Working Class Hero: Happy 73rd Birthday John Lennon

Today,October 9th, marks John Lennon’s 73th Birthday. This post is about my favorite John Lennon song.

This video is of Green Day’s cover of the John Lennon song “Working Class Hero.” I think this song serves as a good reminder of the social outlook that goes along with the socialist political and economic program. It is this outlook that I so very much relate to. It is probably the reason that I am comfortable with the socialist label. While Lennon’s song “Imagine” addresses a form of a social utopia, this song addresses socialist social theory, in particular the concepts of alienation and exploitation.

Green Day covered this song as part of a Save Darfur album that was put together by Amnesty International. I first heard this song performed by Green Day as part of an American Idol charity show. Like so many charity events, little mention was made about the root causes of poverty and suffering. It is more about the advantaged feeling better about themselves. Green Day brought the issue to the table.

Lyrics to Working Class Hero :

[By John Lennon]

As soon as your born they make you feel small
By giving you no time instead of it all
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
Working Class Hero is something to be
Working Class Hero is something to be

They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
They hate you if you’re clever and despise a fool
Till you’re so fucking crazy you can’t follow their rules
Working Class Hero is something to be
Working Class Hero is something to be

When they’ve tortured and scared you for 20 odd years
Then they expect you to pick a career
When you can’t really function you’re so full of fear
Working Class Hero is something to be
Working Class Hero is something to be

Keep you doped with religon, sex and T.V.
And you think you’re so clever and classless and free
But you’re still fucking peasents as far as I can see
Working Class Hero is something to be
Working Class Hero is something to be

There’s room at the top I’m telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill
Working Class Hero is something to be

Yes, A Working Class Hero is something to be
If you want to be a hero well just follow me
If you want to be a hero well just follow me

Here is the original version:

YouTube Preview Image

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN LENNON!

What is your favorite Lennon song? What do you think of his post-Beatles work? Any thoughts about Lennon are welcome.

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  • andrew2001

    One of my Favorite Lennon songs. I had never heard the Green Day cover. Richie Havens sings a pretty good version too

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUyb6OaEFRI

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/approachingjustice/ Chris Henrichsen

      That one is new to me. I have a collection of Working Class Hero covers on my iPod. I will have to add that one. Thanks!

  • andrew2001

    Here are a couple of more interesting versions. Marianne Faithfull Live from the year 2000 on a PBS special

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3N_rNz2oAGA

    and, well, you may need to take it with a grain of salt, Cyndi Lauper at a 10 year Memorial Special in 1990

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrwsUur6SfE


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