A very rare and collectable limited edition is being made available by Yoko Ono and Sean Ono Lennon of 50 12-inch vinyl acetates of John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s festive staple “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” (with the Plastic Ono Band and The Harlem Commmunity Choir). It will be released on December 5 to mark the 50th anniversary of the original recording and release in 1971.
The first 25 acetates will be given to hand-picked music charities and non-profit and grassroots organizations who do great work across the UK music scene. They range from venues and music education programmes to initiatives that promote gender equality, music therapy and more. Yoko and Sean Ono Lennon have gifted these specially-produced discs to enable each of the organizations to sell or auction them to assist their own funding.
The other 25 acetates will be available at select record shops across the UK, in cities including Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, Dundee, Belfast, London, and others. The launch of the limited edition will take place at Tim Burgess’ Vinyl Adventures Record Fair in Manchester on December 5. One acetate will be available at his stall.
In a note that accompanies each record, Sean Ono Lennon says: “Happy Xmas. This is one of only fifty Limited Edition acetates hand-cut at Abbey Road, it’s yours – to sell, auction, raise money to help your business or your favorite charity or to fund your Xmas party – to spread Xmas cheer.
“We’d love to see the journey these acetates take, and the goodwill that they spread,” he goes on. “Please use the hashtag #HappyXmasVinyl and we’ll retweet and share their progress on Social Media to help promote the good causes and good vibes.”
The 50 one-sided 12” acetates were hand-cut on the lathe at Abbey Road Studios by mastering engineer Alex Wharton. They have been created using the 2020 “Ultimate Mix” of the song, produced by Sean Ono Lennon, mixed by Paul Hicks, and executive produced by Yoko Ono. Each edition is stickered and numbered out of 50 and includes a machine-printed signature from Yoko.
Originally released in the US in December 1971 and a year later in the UK, “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” has become a fixture of the holiday season, with its chorus of “War is over (if you want it)” continuing to resonate around the world. The single reappears in the UK singles chart every year, and has returned to the UK Top 20 in two of the last three years, peaking at No.19 around Christmas 2020.
Buy or stream “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” on the 2020 John Lennon compilation GIMME SOME TRUTH. The Ultimate Mixes.