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Beatles Christmas Song Battle – Readers’ Poll

John Lennon, Paul McCartney
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Paul McCartney and John Lennon have been pitted against each other in the press many times since the Beatles split up, and even though it’s not really in the holiday spirit, we’re going to do it again with a very special holiday-themed Christmas song readers’ poll.

That’s right, we’re asking you to choose between their two very different solo Christmas classics: McCartney’s carefree 1979 single ‘Wonderful Christmastime’ and Lennon’s considerably more somber ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ from 1971.

If you believe the over-simplified notion that John was the more serious, pessimistic Beatle and McCartney the eager-to-please entertainer — what with the former adding  “… it can’t get no worse” to the end of the latter’s ‘Getting Better’ chorus and all — the contrast between the production style and lyrical messages of these two songs is most likely one of your favorite case studies.

After all, Lennon is the one connecting thoughts of war and the wounded to his holiday greetings, and challenging people to take action (“So this is Christmas / And what have you done?”). Meanwhile, McCartney seems more interested in gathering his loved ones around the fireplace and forgetting outside troubles: “We’re here tonight / And that’s enough / Simply haaaaaving / A wonderful Christmastime.”

Some people also critique McCartney’s yuletide ode for it’s extremely poppy and synthetic production, and Lennon’s more organic, textured number certainly stands on the other side of the spectrum in that regard. Of course, both tracks feature melodies that are nearly impossible to get out of your head, as you’d expect from two of the most accomplished songwriters in rock history.

So which former Beatles Christmas song gets the gift of your vote?

Listen to Paul McCartney’s ‘Wonderful Christmastime’

Listen to John Lennon’s ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’

Next: Great Rock Debate: 'Wonderful Christmastime'

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