Revolution (Lennon/McCartney)

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Revolution (Lennon/McCartney)

The second of the two versions of John’s Revolution to be recorded, but the first to be released (as a single, the other was later released on The Beatles). John later commented that it was intended for release as a single as a slower, acoustic number, but was persuaded by Paul and George to speed it up and make it heavier. The song was written in response to several leftist political groups who were pressuring John for support, as well as fellow revolutionaries who shared Lennon’s views but favored a more destructive approach to change.

Guest musicians

The piano was played by former Rolling Stones keyboardist Nicky Hopkins.


“We recorded the song twice. The Beatles were getting really tense with one another. I did the slow version and I wanted it out as a single: as a statement of the Beatles’ position on Vietnam and the Beatles’ position on revolution. For years, on the Beatle tours, Epstein had stopped us from saying anything about Vietnam or the war. And he wouldn’t allow questions about it. But on one tour, I said, “I am going to answer about the war. We can’t ignore it.” I absolutely wanted the Beatles to say something. The first take of “Revolution” — well, George and Paul were resentful and said it wasn’t fast enough. Now, if you go into details of what a hit record is and isn’t maybe. But the Beatles could have afforded to put out the slow, understandable version of “Revolution” as a single. Whether it was a gold record or a wooden record. But because they were so upset about the Yoko period and the fact that I was again becoming as creative and dominating as I had been in the early days, after lying fallow for a couple of years, it upset the apple cart. I was awake again and they couldn’t stand it? (Yoko) inspired all this creation in me. It wasn’t that she inspired the songs; she inspired me. The statement in “Revolution” was mine. The lyrics stand today. It’s still my feeling about politics. I want to see the plan. That is what I used to say to Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. Count me out if it is for violence. Don’t expect me to be on the barricades unless it is with flowers.” – John Lennon, Playboy, 1980

“The fast version was destroyed. It was a heavy record, but the stereo mix made it into a piece of ice cream!” – John Lennon, 1974


  • John Lennon – vocals, lead guitar, handclaps
  • Paul McCartney – bass guitar, Hammond organ, handclaps
  • George Harrison – lead guitar, handclaps
  • Ringo Starr – drums, handclaps
  • Nicky Hopkins – electric piano

Release dates

Notable covers

  • Stone Temple Pilots (single)

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