3 Eternal Solo Songs by John Lennon that Have Stood the Test of Time

Not only was John Lennon in likely the greatest rock group of all time, The Beatles, but he participated in one of the greatest songwriting partnerships of all time, too, with his bandmate Paul McCartney. While they didn’t write every song together The Beatles put out, the two were always big influences on one another’s compositions.

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But when the band broke up at the turn of the 1970s, the members went off on their own. And Lennon, with his pointed lyrics and often psychedelic style, put out solo songs that influenced the world and have since stood the test of time. Here below, we wanted to explore three such offerings. A trio of tracks that have remained indellible. Indeed, these are three eternal John Lennon solo songs.

[RELATED: The Story and Meaning Behind “I’m Losing You,” John Lennon’s Near-Collaboration with Cheap Trick]

“Imagine” from Imagine (1971)

The ultimate song of idealism, this classic track from Lennon asks the question: Could you live without ties? Whether that’s to religion, material things, a sense of country. So far, when it comes to the human race on the whole, the answer is a resounding no. But Lennon’s song continues to hang in the ether and his questions longer after his death in 1980 have continued to reach millions of ears. This song, which hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, was written by Lennon with the help of his wife, artist Yoko Ono. On it he sings,

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us, only sky

Imagine all the people
Livin’ for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

“Working Class Hero” from John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970)

As Lennon’s career as one of the most famous musicians on Earth progressed, he became more disillusioned with the idea of fame. The goals he had as a young person seemed just that—juvenile. And so he leaned into ideas of social idealism (as with the above song) and in honoring those who don’t want their names in lights on the marquee, as with this song. Released on The Beatles’ Apple Records label with his John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, this track honors those who work hard for a living, grinding away and keeping the wheels of life turning. On the track, Lennon sings,

As soon as you’re born they make you feel small
By giving you no time instead of it all
‘Til the pain is so big you feel nothing at all

A working class hero is something to be
A 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 they despise a fool
‘Til you’re so f–king crazy you can’t follow their rules

A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

“Jealous Guy” from Imagine (1971)

In his later years as a songwriter, Lennon was nothing if not introspective and honest about what he found inside himself. Here, he offers a song about true feelings he has—not necessarily of love and affection, but of fear and jealousy. To be human is to be strong. But perhaps even more so it’s to be frail and weak—at times, anyway. And Lennon channels this truth on this song, on which he sings,

I was dreaming of the past
And my heart was beating fast
I began to lose control
I began to lose control

I didn’t mean to hurt you
I’m sorry that I made you cry
Oh no, I didn’t want to hurt you
I’m just a jealous guy

I was feeling insecure

You might not love me anymore

I was shivering inside
I was shivering inside

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Photo by Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images

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