You say you want a revolution, well you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution, well you know
We all want to change the world

But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know you can count me out, in

Don't you know it's gonna be alright
Don't you know it's gonna be alright
Don't you know it's gonna be alright

You say you got a real solution, well you know
We'd all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution, well you know
We're doing what we can

But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you'll have to wait

Don't you know it's gonna be alright
Don't you know it's gonna be alright
Don't you know it's gonna be alright

You say you'll change the constitution, well you know
We'd all love to change your head
You tell me it's the institution, well you know
You better free your mind instead

But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow

Don't you know it's gonna be alright
Don't you know it's gonna be alright
Don't you know it's gonna be alright

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Alright, alright, alright, alright, alright
Alright, alright, alright, alright, alright
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Alright, alright


Lyrics submitted by Ice, edited by UltimateWho, PLaMaduonn, dartisha, tjareth

Revolution 1 Lyrics as written by John Lennon, Paul McCartney

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Revolution 1 song meanings
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54 Comments

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  • +7
    General Comment

    One small error in these lyrics makes such a huge change in the interpretation.

    The line 'Don't you know that you can count me in', should read 'Don't you know that you can count me out'.

    John didn't advocate violence, in fact he also says 'If you want money for people with minds that hate, all I can tell you is buddy you'll have to wait'

    To me it's obvious that he's saying that revolution is fine, but if you advocate violence you'll get no support from me, either morally or financially.

    zenityon December 14, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    In an interview with Tariq Ali, Lennon had this to say:

    Ah, sure, 'Revolution' . There were two versions of that song but the underground left only picked up on the one that said 'count me out'. The original version which ends up on the LP said 'count me in' too; I put in both because I wasn't sure. There was a third version that was just abstract, musique concrete, kind of loops and that, people screaming. I thought I was painting in sound a picture of revolution--but I made a mistake, you know. The mistake was that it was anti-revolution.

    On the version released as a single I said 'when you talk about destruction you can count me out'. I didn't want to get killed. I didn't really know that much about the Maoists, but I just knew that they seemed to be so few and yet they painted themselves green and stood in front of the police waiting to get picked off. I just thought it was unsubtle, you know. I thought the original Communist revolutionaries coordinated themselves a bit better and didn't go around shouting about it. That was how I felt--I was really asking a question. As someone from the working class I was always interested in Russia and China and everything that related to the working class, even though I was playing the capitalist game.

    At one time I was so much involved in the religious bullshit that I used to go around calling myself a Christian Communist, but as Janov says, religion is legalised madness. It was therapy that stripped away all that and made me feel my own pain."

    A.I.on December 10, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    God I hate this song. It sounds so smug and self-satisfied, like a plea for complacency about the status quo by rich people who want to keep their power. I think that Muhammed Ali has a good response to something like this:

    “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

    epiwooshon January 21, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I like both the Revolution on the White Album and the single version. I find it interesting that they could take such a fast song and turn it into a slower rock 'n roll version.

    SgtPepperLHCBon April 30, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I dig both versions, but my preference is for the single. The slower version is great, and the riff sounds a lot more distorted, but it lacks the urgency of the single.

    ButtOfMalmseyon May 07, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    This song is all about communism, china's comunist revolution to be more exact.here are a few lines to back my theory up.

    "But when you talk about destruction" communist had no problem with war at all and were willing to goto war to spread their way of government (viet nam and korea experienced this first hand)

    "You say you got a real solution Well, you know We’d all love to see the plan." This is pretty strait forward. The communist claimed to have a solution to the worlds problems. And the second part sounds as if john wanted them to show him HOW! they intend on doing it.

    "You ask me for a contribution, Well, you know We’re doing what we can. Ut if you want money for people with minds that hate, All I can tell you is brother you have to wait." Cant state that this is in fact waht the song means, but the reason why china went comunist is because when sun yixian wanted to establish a democracy in china he asked the west for financial support and everyone blew him off, thus dissolusioning him to democracy so thus the country adventualy ended up communist. Or it could have somthing to do with china getting financial support from the U.S.S.R.

    "You say you’ll change a constitution" The communist made their own constitution.

    "You tell me it’s the institution" The communist used institution as their scapegoat.

    and last but not least the one verse that backs up my theory the most is "But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao, You ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow." Chairman Mao was the communist leader of china for a very long time and people worshiped him. They carried his picture, carried his book of quotes, recited his book of quotes, and many communist chinese would die for chairman Mao. So John is basicaly saying that if your a communist (carrying pictures of Chairman Mao Zedong) you are not going to make many friend.

    twilight_samon May 25, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    This was John talking about how his ideologies from the peace and love days were just a lot of B.S. and he was changing his thinking to become more conventional if you can believe that. "Count me out,in" Peace.

    FritzTon November 30, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I am surprised there is even slight disagreement on this. John is clearly saying he is totally up for revolution and changing the world, BUT he is not down with the poseurs who claim to be revolutionaries and, who in fact make up the large majority of any revolutionary movement. If your desire for revolution revolves around a phony baloney philosophy that you can’t articulate and thus can’t possibly work in the real world or even draw one supporter, then, no, you can count John out. If your level of commitment starts and ends with carrying a picture of Chairman Mao, who himself never seemed to make much sense or have any particular plan once he achieved power, then, no, thst’s not the kind of revolution John was seeking. If your plans just really need an influx of cash to gain critical mass or if you are really just an angry guy interested in busting shit up, than, yeah, count John out please. If and only if you are ready to go all in on changing the world in a fundamentally positive way, do you have permission to approach John with it. Otherwise, move along.

    Kobrakai7272on April 03, 2019   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This has the best intro riff of any song, ever. (IMO) I prefer the single version.

    infidelon April 10, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    That is, unless it's the more folksy "shoobie-doop" version...

    pkjunon April 15, 2002   Link

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