«Imagine»: Anniversary of a musical milestone

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«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 …». Hard to imagine a more famous song in the world, a symbol of peace and a song of hope in difficult times. In this article you will find a little more about the album that even made history definitively consolidating the artistic career of John Lennon.

Lennon solo Career

«The Beatles» had broken up in 1970 on terrible terms. John Lennon and Paul McCartney in particular could not even be seen, and were in a legal war over the dissolution of «The Beatles» and their associated companies. That is why, after launching his solo career and in association with his wife Yoko Ono – recognised in 2017 as co-author of «Imagine» – Lennon sought to develop his own style.

After a first album called «John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band», with a slightly more avant-garde sound, Lennon began working in mid-1971 on «Imagine». Unlike the previous project, this one included more sophisticated themes but with a more commercial tinge.

The Tittenhurst Park mansion where the recordings were made

The recordings were made in June and July 1971, at John Lennon’s personal studio in Tittenhurst Park, a Berkshire mansion on the outskirts of London. Later numerous string arrangements were added in New York, which would be the ones that gave the album its characteristic stamp.

The graphic part had luxury collaborators. The cover consists of a photograph of Lennon in sepia tone, taken by none other than Andy Warhol with a Polaroid camera. The back cover photo, on the other hand, was made by Yoko Ono, with another photograph of Lennon but lying down, and a quote from the Japanese artist’s book.

On September 9th, the album has a extraordinary launch in the United States, having to wait another month, until October 8th, to be released in the United Kingdom. The first song, and which gives the album its name, is “Imagine”; a pacifist song that summons to imagine a world without borders, wars or conflicts where universal love prevails among all human beings.

The album’s anti-war imprint had a profound effect on the context of a world traversed by the Cold War and where the Vietnam War was still continuing increasingly unpopular and rejected by young people around the world. «I don’t want to be a soldier», another song from the album, joins this protest against violence. The album also includes references to the love between Lennon and Yoko Ono, to the experiences with primal therapy that the artist had, and even taunts – little disguised – to Paul McCartney, especially in the song «How do you sleep?»

The success

The album definitively consecrated John Lennon as a solo artist and allowed him to detach himself from the influence of «The Beatles». «Imagine» managed to reach number one worldwide, while its namesake song remained at number 3 in the United States and at first place in the United Kingdom. These numbers would pick up even more in 1980, after Lennon’s assassination. The magazine «Rolling Stones» put the album in position 76 within the 500 best albums of all time in 2003.

More importantly, the theme «Imagine» has been, since its launch, a source of inspiration to change the world, proposing a more hopeful vision of Humanity that serves as a guide to imagine – and make – a more just planet with less violence. Because of its simple and universal handwriting, the theme is also widely used to learn English, further promoting understanding between people.

Why don´t you tell us what inspires you of this famous song.

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Gracias a Lucio Maciá por la nota, a Araceli Sabransky por la selección de imágenes, Cecilia Musis por la traducción en Linkedin y a Christian Trappani por la organización.

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