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John Lennon — Working Class Hero
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Total ratings: 329









Released: 0
Length: 3:47
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As soon as you're 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
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
Till you're so fucking crazy, you can't follow their rules
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

When they've tortured and scared you for twenty odd years
Then they expect you to pick a career
When you can't really function, you're so full of fear
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you're so clever and classless and free
But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

There's room at the top, they are 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
A working class hero is something to be
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
Comments (78)add comment
Released 1970.
Geez, in just 2 days time it was 38
years ago when he was shot….
How Trump Is Trying to Govern America Like an Internet Troll 

Truth Hurts and this Ego-maniac will be brought out
One of my fav songs from Lennon.

A superb mirror of the state of our societies.

"They hate you if you're clever, and they despise a fool."



 
 steeler wrote:
First you must learn how to smile as you kill, if you want to be like the folks on the hill.

normol wrote:
As true today as it was when he wrote it. Corporations and their puppets won't 'Give Peace a Chance' when billions of dollars can be fleeced from taxes of the working class.
 
so bloody true, CEO's filching billions and us moms and pops paying extra taxes out the ass    Lennon is a God
Marianne Faithful's version is extraordinary too!! 
Marianne Faithful Does A Superb Rendition Of This Song.

Everybody in my church loves this song...
 


It has been too long since this song last played...  everybody in my hotel room loves this song...

