How a song is born: Imagine

It is 1971. The Beatles have already broken up a year before, by mutual agreement, on the proposal of John Lennon who from 1967 to 1968 embarked on a new path of expressive research with Yoko Ono, with often disconcerting results. And here, unexpectedly, comes the album Imagine, with which Lennon proves to have found himself again: it is surprising that after having proclaimed that he wanted to beat the avant-garde and experimentation roads, Lennon gave birth to a song built on a very simple chord sequence in Cmajor.

Lennon composed Imagine on a Steinway piano in his bedroom in Tittenhurst Park, his Tudor-style residence in Ascot, Berkshire, England. Yoko Ono was there when John wrote the melody, chords and almost all the words of the lyrics, almost completing the piece, a soft rock-style ballad, in one writing session.

Lennon claimed that the passage was “anti-religious, anti-nationalist, anti-conventional and anti-capitalist, and is accepted only because it is covered in sugar.” Yoko Ono said that Imagine’s message could be summed up in the words “we are all one world, one country, one people“. Over time, Imagine turned out to be a song-manifesto, capable of summarizing the utopia of an entire generation with admirable clarity. Lennon admits that the text was inspired by both Yoko’s poems and a prayer book he was given. «The concept of positive prayer … If you can” imagine “a world at peace, without discrimination dictated by religion – not without religion, but without that attitude” my God-is-greater-than-your-God “, then it can come true … » (John Lennon, December 1980)

The fundamental concept the song is about, is that if we all imagine a better world, it will be easier to achieve a better future. When Lennon was killed, in 1980, he had left the scene for five years, trying to live like a normal New York citizen, going out on the street without a bodyguard, chatting with the people of the neighborhood, no longer forced to flee the siege of fans, enough to stop in the middle of the street to sign an autograph to Mark Chapman, the man who would later shoot him. Violent death delivered John Lennon to the icon he believed he had managed to break.

But still today he sings, clearly and quietly, without the need to reinforce the message with rhythmic scans and electric clangs, that there is no struggle for peace without denouncing the social order and religious hypocrisy in particular. «First of all you have to think about flying, then you have to fly. Conceiving the idea is the first move.» Utopia, the strength of the Dream, the imagination that does not need to go to Power because it is stronger without Power … liberation from need, greed and hunger, universal brotherhood, sharing of world. In these times of war, such messages are really needed!