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Recognising the accessibility and popular appeal that made his 1971 single " Imagine " a commercial success compared to the other songs he had released up to that point, Lennon concluded, "Now I understand what you have to do: Put your political message across with a little honey." [12] He conceived "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" as a means of elaborating upon the themes of social unity and peaceful change enacted through personal accountability and empowerment that served as the basis of the earlier billboard campaign, [13] [14] [15] trying to convey optimism while avoiding the sentimentality that he felt often characterised music of the holiday season. [16] [17] [18] Lennon was the first among the former Beatles to release an original Christmas song after the group disbanded in 1970. "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" would be followed by George Harrison 's " Ding Dong, Ding Dong " (1974), Paul McCartney 's " Wonderful Christmastime " (1979) and Ringo Starr 's album I Wanna Be Santa Claus (1999). From 1963 to 1969, the Beatles issued special recordings at Christmas directly to members of their fan club. [19]


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