 
What lyrics, what statements, what truthes. Striking SO many chords and they're not on the guitar :meditate:
I think I may have heard this before, or did someone do a clever rewrite of this?
I'm no lennon worshipper but that was a pretty darn good tune.
ChardRemains wrote:
I'm with you. Don't get me wrong. I adore most of John Lennon's work and respect his thoughts & abilities. What bugs me about this song is it's pretty arrogant, actually -- he was the LEAST working class of of all the Fab 4, lived in an nice home, had good clothes ... and actually attended a postsecondary institution. It's a pose. But I bet he thought he meant it at the time. Libras. tsk, so unreliable.
John Lennon was a fatuous poseur all around. Sure, he wrote great stuff, but I'm just mystified why people so worship him.
bajafisher wrote:
I will probably stand alone on this one, but I really dont care for this at all. Its not anything special. This is a blemish on Mr Lennons memory to me. Wish I hadnt heard it.
I'm with you. Don't get me wrong. I adore most of John Lennon's work and respect his thoughts & abilities. What bugs me about this song is it's pretty arrogant, actually -- he was the LEAST working class of of all the Fab 4, lived in an nice home, had good clothes ... and actually attended a postsecondary institution. It's a pose. But I bet he thought he meant it at the time. Libras. tsk, so unreliable.
excellent tune-youre all trying to hard. dont and enjoy.
bajafisher wrote:
I will probably stand alone on this one, but I really dont care for this at all. Its not anything special. This is a blemish on Mr Lennons memory to me. Wish I hadnt heard it.
Yer not alone. :headshake:
I will probably stand alone on this one, but I really dont care for this at all. Its not anything special. This is a blemish on Mr Lennons memory to me. Wish I hadnt heard it.
Typesbad wrote:
The premise is not underminded at all. There are exceptions to everything, and clearly John understood that his circumstance was quite exceptional. Sure he was extremely talented, but he realised that dumb luck also played a hand in his situation. Would he have gotten so far if he hadn't run into Paul who had such acute pop instincts? Would the US teenagers have gone so gaga over the Beatles if they didn't need some external diversion from the Kennedy assassination? I'm sure many Beatle fans can come up with better examples of fortuitous circumstances in their rise.
There is nothing at all exceptional about class mobility in capitalistic societies. It has been the norm since capitalism became an institutionalized economic system. The only exceptional aspect of John's economic ascent was its magnitude. "Dumb luck" plays a part in every sucessful person's success, but success almost never happens by accident. Preparation and hard work are also part of the equation. Those who engage in neither never get their "lucky break" because they lack the tools to ride that break to success. The Beatles are no exception. They worked their balls off for years honing their craft and making almost no money before they got their break, and then worked their balls off some more when their break came. That break never would have come had they not done the hard work and preparation, and their success would not have been so colossal had they simply stopped working hard once their break came.
John was well aware that most of the working class is just as stuck as his song implies. Unfortunately, capitalist systems require a certain lack of class mobility, just as they depend on a certain level of unemployment to keep inflation down.
On the contrary, class mobility was almost non-existent before the advent of institutional capitalism. It is still almost non-existent in nations with highly controlled economies. No macroeconomic system has more class mobility than capitalism. Period. China's currently growing class mobility has precisely coincided with the extent of the liberalization of its economy, as did that of Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Ireland, and other nations that have developed first-world standards of living from utter poverty in the last 50 years. In short, the promise and realization of upward class mobility is the engine that drives a capitalist economy, and it is what makes capitalistic societies the wealthiest and most productive on earth. (It is worth noting in John's favor that the barriers to upward mobility in the UK were notably higher when this song was released -- and the prior two decades when John grew up/became a young adult -- than they are now, though mobility still occured. In the last 20 years class mobility in the UK has become more fluid and achieved parity with the world's more liberalized economies.) Also, capitalism doesn't "rely on" a certain level of unemployment to keep inflation down so much as there is an relation between the two; namely, many economists believe that employment below a certain point is a signifier of -- not a cause of -- inflation. The capitalist system contains no deliberate mechanism to maintain a certain level of unemployment any more than it can deliberately control supply, demand, prices, or any other factor that is largely determined by the highly fluid aggregate whims of tens of millions of independent actors who each have a different agenda from the next. And again, since unusually low unemployment is a signal of -- not a cause of -- inflation, there is no benefit in maintaining an unemployment rate floor since this cart-before-the-horse approach does nothing to contain inflation.
John acknowledgement of these contraints, even if they didn't apply to him is a much more grounded attitude than that of others on the top of their fields that tend to spout "Hey, I made it! I'm so good! Whats your problem?"
I see them as the two sides of the same cynical coin.
I've reached the about the same economic level I grew up in and thus haven't had trouble making ends meet for a while any any serious sense. But I recall vividly when I did, and I know other good people who still do.
So in other words, you've experienced class mobility. Class mobility does not imply that everyone makes it and nobody struggles. Nor does it guarantee that everyone climbs the ladder; indeed, not everyone wants to. But with the exception of those who inherit a wad of cash, nobody makes it to the next step without struggling. Also, class mobility goes both ways, though overall standard of living through all class strata trends upward over the long term in stable capitalist societies. Fluid upward class mobility also means fluid downward class mobility. In class-fluid economies, fortunes that are made are not infrequently lost, and sometimes made again. Or consider the standard course of a career, where you start your career at a certain income level and with few assets; then typically your salary increases over time and you accumulate more assets (upward mobility); then you retire, lose your asset-building income stream, and deplete your erstwhile accumulated assets for the rest of your life (downward mobility).
