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Imagine, John Lennon's pacifist anthem turns 50: poetry, utopia, a macho gesture and ... plagiarism? '


The release of his second album gave him his first solo hit and marked a turning point in the beatle's life.

Eduardo Slusarczuk

09/09/2021 12:31 AM

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Updated 09/09/2021 12:31 AM

Exactly 50 years ago,

on September 9, 1971, John Lennon published



In some way, a double release that marked a before and after in the musician's artistic and personal life. 

On the one hand, a song that

over time would become a universal hymn

of those in whose concepts or slogans all - or almost all - would like to believe that we believe, and that singing them with a certain secular anointing makes us feel that we are a little better, even for a little while. That is

why a world without borders, a shared planet without possessions or religions

and with a life in peace. 

On the other, an album, the second of Lennon's soloist harvest, who at the same time that he spread planetary harmony

got to respond in the worst way to his ex-partner Paul McCartney

, with that "the only thing you did was


, and since then you're just one more day "or that

" those freaks were right when they said you were dead "

, and the question of" how do you sleep at night ".

John at the piano, Yoko opening the windows to her private paradise and a song that transcended all limits.

Photo Video Capture

A high-flying disc

Of course the album also included notable pieces like

Gimme Some Truth



, two wonderful ballads like

Oh My Love


Jealous Guy


the rock drive concentrated in the block

It's So Hard


I Don't Wanna Be a Soldier Mamma

, and

Crippled Inside


Oh Yoko!

as complements rather than at the height of the most substantial core of the work.

But it is true that

the power of the three minutes of


, the song, was of such magnitude that, in part, it overshadowed an album that can continue to be listened to with XXI century ears without sounding like badly aged words and melodies.

But it is enough to see the numbers of Spotify, which denounce that the sum of reproductions of the rest of the tracks does not exceed 65% of those accredited by the star song of the album, to understand what we are talking about.

And well earned that it has

that place on the podium of the greatest successes in history


Speaking of views, millions of clicks and all that, Imagine, the song has

382 million views on Spotify

, and the official video for the

song adds up to 228 million on YouTube


Not bad, for the times.

Spotify list.

"Imagine", John Lennon's second solo album

50 years after its publication, it continues to sound in the present tense

The last echo of the rupture and a flip of the page

It is true that


is, to some extent, still a consequence of the outpouring McCartney caused in April 1970, by whitewashing his idea that for him The Beatles were much more past than future.

But it is also true that after the primal scream that Plastic Ono Band meant, the album proposes a look a little beyond the splinters of that outbreak.

That is where the song comes into play, which

transformed into poetry an ideological and political stance

that Lennon had been fuming from the bedridden for peace that he shared with Yoko during their honeymoon, and that he would ratify at the end of 1971 with the publication of

Happy Xmas ( War is Over)


Of course, John also had the need to take some of his songs composed "alone" - well, with quotes - to the top of a chart, as if

to match the advantage that his former road companions had taken


But that shouldn't call into question the honesty of your message.

In 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono gave a transcendental meaning to their honeymoon by demonstrating for peace.

Photo AP Photo

In any case, if Paul had appealed to the hypnotic

Let It Be

to make his spiritual premise public and George had been able to create the captivating

My Sweet Lord

to express his, why not point in the same direction, seeking to offer humanity

a good song to bet on peace


With a little help from Yoko

To carry out his objective, the one who had shown himself as the most rebellious beatle, he used



a book of "instructive" poems

that his wife had published in 1964, in which the idea was to exhort the reader to certain actions through some keywords.

"Imagine the clouds dripping,"

Yoko had written on her

Cloud Piece

; also

"imagine a thousand suns in the sky at the same time"

, in his 

Tunafish Sandwich Piece

; among other suggestions included in the text.

Ideas that Lennon made his own to adapt to his humanistic diatribe

, fit them within an appropriate meter, rhyme them in a catchy way and sing them with an unappealable simplicity.


the delicious contradiction of a multimillionaire man

proposing that we imagine a world without possessions and wondering if we could do it, from a dream room, with a Yoko who opens the windows to a personal paradise that has little and nothing to do with a two. environments in Villa Pueyrredón, even if it does not have debt of ABL and radiant slab do the rest of the magic.

"Imagine", by John Lennon, the Plastic Ono Band and the Flux Fiddlers

The theme of the beatle and Yoko Ono, a planetary anthem for peace, turns 50

The translation of this incongruity in the unconditional love of millions for an artist like John

is no more and no less intriguing than that posed by the devotion of millions of others - or perhaps the same ones - by religious and political leaders who at best cases are debated in that paradox.

At worst, they don't even consider it.

At least

Lennon left us several beautiful songs


The interesting thing, in the beatle, is the recovery of a certain expectation that a year before had been left for dead in the song 



The almost punk plan to believe only in him and Yoko, and thus define reality changed, in


, by

the space that Lennon returned to dream of a better world

as part of a collective.

The dream was not buried, as he had said.

And not only that, but what he allowed himself to dream was that what could be ended was war.

If the others wanted, of course.

Plagiarism, tribute or coincidence?

But if Yoko inspired some of the idea and put his hand into the lyrics of


, the music was entirely on Lennon's account and part, who was

perhaps somewhat influenced by the beautiful and unbeatable melody of


Whiter Shade of Pal



Con tu white pallor

), as Anthony DeCurtis suggests in the internal book of the Box

John Lennon Anthology

, which compiles the different "eras" of the musician.

