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John Lennon

Album Imagine

Story of Song

“Anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional, anti-capitalistic, but because it is sugarcoated it is accepted. Now I understand what you have to do. Put your political message across with a little honey” Lennon explained the meaning behind his hit.  According to The Guardian, early versions of the song’s refrain can be found in Yoko Ono’s 1965 book Grapefruit, where she penned lines such as, “imagine a raindrop” and “imagine the clouds dripping; the song’s refrain may have been partly inspired by her poetry in reaction to her childhood in Japan during World War II. In an open letter to Paul McCartney published in Melody Maker, Lennon said that “Imagine” was “Working Class Hero” with sugar on it for conservatives like yourself.

Release date

Released on October 11, 1971


John Lennon



Chart Rankings

US – 3

UK – 1


The best selling single of John Lennon’s career. “Imagine” entered Billboard’s Hot Top 100 chart at number 20, three weeks later the song peak at number 3 for 2 weeks and it stayed in the chart for 9 weeks. It sold over 1,640,000 in the UK alone, as well as receiving the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

Former US 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 2002, a UK survey conducted by the Guinness World Records British Hit Singles Book ranked it the second best single of all time, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen was number 1.

Recently, German pianist David Martello performed an instrumental version of ‘Imagine’ in the street in Paris, in front of the Bataclan, where dozens of concertgoers had been shot dead the night before; to honor the victims of the Paris attacks.  Rolling Stone described it as Lennon’s “Greatest musical gift to the world”

Artist’s age on release date

Lennon was 31 years of age.

Cover Versions

Sir Elton John performed it in his concerts – Queen – Patti LaBelle – Ratau Mike Makhalemele – Liza Minnelli – Stevie Wonder – Neil Young – Madonna – Peter Gabriel – Taio Cruz – CeeLo Green – Train – Lady Gaga – Emeli Sande – Hancock (with Arie) – Kristina Train – Greg Phillinganes. More than 160 artists covered ‘Imagine’.

Added by Slate

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