So if I write a song or even just a letter to the editor about that, am I insincere?
Lennon strikes me as someone who sincerely believed every single word he ever uttered. So I'm not questioning his sincerity so much as the validity of this song's premise.
drover wrote:
To me it's not a matter of hypocrisy but that his own experience of growing up in relatively humble circumstances to become fabulously wealthy sort of undermines the whole "don't bother, it's all for nothing" premise of the song.
The premise is not underminded at all. There are exceptions to everything, and clearly John understood that his circumstance was quite exceptional. Sure he was extremely talented, but he realised that dumb luck also played a hand in his situation. Would he have gotten so far if he hadn't run into Paul who had such acute pop instincts? Would the US teenagers have gone so gaga over the Beatles if they didn't need some external diversion from the Kennedy assassination? I'm sure many Beatle fans can come up with better examples of fortuitous circumstances in their rise. John was well aware that most of the working class is just as stuck as his song implies. Unfortunately, capitalist systems require a certain lack of class mobility, just as they depend on a certain level of unemployment to keep inflation down. John acknowledgement of these contraints, even if they didn't apply to him is a much more grounded attitude than that of others on the top of their fields that tend to spout "Hey, I made it! I'm so good! Whats your problem?" I've reached the about the same economic level I grew up in and thus haven't had trouble making ends meet for a while any any serious sense. But I recall vividly when I did, and I know other good people who still do. So if I write a song or even just a letter to the editor about that, am I insincere?
'Never trust the artist, trust the tale' (DH Lawrence) Who cares if Lennon was a millionaire when he wrote this - it's irrelevant. The song (and what you take from it) is the only valid criterion. The post that spoke about it being a world-weary comment is the closest to what he was thinking IMHO
passsion8 wrote:
The only uninspiring part of the RP novelty of playlists, is that they must be repeating themselves. So many of the posters here make comments about previous songs sequences that were played today and the dates reveal they were played in the same order several times before and before that. You mean Bill isn't spinning these 24/ 7 / 365 all by himself strapped to a chair?
If you wanted a brand new playlist every time you listened, go plug in your ipod and hit "shuffle." Sometimes, the transitions that Bill makes with his playlists are inspired enough to make you want to hear them again in that same order. That is what makes this a radio station, not your ipod.
Cynicism is root of this song, I think. Lennon is cynical about ladder climbing, stereotypes of oppression, stereotypes of heroism, and so many other things. I sense in his lyrics another emotion, too: fatigue. He just came through the circus of being A BEATLE, and I am sure that his eyes were open wide to all the things that he held delusions about before the Beatles went big. If you combine the message in this song (cynicism, anger, fatigue) with some of his other work of that time (Give Peace a Chance, for example), he seems to be saying that with everything he had been through, the only thing that mattered was love and the relationships with those that you love. A 60s-70s version of "Don't sweat the small stuff". We should all take note!
The only uninspiring part of the RP novelty of playlists, is that they must be repeating themselves. So many of the posters here make comments about previous songs sequences that were played today and the dates reveal they were played in the same order several times before and before that. You mean Bill isn't spinning these 24/ 7 / 365 all by himself strapped to a chair?
normol wrote:
As true today as it was when he wrote it. Corporations and their puppets won't 'Give Peace a Chance' when billions of dollars can be fleeced from taxes of the working class.
All I can say is amen to that. John most definitely spoke up for us if only his voice wasn't silenced in such a hateful act.
steeler wrote:
First you must learn how to smile as you kill, if you want to be like the folks on the hill.
As true today as it was when he wrote it. Corporations and their puppets won't 'Give Peace a Chance' when billions of dollars can be fleeced from taxes of the working class.
KevDog wrote:
This song has always left me cold, probably because it is so accurate.
Yep. The lament of a man born into a working-class background whose estate is now worth over a billion dollars. I feel his pain. PattonFever wrote:
i was just about to write something like this. thank you for beating me to it. a rich person writing a song like this about non-rich people looks like an offer of understanding, to me. it doesn't look like hypocrisy, or whatever.
To me it's not a matter of hypocrisy but that his own experience of growing up in relatively humble circumstances to become fabulously wealthy sort of undermines the whole "don't bother, it's all for nothing" premise of the song.
:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: I wish more people could hear and understand this poinant message. Cheers to John for even singing it!
I love the mood of this song, and respect the courage it took to challenge to the establishment as JL did in this song and in his life, but I am unable to distinguish between anger and cynicism in this song and can't really tell what he meant. The most difficult parts are about the "peasants" (us) and the "hero" (him). Then again, if he laid it all out in a way we didn't have to wonder, it wouldn't draw us in as well in the first place. All I can add is, we really could use his voice in the world today.
Xeric wrote:
To dis Lennon for writing of the working class when he was "a rich rock star" is a complete fallacy. Literature--which some lyrics, and certainly these,are--cannot possbily be restrained by some rule which says the writer must have lived his subject. He need only know it. In fact, he need only get it right--and this is as right as it gets. Great song. Great inspiration to those of who have given up on larger heroism and now hope to find just a bit of it in another day's grind done well. Thanks, John.
i was just about to write something like this. thank you for beating me to it. a rich person writing a song like this about non-rich people looks like an offer of understanding, to me. it doesn't look like hypocrisy, or whatever.
First you must learn how to smile as you kill, if you want to be like the folks on the hill.
Probably my favourite solo John song.
the last 3 songs have had an 8 or above average (all classics) :-)
