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


https://genius.com/John-lennon-imagine-lyrics


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