Power to the People

Album: Shaved Fish (1971)
Charted: 7 11
  • "Power to the People" was a popular phrase in the 1960s and early '70. It indicated a need for individuals to take control from governments and institutions, which is something Lennon advocated. He said of the song: "I wrote 'Power to the People' the same way I wrote 'Give Peace A Chance,' as something for the people to sing. I make singles like broadsheets. It was another quickie."
  • Around the time this song was recorded and released, film cameras were constantly recording John and Yoko for the Imagine documentary. Among the footage is John Lennon giving this concise explanation of the song's meaning: "The people are the government, and the people have the power. All we have to do is awaken the power in the people."
  • This was released as a single credited to "John Lennon with the Plastic Ono Band." Phil Spector produced it with Lennon.
  • Lennon was on to something with his title: a month after this song entered the US charts, (For God's Sake) Give More Power to the People by The Chi-Lites became a hit.
  • Lennon discussed this song in an interview with BBC Radio 1 DJ Andy Peebles on December 6, 1980, four days before his death. He recalled: "(British Pakistani activist and writer) Tariq Ali kept coming round wanting money for Red Mole or some magazine or other. I was thinking, Well I'm working class and I am not one of them, but I am rich and therefore I have to. So any time anybody said something like that, I would fork out. He was hustling for whatever he was hustling for and I wrote 'Power To The People' as a sort of guilt song. It's like a newspaper song, where you write about something instant that's going on right now. It's the news headlines with misprints and everything." (Source Q magazine November 2010)

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