MIND GAMES. John Lennon and The Plastic U.F.Ono Band.

Listen to the brand new 2020 Ultimate Remix of 'Mind Games' and discover the story behind the song in the words of John Lennon.


Listen to the new 2020 Ultimate Mix of


John Lennon and The Plastic U.F.Ono Band

Available on:



We’re playing those mind games together
Pushing the barriers planting seeds
Playing the mind guerrilla
Chanting the mantra ‘Peace on Earth’

We all been playing those mind games forever
Some kinda druid dudes lifting the veil
Doing the mind guerrilla
Some call it magick – the search for the grail

Love is the answer and you know that for sure
Love is a flower you got to let it
You got to let it grow

So keep on playing those mind games together
Faith in the future outta the now
You just can’t beat on those mind guerillas
Absolute elsewhere in the stones of your mind

Yeah we’re playing those mind games forever
Projecting our images in space and in time

Yes is the answer and you know that for sure
Yes is surrender you got to let it
You got to let it go

So keep on playing those mind games together
Doing the ritual dance in the sun
Millions of mind guerillas
Putting their soul power to the karmic wheel

Keep on playing those mind games forever
Raising the spirit of peace and love


I want you to make love not war
I know you’ve heard it before

A good song, ‘Mind Games’. It was originally called ‘Make Love Not War’. It was such a cliché that you could not say it any more. So I wrote it in ‘mind guerillas’ and ‘mind games’. It’s all the same stuff and same story as ‘Imagine’ or anything else. It’s a nice track. I always liked the sound of the track.

How many times can you say the same thing over and over? When this came out, in the early Seventies, everybody was starting to say the Sixties was a joke, it didn’t mean anything, those love-and-peaceniks were idiots, [sarcastically], ‘We all have to face the reality of being nasty human beings who are born evil and everything’s gonna be lousy and rotten so boo-hoo-hoo…’

‘We had fun in the Sixties’, they said, ‘but the others took it away from us and spoiled it all for us.’ And I was trying to say, ‘No, just keep doing it!’

Mind Games master multitrack tape box, 1973

That was a fun track because the voice is in stereo and the seeming orchestra on it is just me playing three notes with slide guitar. And the middle eight is reggae. Trying again to explain to American musicians what reggae was in 1973 was pretty hard, but it’s basically a reggae middle- eight if you listen to it.

Trying to possess it makes it go away. Trying to possess somebody makes them go away. Every time you put your finger on it, it slips away. Every time you turn the microscope’s light on, the thing changes so you can never see what it is. As soon as you ask the question, it goes away. Peripheral vision is what it is. There’s no looking directly at it. Try to look at the sun. You go blind, right? Now that doesn’t mean you don’t have to work on it. Love is a flower, you gotta to let it grow.

Photocollage artworks created by John for the back and front covers of the Mind Games album, and the original polaroid of the image of John in front of a US Army recruitment poster at the airport, used as the cutout on the covers.

The Mind Games cover is like a prediction. There is Yoko lying down like that and there is me walking away with the suitcase when we split. So it’s apparent in the Mind Games period although it wasn’t apparent on a conscious level. I made these by hand. I planned it to be like a movement, as two frames from the movie.

You can hear the lyrics in Mind Games. I was just so confused and the song itself, ‘Mind Games’ ain’t so bad. The album is rock at different speeds. It’s not a political album, or an introspective album. Someone told me it was like Imagine with balls, which I liked a lot. I’ve used New York musicians, apart from Jim Keltner on drums. There’s no deep message about it.

I very rarely consciously sit down and write a song with a deep message. Usually, whatever lyrics I write are about what I’ve been thinking over the past few months. I tend not to want to change an idea once it’s in my mind, even if I feel differently about it later.

We have been apart more than people think, for odd periods over the years, and now I know people are calling from England suggesting we’ve split up. It’s not so. The last time that happened was when we spent one night apart at Ascot and somebody started off rumours. All that scares us about being apart is whether something happens to us. Our minds are tied in together and there’s always the telephone, but one of us could have a plane crash or something. We’ve been together five years or more now, but we’ve really been together for more than ten years in most people’s terms. Her output and energy is so much greater than mine that I just let her get on with things.

Mind Games poster, 1973

For the last ten years I’ve said that if I didn’t like something I wouldn’t put it out, but whenever I played the record back I’m thinking of ways to change it and make it better still. It’s good, but you can always do better and that’s why I go on making records.

I was disappointed at the reaction to the last album [Sometime in New York City]. Over here they banned it and made such a fuss about the songs. I know it was political with a capital ‘P’, but that was what I had in my bag at the time and I wasn’t just going to throw them away because they were political. Imagine did pretty well, so after that I wanted to just do one that I felt like.

Get Mind Games and thirty-five more John Lennon tracks on JOHN LENNON. GIMME SOME TRUTH. THE ULTIMATE MIXES – the very best of John Lennon.

Executive Produced by Yoko Ono Lennon and Produced by Sean Ono Lennon, thirty-six much loved John Lennon classics, completely remixed from the original multitracks by Paul Hicks and Sam Gannon using brand new first-generation multitrack transfers, painstakingly restored and sonically upgraded, and then remixed using all the genuine vintage analogue effects at Henson Studios in Los Angeles, and finally mastered in analogue by Alex Wharton at Abbey Road Studios.

The Deluxe Edition includes High Definition 24-96 mixes in stereo, 5.1 and Dolby Atmos. The 4LP Vinyl Box Set includes 4 LPs, all mastered and cut at Abbey Road Studios. Also available: 2LP, 2CD, 1CD, Download and Streaming.