Thursday, 7 July 2011

Imagine - John Lennon (1971)

"Imagine" was the masterpiece written and performed by the English musician John Lennon. It is the opening track on his album Imagine, released in 1971. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked "Imagine" at No3 in its list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time."
"Imagine" was issued as a single a month after the album in the United States, catalogue Apple 1840, and peaked at No3 on the Billboard Hot 100. It reached number one in Canada on the RPM national singles chart, remaining there for two weeks and was Lennon's only solo Australian number one single, spending five weeks there. When asked about the song in one of his last interviews, Lennon declared "Imagine" to be as good as anything he had written with The Beatles. The song is one of three Lennon solo songs, along with "Instant Karma" and "Give Peace a Chance", in The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's 500 songs that shaped Rock & Roll.Rolling Stone ranked "Imagine" the third greatest song of all time in their editorial The 500 Greatest Songs of all Time.

The song's central theme was inspired by Cloud Piece, a three-line instructional poem that appeared in Yoko Ono's 1964 book Grapefruit. The words were reproduced on the back cover of the Imagine album. Similarly, in 1963 Lennon opened the Beatles song "I'll Get You" with the verse "Imagine I'm in love with you, it's easy 'cause I know", three years before meeting Ono.

In a 1980 interview with David Sheff for Playboy magazine, Lennon remarks on the message of "Imagine":

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 asking, "can you imagine a world without countries or religions?" It's the same message over and over. And it's positive."
Ono indicated 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." In addition, the content of "Imagine" was inspiration for the concept of Nutopia: The Country of Peace, created in 1973. Lennon included a symbolically mute "anthem" to this country on his album Mind Games. Also, inspiration for Yoko's Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland came from words in the second verse:Imagine all the people living life in peace.

In the book Lennon in America, by Geoffrey Guiliano, Lennon commented that Imagine was an "anti - religious, anti - nationalsitic, anti - conventional, anti - capitalistic [song], but because it's sugar-coated, it's accepted."

"Imagine" was released as a single in the United Kingdom in 1975 in conjunction with the album Shaved Fish, where it peaked at number six on the UK Singles Chart. Following Lennon's murder in 1980, the single re-entered the UK chart and was number one for four weeks in January 1981. "Imagine" was re-released as a single in the UK in 1988, peaking at number 45, and again in 1999, reaching number three.

"Imagine" was the sole John Lennon track included in a promotional-only various artists compilation album issued by Capitol records entitledThe Greatest Music Ever Sold, catalogue Capitol SPRO-8511/8512. Distributed to record stores during the 1976 Holiday season, it was part of Capitol's "Greatest Music Ever Sold" campaign promoting 15 "Best Of" albums released by the record label. The song was also included on a six-disc boxed set commemorating Capitol Records' sixtieth anniversary that was issued in 2002. Imagine, along with the entire John Lennon catalogue, was remastered and re-issued in 2010, to celebrate what would have been his 70th year.

Single by John Lennon
from the album Imagine
B-side"It's So Hard" (US)
'"Working Class Hero" (UK)
Released11 October 1971 (US)
24 October 1975 (UK)
Format7" vinyl, 12" vinyl
Writer(s)John Lennon
ProducerJohn Lennon, Yoko Ono, Phil Spector
John Lennon singles chronology
"Power to the People"
"Imagine"/"It's so Hard"
(US, 1971)
"Happy xmas (War is Over)"/"Listen, the Snow is Falling"

"Stand By Me"

"Imagine"/"Working Class Hero"
(UK, 1975)

"(Just Like) Starting Over"
Imagine track listing
"Crippled Inside"

No comments:

Post a Comment