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Mind Games 45

"Mind Games" is a song written and performed by John Lennon, released as a single in 1973 on Apple Records. It was the lead single for the album of the same name. The UK single and album were issued simultaneously on 16 November 1973. In the US it peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 10 on the Cashbox Top 100. In the UK it peaked at No. 26.


This song, which was begun in 1969 was originally titled "Make Love, Not War", a popular anti-war slogan at that time. Another song, "I Promise", contains the melody that would later appear on "Mind Games". The original Lennon demos for "Make Love, Not War" and "I Promise", recorded in 1970, are available on the John Lennon Anthology. Lennon finished writing the song after reading the book Mind Games: The Guide to Inner Space by Robert Masters and Jean Houston (1972). Lennon later encountered Masters in a restaurant and told him, "I am one of your fans. You wrote Mind Games."

This eloquent track evoked lingering hippie sentiments mixed with the evolving mysticism of the early 1970s. In keeping with the original theme, the lyrics advocate unity, love, and a positive outlook. According to Billboard, the song asserts "that positive thoughts are the answer to happiness. The lyric "YES is the answer" is a nod to his wife Yoko Ono's art piece that brought them together originally. The song was recorded as Lennon split with her for his 18-month "lost weekend" with May Pang. Although it did not involve producer Phil Spector, it nonetheless revealed what Lennon had learned from working with him.

Cash Box said that "top flight vocal performance backed by that steady, yet driving, tempo accentuates some great lyrics, all in making for a great song." Record World called it "one of [Lennon's] best songs in the post-Beatle period."


  • John Lennon – vocals, guitar, slide guitar, clavichord
  • David Spinozza – guitar
  • Ken Ascher – Mellotron
  • Gordon Edwards – bass guitar
  • Jim Keltner – drums