A slogan frequently heard in the 1960s and early 1970s. Calls for the shifting of economic and political power from the hands of the Man to other, traditionally disenfranchised, social classes. Last heard proclaimed without any sense of self-consciousness or irony whatsoever in the single "Fight The Power" by rap group Public Enemy.

In "Power To The People", John Lennon revisits the subject of his Beatles song "Revolution." Lennon wrote this song the day after meeting with Tariq Ali and Robin Blackburn of the leftist magazine Red Mole in January 1971, and by this time his pacifism had weakened and he was converted to the socialist cause.

Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people, right on

Say we want a revolution
We better get on right away
Well you get on your feet
And into the street

Singing power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people, right on

The song continues with verses on socialism and feminism, the latter of which was the (positive) effect of Yoko Ono's influence on Lennon. The song also includes excellent saxophone played by Bobby Keyes, and was produced by Phil Spector, who recruited a gospel choir and multitracked stamping feet to give the song the right sound.

In one of his typical changes of opinion, Lennon later turned away from revolution and back towards pacifism. He referred to "Power To The People" as "a guilt song" and "shit," but it remains a powerful statement and is among Lennon's best political songs, along with "Working Class Hero" and "Revolution."

I'll end with a quote from Paul Du Noyer's book John Lennon: Whatever Gets You Through the Night. "The slogan was an old one, but John's adoption of ‘Power To The People’ would propel the phrase into everyday use. Within a few years, it would be claimed not just by socialists, but by virtually everyone from right-wing conservatives to advertising copy writers. In short, it would become meaningless."

CST Approved

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