John Lennon's "Imagine" Lyrics Meaning - Song Meanings and Facts (2022)

As the title implies,“Imagine”is a song where John Lennon challenges listeners to do some creative thinking.He paints a general yet vivid picture of what exactly he wants them to visualize.The song centers around a fictitious world where many of the barriers that define social reality are nonexistent. For instance, Lennon sees a society where peopleare not compartmentalizedbased on their religion.Also, material wealth is virtually a non factor in this realm.

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Perhaps the even-greater meaning of“Imagine”is a call issued by Lennon that we as human beings should put aside all differences and unify.As such it is well-liked by proponents of globalism.It is also embraced by thosewho perceiveunity as the path to peace.

VERSE 1

Imaginebegins with Lennon entreating the audience to do away with one of the most-basic religious concepts many of us have grown up with – that of heaven and hell.Then the track guides us down the path of imaging a world with no national boundaries.

He associates “countries” with the idea of having something “to kill or die for”, which was likely a direct reference to the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War was ongoing at the time“Imagine”was written and released.Lennon himself was avery-strong and outspokenopponent to this conflict.In factthe songhas become a synonymous piece of memorabilia associated with the anti-war movement of the 1960s and 70s.

Lennon then specifically states that the world he is singing about has“no religion”.In addition to nation-states, he has also identified such belief systems as causes of derision.Thus he concludes that without these factors people would have a better opportunity to ‘live in peace’.

CHORUS

In the chorus, Lennon acknowledges that the place he is describing is fantastic, as it doesn’t exist in the real world.However, he is not the only person envisioning such a state of existence. In fact he hopes the listeners themselves would embrace these ideas.Through doing so,he thinks the world stands a better chance of achieving unity and peace.

VERSE 2

In the second verse, Lennon adds material possessions to his list of common aspects of human existence that he feels are negatively interfering with global harmony.In contrast to reality, he envisions a world where there is “no greed or hunger”.Under this ideology, he instead sees a humankind where we are all ‘brothers’, and people share instead of hoard.

(Video) What does this song mean? Imagine John Lennon Commentary

John Lennon's "Imagine" Lyrics Meaning - Song Meanings and Facts (1)

Did Lennon write “Imagine”?

Although Lennon took all of the songwriting credits initially, his wife, Yoko Ono, assisted him in scripting it. She was finally officially acknowledged for such in 2017.

This track was recorded in 1971, partially in England and partially in New York City.

“Imagine” was partially inspired by a prayer book Lennon and Ono had received from comedian Dick Gregory. But it was even more-heavily influenced by a book of poems Ono had composed a few years earlier. And according to the fictitious movie Forrest Gump, Gump himself made a direct contribution to its composition.

“Imagine” served as Lennon’s tool whereas he was able to masterfully present his personal political views, which borderline on communism, in a way that was commercially appealing to the masses.

Achievements

The song “Imagine” – and the album by the same name which it came from – where the most-successful ventures of Lennon’s solo career.

This classic charted at number one in the United Kingdom and reached number three on the US-based Billboard Hot 100.It re-charted in the UK, again at number one, after Lennon’s death in 1981.

(Video) Ten Interesting Facts About John Lennon's Imagine

It has been inducted into both the Grammy and Rock & Roll Halls of Fame.

The playing of “Imagine” has become an integral part of the world-renowned New Year’s celebration held in Times Square, New York City annually.

A documentary was released by Lennon and Ono to accompany this track in 1972.

This is one of the most critically-acclaimed songs of all time and accordingly has been covered by a number of A-list musicians.

The piano John Lennon used in writing “Imagine” was purchased in excess of two-million dollars in 2000 by the late musician George Michael. The piano has since been used as a museum artifact and to promote peace.

“Imagine” was the defining work of Lennon’s career, as made evident by a section of New York City’s Central Park dedicated to him being inscribed with this word.

Bebe Rexha performs “Imagine” in NYC

American singer Bebe Rexha performed “Imagine” at the legendary Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration in New York City to usher in 2019. In doing so, Times Square continued its longtime tradition of performing “Imagine” shortly before the arrival of New Year’s Day.

(Video) Why I Hate John Lennon’s “Imagine”

Imagine There’s No Religion

John Lennon's "Imagine" Lyrics Meaning - Song Meanings and Facts (2)

According to the Lennon, the world could live as one if religion didn’t exist. But would the world really be better off without religion?

There are currently more than four thousand religions in the world. Religion is generally based on faith or belief systems that lead to a lifestyle that is acceptable to the people involved. People who belong to a religion often meet privately or in public as social groups to practice the religion.

