A line from John Lennon's song "God," recorded as the tenth track on the Plastic Ono Band's first album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, released in 1970. The full lyrics, as written by Lennon, are below. All spelling and capitalization are his.

God is a concept by which we measure our pain
i'll say it again
God is a concept by which we measure our pain

i don't believe in magic
"    "           "        "  i ching
                              bible
                              tarot
                              hitler
                              jesus
                              Kennedy
                              budda
                              mantra
                              gita
                              yoga
                              kings
                              Elvis
                              Dylan
                              Beatles
i just believe in me
and that's reality.
(Yoko and me).

Lennon sang this song quite a bit differently than he wrote it, most notably by adding several more lines after this, as listed below. He also sang "Zimmerman" instead of "Dylan" and reversed the last two written lines. The above, though, is the version published with the CD, and the version exhibited (temporarily, at least) in Lennon's own writing at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

And now a story. I played this song for my girlfriend, who is both a Beatles fan and a religious Jew, partly because I like the unusual structure of it and partly because I was curious about her reaction to Lennon's ideas about belief. She didn't react to Lennon's definition of God, but was a bit depressed by the ending of the song. "That's so sad," she said in a cute, sweet, sad voice. And she's right. It's a sad song.

The dream is over
And what can I say
The dream is over
Yesterday

I was the dream weaver
But now I'm reborn
I was the walrus
But now I'm John
And so, dear friends
You'll just have to carry on

The dream is over


LaylaLeigh suggests that Lennon, in a typical contradiction (see "Revolution" and "Power to the People"), did believe the things that he says he doesn't here and that he wrote the song primarily to provoke a reaction. Lennon did later regain faith in some of these things, including tarot, yoga, and mantra. In fact, Lennon frequently wrote songs based on his opinions of the moment, and then disagreed with them months later. The central statement of this song, though, is a statement that is not about religion, but about fame. As in "Working Class Hero," Lennon rejects his success ("i don't believe in Beatles") in favor of his individualism ("i just believe in me") and his love for Yoko ("Yoko and me"), because, as he thought at the time at least, this is all that is real anyway ("and that's reality").

mr100percent notes that Ferris Bueller said "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me" as a Lennon quote in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. There is an extended version of this movie quote at the Ferris Bueller node. And sfc adds that this song was a commentary on the Sixties too. John Lennon singing "The dream is over" was not something most hippies wanted to hear.

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