Lennon settles in New York and composes new peace anthem

Cover of Happy Xmas (War is Over) with children from the Harlem Community Choir


Having flown to New York at the end of August 1971, lawyers representing Yoko suggest to her that to secure her custody rights for her daughter, Kyoko, she and John must take up permanent residence in the States.

Although he didn’t know it at the time, John would never again return to his native country. John explains: “Yoko and I were forever coming and going to New York, so finally we decided it would be cheaper and more functional to actually live here … so that’s what we did!”

By early December John has written and released his latest peace anthem, Happy Christmas/War is Over); his first record not to appear on the familiar Apple label.

Happy Xmas/War is Over demo is over released in US but legal dispute over credits mean its release is delayed by almost a year in the UK in November 1972.

Yoko teaches children from the Harlem Community Choir the words to new peach anthem, Happy Xmas/War is Over

Yoko teaches children from the Harlem Community Choir the words to new peach anthem, Happy Xmas/War is Over

In a letter on 12 December 1971 to Melody Maker, John writes addressing a reply to Simon and Gill Frith’s letter of December 11 expressing their concern over the Lennons’ involvement in the capitalist system.

On Apple-headed notepaper, the letter reads: “Simon and Gill and MM Readers. ‘Apple was/is a capitalist concern. We brought in a capitalist to prevent it sinking (with The Beatles on board). I personally have had enough of Apple/Ascot and all other properties which tie me down, mentally and physically. I intend to cash in on my chips as soon as I can – and be free.

“’John/Yoko intend to do all performances around the world FREE and/or whatever we’ve earned will go e.g. to prisons to release people who can’t afford bail, etc. – and many other ways of getting money back to the people. This is one way of paying the people back.

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