deluxe edition of her second album, I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got.

In 2017 Arcade Fire released a cover on Spotify, and performed the song multiple times live in concert.


  1. ^ Castleman, Harry; Podrazik, Walter J. (September 1976) [1975]. All Together Now: The First Complete Beatles Discography 1961-1975. Ballantine Books. p. 127. ISBN 0-345-29794-6.
  2. ^ a b c d Blaney, John (2005). "1973 to 1975: The Lost Weekend Starts Here". John Lennon: Listen to This Book (illustrated ed.). [S.l.]: Paper Jukebox. p. 123. ISBN 9780954452810.
  3. ^ Blaney, John (2005). John Lennon: Listen to This Book (illustrated ed.). [S.l.]: Paper Jukebox. p. 326. ISBN 978-0-9544528-1-0.
  4. ^ a b Urish, B. & Bielen, K. (2007). The Words and Music of John Lennon. Praeger. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-275-99180-7.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b Masters, Robert; Houston, Jean (1998). "Preface". Mind Games: The Guide to Inner Space (1st Quest ed.). Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Pub. House. p. XII. ISBN 0835607534.
  6. ^ Blaney, John (2005). "1973 to 1975: The Lost Weekend Starts Here". John Lennon: Listen to This Book (illustrated ed.). [S.l.]: Paper Jukebox. p. 126. ISBN 9780954452810.
  7. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  8. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Bac-lac.gc.ca. 1974-01-19. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  9. ^ "JOHN LENNON | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 138.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-05. Retrieved 2015-01-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Item: 9481 - Library and Archives Canada". Bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  13. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.
  14. ^ "Mind Games". The Beatles Bible. 10 August 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  15. ^ Brian Currin. "Mike Makhalemele - Mind Games". Rock.co.za. Retrieved 2016-10-08.

External links[edit]