Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Imagine by John Lennon

Imagine, by John Lennon, is the opening track on the album of the same name. It was released in 1971.  When asked about the song in one of his last interviews, Mr. Lennon declared "Imagine" to be as good as anything he had written with The Beatles. Rolling Stone ranked Imagine as the third greatest song of all time.

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."

Of course, such a world is one of idealism, an abstraction, far from today's reality. The hard-core realists, the real-politicos, and the pragmatists all find this message of peace laughable and impracticable. And they they say so in no uncertain terms, smug in their understanding of the "real world." It may be so, but at least the message is positive, hopeful and full of dignity.

In Mr. Lennon's despair and melancholy, we sense and understanding of the obstacles of ever achieving such a world. The pathos is palpable, and in the song's dreamlike imaginings, we share that hope, that possibility of a world in peace. Such explains why the song resonates with millions of people, even today. They yearn for peace.

And why shouldn't they? Should they accept the status quo? The message is significant. This is far different than positive thinking and the other false feel-good messages of today.

By John Lennon

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...

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 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

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 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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