CDs and Music - Just The Good Stuff
Imagine by John Lennon ranked # 76 on Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Albums list.
Imagine is John Lennon's second solo album and is the most popular of his solo works. Recorded and released in 1971, Lennon noted the commercial success of Imagine but pointed out that the content of the album was similar to that of his provocative and challenging 1970 angst-rock release John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. The difference, he said, was that Imagine was "chocolate-coated for public consumption", in reference to the strings so prevalent throughout.
Basic tracks for the album were recorded in his home studio in Tittenhurst Park in England with strings overdubs added in New York. As on his last album, Phil Spector joined Lennon and Yoko Ono as co-producer on Imagine. Extensive footage of the sessions, showing the evolution of some of the songs, was compiled on a video documentary entitled "Gimme Some Truth: The Making of John Lennon's Imagine".
The title track "Imagine" became Lennon's signature tune and remains a powerful plea for world peace. "Jealous Guy", originally composed as "Child Of Nature" during the songwriting sessions in India in 1968 that birthed The Beatles' double-album The Beatles, also has had enduring popularity. Other easy-listening moments on Imagine arise in the form of "Oh My Love" (composed with Ono) and the contemplative "How?"
Imagine also indulges in Lennon's love of rock'n'roll with the philosophical "Crippled Inside" and "It's So Hard", as well as the provocative "Gimme Some Truth", originally heard in the Let It Be sessions, but now with a new bridge. The politically-charged "I Don't Want to Be a Soldier", closes the first half of Imagine in a cacophonic manner.
George Harrison guested on a few of Imagine's tracks, most infamously "How Do You Sleep", Lennon's blunt reaction to Paul McCartney's veiled remarks about Lennon on his then-current album Ram (Early editions of the album included a postcard featuring a photo of Lennon holding a pig in mockery of McCartney's similar pose with a sheep of the cover of Ram). At the other end of the spectrum is "Oh Yoko!", a joyous ode to his wife, complete with a jubilant Bob Dylan-style harmonica solo.
Upon release in the fall of 1971, Imagine was warmly regarded by critics and promptly went to #1 worldwide and became an enduring seller, with the title track reaching #3 in the US and #1 in the UK following Lennon's death. Yet Lennon felt a lingering sense of discomfort over the syrupy strings on Imagine, which he felt compromised the music in order to ensure a hit after the bleak John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. Consequently, although Lennon indeed employed strings on his future songs, he did so sparingly.
- Crippled Inside
- Jealous Guy
- It's So Hard
- I Don't Wanna Be a Soldier Mama, I Don't Wanna Die
- Gimme Some Truth
- Oh My Love
- How Do You Sleep?
- Oh Yoko!
100 Greatest Albums of All Time
Search Our Site For Music, Films, and Books