John. Oh, John. How long has it been now -- 25 years? Unbelievable. I still choke up, especially hearing this song. It is so immediate, so brutally honest, it's like he's right there in the room with you. F*cking brilliant. My choice for the best song ever by anyone, bar none. Can't help myself. Definitely need a rating higher than 10.
So powerfull!! Great Lyrics RIP John! Brings back freshman year at coll 1970 Thanks for the memories :notworthy:
madtowner11 wrote:
This Lennon dude is alright. Is he just a solo artist or has he ever been in a band?
I heard he was once frontman for the Quarrymen, but that's all I know.
What anonymous idiot gave this a One? I am sure it must be someone who has written more songs and is far more famous. It was certainly NOT a working class hero.
This Lennon dude is alright. Is he just a solo artist or has he ever been in a band?
abbefaith wrote:
RP is on a roll today...
I AGREE...EVERY SONG HAS BEEN INSPIRING........
i couldnt agree more.... amazing....
Xeric wrote:
To dis Lennon for writing of the working class when he was "a rich rock star" is a complete fallacy. Literature--which some lyrics, and certainly these,are--cannot possbily be restrained by some rule which says the writer must have lived his subject. He need only know it. In fact, he need only get it right--and this is as right as it gets. Great song. Great inspiration to those of who have given up on larger heroism and now hope to find just a bit of it in another day's grind done well. Thanks, John.
Well stated. I always wanted to live up to this song. My absolute favorite from John. So focused, so stark, so right.
lyrical perfection...... :)
RP is on a roll today...
8)
stickittotheman wrote:
you think he'd been listening to dylan a bit when he wrote this, or is it just me?
Exactly my thoughts.
One of Lennon's best solo pieces. A no-holds-barred anthem from THE creative genius of our time.
Wickster wrote:
Plastic Ono Band album is a masterpiece. Anyone eager to indict Yoko for her impact on John needs to account for the brilliance of this LP. He delves deeply into his private psyche throughout the sequence of songs, and I'm sure the relationship caused some of the reevaluation on his part. The CD is so pale and tinny in sound quality, though. Sounds much better on vinyl.
:nodhead: :nodhead:
you think he'd been listening to dylan a bit when he wrote this, or is it just me?
edechewe wrote:
I haven't heard this song in years. thank you.
Leave it to Radio Paradise.....
To dis Lennon for writing of the working class when he was "a rich rock star" is a complete fallacy. Literature--which some lyrics, and certainly these,are--cannot possbily be restrained by some rule which says the writer must have lived his subject. He need only know it. In fact, he need only get it right--and this is as right as it gets. Great song. Great inspiration to those of us who have given up on larger heroism and now hope to find just a bit of it in another day's grind done well. Thanks, John.
I haven't heard this song in years. thank you.
The funny thing was John was actually from a middle-class family who were pretty well-off by the standards of the day. Then of course he went on to become fabulously wealthy. Given that, it says something about his very special brand of charisma that he could sing about being a Working Class Hero and make it sound authentic. The great lyrics help of course.
kick ass song with kick ass lyrics, as timely this milennium as it was last (or even more so) :) :clap: :) :clap: :D :D :cool: :cool: :hug: :hug: :wave: :notworthy: :notworthy:
rgrace wrote:
OK, good, a fabulously wealthy rock star wrote "You're still f***in peasants as far I can see" which is just classic. Poor John. How DARE you not follow me or listen to me! Sorry, I don't find this truthful, just irritating. Thank you John, but I try hard to think for myself. If that makes me a peasant, fine.
"Was it a millionaire who said 'Imagine no possessions'?" -- Elvis Costello
THanks for playing this song, its one of my favorite lennon songs!
Originally Posted by eric: Thank you for playing this instead of the Marianne Faithful version (which make me want to puke).
The Tin Machine version would be nice to hear. While Lennon's "spitting" vocals are as scathing as you can get (which make his original the best), Tin Machine took the music in a harder-edged direction.
OK, good, a fabulously wealthy rock star wrote \"You\'re still f***in peasants as far I can see\" which is just classic. Poor John. How DARE you not follow me or listen to me! Sorry, I don\'t find this truthful, just irritating. Thank you John, but I try hard to think for myself. If that makes me a peasant, fine.
There isn\'t a rating high enough for this.
Brilliant, blinding truth performed ruthlessly.:cool: Would have loved to have heard how he would have continued to evolve.
Thank you for playing this instead of the Marianne Faithful version (which make me want to puke).
....till you\'re so fucking crazy you can\'t follow their rules.
Man, this is great...these lyrics really help get through this crazy days.....
I am not, nor have I ever been a huge fan of the Beatles or John Lennon. I truly liked that song\'s lyrics, as well as how it was captured. Quite plain and unproduced, just like a working class person.
timely :notworthy:
I really like songs with truth. This sounds like Mr.Dylan\'s work.
I love this song. I first heard it when I worked here.
Wow - my very favorite John Lennon song....I remember hearing it for the first time the night he died... Thank you!
Plastic Ono Band album is a masterpiece. Anyone eager to indict Yoko for her impact on John needs to account for the brilliance of this LP. He delves deeply into his private psyche throughout the sequence of songs, and I\'m sure the relationship caused some of the reevaluation on his part. The CD is so pale and tinny in sound quality, though. Sounds much better on vinyl.
And here I thought Marianne Faithful wrote this :eek: :eek: It\'s my first time hearing this version, I\'ll never be the same now. I gave it a 9 on the first time. An unprecedented move for me. Well Bill another job well done. :clap: :clap:
an 11! Lennonlike
Wow. I\'m sure I\'ve NEVER heard this anywhere but from my own turntable/speakers...amazing. :notworthy:
Among the best. Ever. Thanks John.
I have only heard this song on RP. Thanks Bill and Rebecca for exposing me to music and songs I never would have heard otherwise. :cool:
Simple, powerful lyric delivered in a sensational performance. Certain to have inspired many a musician over the years. Hopefully still does.
incredible lyrics from 1970\'s john lennon/plastic ono band
Got as big a bite as ever.
lyrics Thanks for the light, John. Thanks for the upload, Tiz. Thanks for the delivery, Bill. From another fucking peasant.
Great song, first time I\'ve heard it. Workers of the world, unite. :D
Wow! What a fantastic song. Where did this come from?
This song has always left me cold, probably because it is so accurate.