Working Class Hero


"Working Class Hero" is a song from John Lennon's first post-Beatles solo album, 1970's John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.

The song is a take on the class split of the 1940s and 1950s, and of the 1960s in which he was famous. The song appears to tell the story of someone growing up in the working class of capitalism. According to Lennon in an interview with Jann S. Wenner of Rolling Stone magazine in December 1970, it is about working class individuals being processed into the middle classes, into the machine.

In 1973, U.S. Representative Harley Orrin Staggers heard the song–which features the line "But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see"–on WGTB and lodged a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The manager of the station, Ken Sleeman, faced a year in prison and a $10,000 fine, but defended his decision to play the song saying, "The People of Washington [D.C.] are sophisticated enough to accept the occasional four-letter word in context, and not become sexually aroused, offended, or upset." The charges were dropped. Other U.S. radio stations, like Boston's WBCN, banned the song for its use of the word "fucking". In Australia, the album was released with the expletive removed from the song, with the lyrics censored on the inner sleeve.

As soon as your 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 peasents 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.


John Lennon, ''Working Class Hero'' 

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