Imagine (6:19)

Cover of Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon

From Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon and 74 other releases

“Imagine” is a song by John Lennon, which appears on his 1971 album, Imagine. It was released as a single in the same year, and reached number three in the U.S. Billboard charts, and number six in the United Kingdom.

In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine voted “Imagine” the third greatest song of all time. Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter said, “In many countries around the world — my wife and I have visited about 125 countries — you hear John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’ used almost equally with national anthems.”

In the book Lennon in America, written by Geoffrey Giuliano, Lennon commented that the song was “an anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional, anti-capitalistic song, but because it’s sugar-coated, it’s accepted.” Lennon also commented, it’s “virtually the Communist Manifesto, even though I am not particularly a communist and I do not belong to any movement.”

The lyrics were thought to be inspired by Lennon’s hopes for a more peaceful world, though their origins are not known for certain. In 1963 Lennon penned the lyrics to “I’ll Get You” with an opening verse of, “Imagine I’m in love with you, it’s easy cause I know.” The first verse of “Imagine” would seem to be a reworking of this. But the song’s refrain may have been partly inspired by Yoko Ono’s poetry, in reaction to her childhood in Japan during World War II. According to The Guardian, primordial versions of the song’s refrain can be found in her 1965 book Grapefruit, where she penned lines such as, “imagine a raindrop” and “imagine the clouds dripping.

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