Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lennon Song: Imagine

This post-Beatles song by John Lennon has many interesting facts associated with its long history. It was recorded on June 23, 1971 and released on Imagine on September 9, 1971 in the U.S. and on October 8, 1971 in the UK. Its origin is in dispute. Some have claimed that Lennon's use of the word "Imagine" in "I'll Get You" spurred the composition. Others say that the word "imagine" appeared frequently in Yoko's poetry (her book Grapefruit). It is the A Side to "It's So Hard."

Lennon acknowledged that the song was intended to criticize capitalism, religion, and nationalism. Despite it's verse on imagining "no heaven," the song transcended any original criticism of the song and has become Lennon's unofficial anthem and is widely played all around the world and is considered an anthem, above all, for peace. The song was also the inspiration for Lennon's imaginary country of peace--Nutopia--where anyone could claim citizenship regardless of where he or she lived.

Besides the controversy over the song's sentiment about religion, it has been criticized frequently for advocating the abandonment of possessions even though its author was worth over a hundred million dollars. Lennon responded by saying that he was advocating an abandonment of mental possessions and outmoded ways of thinking. This criticism seems overtly trivial since Lennon was obviously making a philosophical statement and merely suggesting that people try to envision a world with different values.

Lennon's opening piano chords have become famous and recognizable in hundreds of cultures. The song was produced on the Apple label by Phil Spector, with suggestions from Yoko Ono.

Several dozen artists have covered the song since it was first recorded. Among the many are Ray Charles, Joan Baez, Diana Ross, Jefferson Starship, Dolly Parton, Blues Traveler, and Avril Lavigne. The song is frequently featured in movies and television shows.

The word "Imagine" is written in the middle of the Strawberry Fields monument in Central Park in New York City, about a hundred yards from the Dakota Building, where John and Yoko lived at the time of his death.

The promotional video made for this song in the early 1970s shows John and Yoko, dressed in white, in an all-white room as John plays a white piano while Yoko opens one window shudder at a time, allowing more and more light into the room to symbolize the dawn of hope.

Rolling Stone named the song as #3 on its all-time list of greatest songs.

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