"Imagine" is a utopian song performed by John Lennon, which appears on his 1971 album, Imagine. Although originally credited solely to Lennon, in recent years Yoko Ono's contribution to the song has become more widely acknowledged. The song was produced by Phil Spector.
"Imagine" is widely considered as one of the greatest songs of all time. 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."
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."
The following is a quote by John Lennon on the message of "Imagine", interviewed by David Sheff for Playboy magazine in 1980:
Sheff: On a new album, you close with "Hard Times Are Over (For a While)". Why?
Lennon: It's not a new message: "Give Peace a Chance" — we're not being unreasonable, just saying, "Give it a chance." With "Imagine," we're saying, "Can you imagine a world without countries or religions?" It's the same message over and over. And it's positive.
Yoko Ono said that the lyrical content of "Imagine" was " just what John believed — that we are all one country, one world, one people. He wanted to get that idea out."
Thank you John & Yoko and thank you to Maynard of "A Perfect Circle" who revived this great song for our modern age, and the genius-inspired video you produced to showcase it's true meaning. I think if John were alive today, he would truly approve of the message portrayed in Maynard's video of his song. (View the interview with Maynard about the making of the "Imagine" video)