DeCurtis refers to a short passage in which the musician plays on a certain air that refers

to the hit that Procol Harum published in 1967


The original Imagine manuscript was sketched at the Hilton Hotel in New York in 1971. / Courtesy Riverside.

However, at no point does he mention the single

That's My Life

, which John's dad Freddie Lennon released in 1965 at the expense of "talent manager" Tony Cartwright, who said he saw the potential for stardom in man. His own right, and that he was

in no way trying to get him on the Beatles bandwagon


The latter, unverifiable.

History indicates that

the song was short-lived and nothing on the

playlists, and nothing or even less on the charts.

That's My Life (My Love and My Home)

was horrible and very embarrassing for John, "wrote Cynthia Lennon in her book



Cynthia related there that whoever her husband was at the time was furious at her father's brazen leap into the bandwagon of his own success.


He asked Brian to do everything he could to stop it.

I don't know if Brian did it or not, but the album never made the charts and it was soon gone," he revealed.

For Freddie, on the other hand, there was no doubt who had been responsible for his song, whose beginning refers unfailingly to


, did not appear on the charts.

In fact, his brother Charlie recounted in

Charlie Lennon: Uncle to a Beatle

, that Alfred had gone to visit John in Weybridge, to see why Brian Epstein had done such a thing.

The answer was a slam of the door in his face.

"It broke Freddie's heart, and he immediately quit the music business," Cartwright wrote.

"I'd rather go back to washing pots,"

Alf would have said.


At 50 years, perhaps it is

an act of poetic justice to suppose that John took those chords as part of an inheritance

overpaid with the monthly payment that he sent for years to his father, whom he saw for the last time, what a coincidence, just a year before


came out.

A confession of parties ...

It will hardly happen that someday someone present


as "the song of John Lennon and Yoko Ono".

And it is not necessary, at this point, when what really matters is what

those hopeful verses


replicated in millions and millions of posters, squares, T-shirts, notebooks and profane prayers


However, it is refreshing to remember that in June 2017 the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) announced its intention to

add Yoko Ono as a co-author of



Then-CEO of the association, David Israelite presented the addition as an opportunity to correct a historical oversight that Lennon admitted in 1980, just days before he was assassinated.

"It is a great honor for me to

correct the record 46 years later and recognize Yoko Ono

as co-author of the NMPA Centennial Song and present her this well-deserved credit," Israelite said at the organization's annual meeting in New York. , where Ono was present with his son, Sean Lennon.

Yoko and John, side by side, in the official video for "Imagine".

Photo Video Capture

During the ceremony, Israelite broadcast an interview that Lennon had given for the BBC, in which he reviewed the creative process of the subject. "It

should be credited as a Lennon-Ono song

because a lot of it - the lyrics and the concept - came from Yoko," Lennon said at the time. And he completed: "But in those days

I was a little more selfish, a little more macho 

and I omitted to mention his contribution."

Lennon recognized then that his decision would have been different, had it not been a woman who had contributed to the issue.

"If it had been Bowie, it would have put

'Lennon-Bowie' on,

" he said.

"Although things may have been different in 1971, today I am happy to say that things have changed," added Israelite, declaring the "lawsuit" canceled.

Perhaps as a veiled reparation, in 1972 Lennon signed with Yoko

Woman Is The Nigger Of The World

, a theme that revolves, surely not by chance, around discrimination and the oppression of women without distinction of culture, origin or condition. .

A planetary and digital celebration

Celebrated by

Alejandro Sanz, John Legend, Keith Urban and Angelique Kidjo

during the opening of the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games, in a version dressed for the occasion by Hans Zimmer,


will have

its great global celebration of half a century this September 9.

The celebration includes the screening, starting at 3:30 p.m. in Argentina, of

the film


, directed by John and Yoko and released in 1972


Considered one of the first full-length concept films, it includes all the songs from the album, plus four songs from Yoko's Fly album, and some additional tracks.

Restored under Ono's supervision

, the film was moved to HD in 2018, from the original 16mm tapes and cleaned frame by frame, with the audio completely remixed in 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Atmos by engineer and mixer Paul. Hicks, winner of three Grammy Awards.

The screening of the film "Imagine" will be one of the actions to celebrate the 50 years of the album and the song.

The film will be available for free

thanks to Yoko Ono Lennon, Mercury Studios and collaborators such as The Coda Collection, Hard Rock and the Music Venue Trust.


Tim Burgess

's Twitter Listening Party will

host a simultaneous Listening Party.


on Twitter there will be a posting of phrases, photos and multimedia

provided by Yoko, John's heirs and various musicians, filmmakers and friends who participated in the production of the album and the film, in which fans will be able to join using the hashtags #timstwitterlisteningparty and # IMAGINE50. 

For its part, the city of Liverpool launched the

Liverpool's International Song for Kindness


to find a new contemporary and post-pandemic peace hymn to succeed Lennon's, whose winner will be announced on October 9, coinciding with the co-author of



Look also

Beatles vs.

Rolling Stones: a rift that never existed but is still open

The Beatles recharged: what the new special edition of Let It Be will be like on its 50th anniversary

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2021-09-09

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