What’s Been Covered More? John Lennon’s ‘Happy Xmas’ Vs. Paul McCartney’s ‘Wonderful Christmastime’


John Lennon and Paul McCartney were the brains behind some of The Beatles‘ biggest songs. Both friends were creative and talented songwriters, growing together while their music careers took off alongside. Even after The Beatles split, John and Paul continued to thrive in their singing careers, including making some of the all-time Christmas classics.

After The Beatles disbanded, John Lennon wrote “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” with his partner Yoko Ono and released it in 1971. It was not just a Christmas song; it also had some political meaning regarding social unity. While Paul on the other hand released “Wonderful Christmastime” in 1979 as a bonus track following the Wings’ final album Back to the Egg. The song peaked at number 6 on the UK Singles chart in January 1980. 


‘Happy Xmas’ vs ‘Wonderful Christmastime’


John and Paul’s Christmas songs still resonate with listeners today. Both songs have made such a great impact that they have remakes and covers from celebrity artists. Paul’s “Wonderful Christmastime” has been covered more than “Happy Xmas (War is Over)”— according to the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), “Wonderful Christmastime” has been covered 50 times. In contrast, John’s “Happy Xmas” has been covered by 42 artists, including Neil Diamond and Vanessa Carlton.


RELATED: Why John Lennon’s Girlfriend Called Ringo Starr’s Bedroom The “Den Of Darkness”

Also, the Harlem Community Choir’s version of “Happy Xmas” peaked at number 42 on the January 2019’s Billboard Singles chart. However, despite Paul beating John to it on the number of remakes, John has the edge on Spotify streams with a total of 416.8 million as of December 18, 2022, against “Wonderful Christmastime’s” 316 million streams.

LET IT BE, Paul McCartney, 1970

John Lennon And Paul McCartney Competed As Friends

John and Paul had much in common, musically and personally, which helped them bond better. The duo had similar backgrounds— both lost their mothers when they were younger. They wrote and played together, shared ideas, and bonded even before The Beatles came to life, but this did not stop them from competing with each other.

WINGS, Paul McCartney, circa 1976.

Both icons strove to write better hits than the other for The Beatles. While Harrison and Starr get a lot of credit for the fab four’s success, John and Paul were the creative driving forces and the engines that kept The Beatles’ music moving.

“John and Paul had always been competitive,” John’s ex-wife Cynthia Powell commented on their friendship in the 2005 memoir, John. “Although the other band members— and the audience, knew that John was the group’s leader, Paul wanted to be involved in all the decisions, whether they were about which venue to play or which songs to use.”


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