Working Class Hero Reborn

39 years on and the song “Working Class Hero” still has meaning, possibly even more so these days. Written by legend John Lennon and made a hit by Marianne Faithfull in 1979 it is a take on the class split of the 1940s and 1950s, and of the 1960s in which John Lennon was famous.

The song appears to tell the story of someone growing up in the working class. Acccording to Lennon in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in December 1970, it is about working class individuals being processed into the middle classes, into the machine. Lennon stated (in that interview) that he hoped that it was a warning to the people.

Ive always loved this song, even though it was banned by the BBC etc because of the odd swear word (taboo in the 70’s!). Now I’m no anarchist, but I don’t believe all I’m told. Lots of deep meaning, food for thought, stuff in the lyrics, including those immortal lines.

“Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV, And you think you’re so clever and classless and free, But you’re still f****g peasants as far as I can see”

Came across a great updated version recently on Youtube, sung by Marianne Faithfull in 2000. Well worth watching! I have included a copy of the lyrics below the clip.

“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 f**g 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 f**g peasants 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.”

Written by:
Richard Hartley

Richard is an avid blogger and the founder of Spanish Highs Sierra Nevada. He is author of the Cicerone Guidebook Walking and Trekking in the Sierra Nevada