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John Lennon's "Imagine" - More Than Just a Song

Released in 1971, amidst radical circumstances, John Lennon’s “Imagine” urges listeners to imagine a world of peace, a world of unity. This song, which can be seen as a polar opposite of a call to arms, is one of the most powerful and inspiring songs of all time. While this song was born during a time of radical politics, Lennon decided to sugar-coat the message in the song. According to him, he did this so that the audience would find the message more acceptable and less radical while also being convinced and having the intended effect. Lennon said, “Now I understand what you have to do. Put your political message across with a little honey. This is what we do… to try to change the apathy of young people.”


“Imagine” is composed in a way that asks the listeners to envision a world without religion, countries, or possessions. Lennon does this to urge people to think of a world where because all this does not exist, there is no need to fight countless unnecessary wars, no generations of blind support, and more. He sings these lines for the sole purpose of urging people to spread love for the sake of love. To imagine a world of peace and love and unity. Lennon calls out to the world to dream with him of such a world, because only then can we have a world free from evil.


While “Imagine” has its own bunch of criticism in the music industry, one of the things that seems contradictory to me is regarding the inspiration for the lyrics. The lyrics to “Imagine” were inspired by John Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono’s book “Grapefruit”. Lennon talked about how Yoko Ono helped him with the lyrics a lot but at the time he was not “man enough” to her have her due credit for it. This seems contradictory to Lennon’s own words where he sings about a world with no possessions but here he is unwilling to share and let go of something that he wants to own.


All in all, John Lennon’s “Imagine” is an extremely powerful and awe-inspiring song that has become an anthem of peace and hope around the world and over time. It is a song full of radical themes but ones that seem acceptable because of the way they are sugar-coated. When talking about “Imagine”, Lennon claimed that it was, “anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional, anti-capitalistic… but because it is sugar-coated, it is accepted.”



Imagine - John Lennon


[Verse 1]

Imagine there's no heaven

It's easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us, only sky

Imagine all the people

Living for today

I


[Verse 2]

Imagine there's no countries

It isn't hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace

You


[Chorus]

You may say I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one

I hope someday you'll join us

And the world will be as one


[Verse 3]

Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world

You

[Chorus]

You may say I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one

I hope someday you'll join us

And the world will live as one



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7 Kommentare


It's interesting that Lennon believes his view was only accepted because it was sugarcoated. It seems to me that particularly on large social issues that are considerable in terms of their impact on people's lives, that is should not matter how softly the argument is made. Rather, its weight, rationale and logic should be the defining parameters for its appraisal. Lennon's observation may thus be indicative of a larger problem that exists within society where sometimes, even what is right is rejected because it does not fit into the general category of what is acceptable

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The idea of such a utopian world seems very nice and sometimes I too wish for a better world. Despite what I think about Lennon himself, I absolutely love your take on this! I think in its own time this was pretty revolutionary

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Sara Arif
Sara Arif
08. Juli 2021

Not trying to be rude but Lennon has hade so so so many issues with his work and image that his composition just seems absurd to me now. I used to listen to Imagine years ago but at this point in life I resent the song as much as I resent Lennon.

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Sara Arif
Sara Arif
08. Juli 2021
Antwort an

Yes absolutely, I see where you're coming from. Like you and I, many people are in the dark about so many things. I'll send you the link to an article where an interviewer discusses this

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safa.imran11
safa.imran11
08. Juli 2021

I've grown up listening to this song, and I have always had conflicting thoughts on it. John Lennon became really influenced by hippy culture in the late 60s and early 70s, and made it his mission to make music that promotes this vague idea of peace.. but before that he was a very violent figure in the music industry, and famous for assaulting people and even women.

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Antwort an

That's horrible, I didn't know of him being violent and known for assaulting people. But same I don't know how I feel about the song either, especially after this.

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