Woman (John Lennon song)

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John Lennon - Woman.jpg
Single by John Lennon
from the album Double Fantasy
B-side"Beautiful Boys" (Yoko Ono)
Released12 January 1981 (US)
16 January 1981 (UK)
Recorded5 August, 27 August, 8 September, 22 September 1980
GenreSoft rock
Songwriter(s)John Lennon
Producer(s)John Lennon, Yoko Ono & Jack Douglas
John Lennon singles chronology
"(Just Like) Starting Over"
"Watching the Wheels"
Double Fantasy track listing
14 tracks
Side one
  1. "(Just Like) Starting Over"
  2. "Kiss Kiss Kiss"
  3. "Cleanup Time"
  4. "Give Me Something"
  5. "I'm Losing You"
  6. "I'm Moving On"
  7. "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)"
Side two
  1. "Watching the Wheels"
  2. "Yes, I'm Your Angel"
  3. "Woman"
  4. "Beautiful Boys"
  5. "Dear Yoko"
  6. "Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him"
  7. "Hard Times Are Over"

"Woman" is a song written and performed by John Lennon from his 1980 album Double Fantasy. The track was chosen by Lennon to be the second single released from the Double Fantasy album, and it was the first Lennon single issued after his murder on 8 December 1980.[1] The B-side of the single is Ono's song "Beautiful Boys".[1]

Lennon wrote "Woman" as an ode to his wife Yoko Ono, and to all women.[2] The track begins with Lennon whispering, "For the other half of the sky ...", a paraphrase of a Chinese proverb, once used by Mao Zedong.


In an interview for Rolling Stone magazine on 5 December 1980, John Lennon said that the song "came about because, one sunny afternoon in Bermuda, it suddenly hit me what women do for us. Not just what my Yoko does for me, although I was thinking in those personal terms... but any truth is universal. What 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. It's a 'we' or it ain't anything." In that same interview, Lennon continued that "Woman" was his most Beatlesque song on Double Fantasy, and that the track is a "grown-up version" of his Beatles song "Girl."[3]

This is the only song title for which John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote separate songs. In 1966, McCartney wrote a song of the same title using the pseudonym Bernard Webb.

On 5 June 1981, Geffen re-released "Woman" as a single as part of their "Back to Back Hits" series, with the B-side "(Just Like) Starting Over".[1] In the United Kingdom, "Woman" replaced Lennon's 1971 track "Imagine" at #1. This was the first time an artist replaced himself at #1 in the country since The Beatles did it in 1963 with "She Loves You" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand."

A promotional film for the song was created by Yoko Ono in January 1981. Throughout most of the video, Lennon and Ono are seen walking through Central Park near what would become Strawberry Fields across from The Dakota. This footage was directed by photographer Ethan Russell on 26 November 1980.[4] Other footage of Ono alone, along with photos and newspaper coverage of Lennon's murder, were also included.

The word "woman" begins each verse, but it doesn't show up in the chorus.

Chart performance[edit]

The single debuted at number 3 in Lennon's native UK, then moving to number 2 and finally reaching number 1, where it spent two weeks, knocking off the top spot his own re-released "Imagine". In the US the single peaked at number 2 on Billboard Hot 100 (kept out of the top spot by REO Speedwagon's hit "Keep On Loving You" and Blondie's hit "Rapture") while reaching number 1 on the Cashbox Top 100.[5]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
New Zealand (RMNZ)[17] Gold 10,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone


Cover versions[edit]

The Shadows did an instrumental version as a medley with "Imagine" in 1981.

Pop group Brotherhood of Man recorded a version in 1981, which was featured on their album 20 Love Songs.

Ozzy Osbourne recorded this song on his 2005 Under Cover album.

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

In popular culture[edit]

The 2008 video game by Nintendo Wii Music features this song as a playable song.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Blaney, John (2005). John Lennon: Listen to This Book (illustrated ed.). [S.l.]: Paper Jukebox. p. 196. ISBN 978-0-9544528-1-0.
  2. ^ Playboy Interview, Sheff, 1980
  3. ^ "1980 Rolling Stone Interview with John Lennon by Jonathan Cott". Retrieved October 27, 2006.
  4. ^ "Woman - John Lennon (official music video HD)". Missing or empty |url= (help)
  5. ^ Blaney, John (2005). John Lennon: Listen to This Book (illustrated ed.). [S.l.]: Paper Jukebox. p. 326. ISBN 978-0-9544528-1-0.
  6. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Woman". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  7. ^ "SA Charts 1965 – March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  8. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  9. ^ "John Lennon Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  10. ^ Billboard
  11. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles
  12. ^ Kimberley, Christopher. Zimbabwe Singles Chart Book: 1965–1996.
  13. ^ Australian-charts.com
  14. ^ Nztop40.co.nz
  15. ^ "Pop Singles" Billboard December 26, 1981: YE-9
  16. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  17. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – John Lennon – Woman". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 16 May 2020.

External links[edit]