The activities that take place during such gatherings can include sermons, festivals, music, art, funerals, weddings, rituals, sacrifices, and any other aspect of human culture.

Most religions have different statements about belief in a supreme being and the following:

  • supernatural forces on earth
  • human nature
  • the meaning of life
  • ideas about life after death when we die.

There is no doubt that religion influences the development of people, societies, and nations.

Religion is Good

The world has seen positive changes in people’s behavior due to the beliefs of some religions. The message of many world religions is peace. They encourage people to always choose a peaceful way to solve their problems instead of using violence. Many country leaders believe in this message and have passed laws that include punishing those who use violent means to solve their problems without any significant reason. This has helped increase the security of the world.

Religion has helped improve the well-being of many people. In terms of health, education, and literacy, religion has played a positive role in improving them for many people.

Religions such as Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism are strong advocates of a healthy lifestyle and education for all. They have built many hospitals, schools, and libraries for many communities. They also have religious books that followers need to read to grow their faith and understand the religion for practice. This ensures that they prioritize the education and literacy of their followers.

(Video) Episode 49- "Imagine" by John Lennon (Lyrical Analysis)

Religion is Bad

However, it can be said that religion is also the cause of the lack of development and loss of lives in many parts of the world. Some religions teach that education and health care can only be achieved by practicing the faith of the religion. Members of these religions do not seek proper medical care when they are ill and can sometimes lose their lives.

Some religions also do not promote peace and tolerance. There have been many cases where members of some religions have even formed rebel groups that force other people to join their religion in a violent way. These rebel groups sometimes invade congregations of other religions and kill members of that religion. They see other religions as enemies.

The following are examples of religious conflict that has resulted in the loss of many lives around the world:

  • Palestinian-Israeli conflict
  • Syrian civil war
  • The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

Was John Lennon right about Religion being an obstacle to peace on Earth?

Non-religious people believe that religion and their beliefs are an obstacle to peace and other positive things that can be achieved in this world. They encourage the whole of society to act with logic, which is accepted by the laws of the society and not based on religious beliefs. They believe the world would be better off without religion.

But religion has indeed played an important role in the development and civilization of the world. However, like everything that is practiced in society, it has its pros and cons.

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FAQs

What is the message of the song Imagine by John Lennon? ›

He's instilling a thought in the minds of every person affected by or living in a state of injustice or inequality, repeating the word “imagine,” forcing the audience to do just that. Imagine, picture a world with “no need for greed or hunger.” A world where there is peace and acceptance of everyone.

Is Imagine a song about communism? ›

Lennon later confirmed that the similarities between his ideals set out in the song and Communism were indeed deliberate: “'Imagine', which says: 'Imagine that there was no more religion, no more country, no more politics,' is virtually the Communist Manifesto, even though I'm not particularly a Communist and I do not ...

Is Imagine a funeral song? ›

The song also tells the grieving family of “what-could-have-been” moments and this strengthens the fact that people should always make the best of their lives. This song is only one of the numerous funeral songs that you can find at www.songmeanings.net.

What is the reflection of the song Imagine by the Beatles? ›

“Imagine” is one such effort in getting closer to those elusive goals of peace and unity. In the first verse of the song, Lennon tells us how important it is for us to live in the present moment rather than worry about what is waiting for us upon our death.

Is Imagine about the Vietnam War? ›

John Lennon described the song as “an ad campaign for peace”, and it is no surprise that his moving anthem is such a beacon for those who long for global harmony. “Imagine,” written in March 1971 during the Vietnam War, has become a permanent protest song and a lasting emblem of hope.

What does you may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one mean? ›

Posted on October 4, 2012. The speaker, John Lennon, conveys the ethos of a man whose views differ from that of the general public. He is considering the world if it were a more equal place, as he wishes it would be.

Why was the song Imagine banned? ›

It is known across the world as an anthem to peace. But 35 years after it was written, John Lennon's hit song Imagine has been banned at one school for being too subversive. Pupils at the church school were prohibited from singing the song - after its lyrics were deemed anti-religious.

What were John Lennon's political beliefs? ›

In the late 1960s and early '70s, John Lennon began to actively endorse a wide variety of progressive and radical political causes. He championed the anti-war movement as well as Native and African-American rights while demonstrating a deepening interest in feminism.

What is the difference between communist and socialist? ›

The main difference is that under communism, most property and economic resources are owned and controlled by the state (rather than individual citizens); under socialism, all citizens share equally in economic resources as allocated by a democratically-elected government.

Can you play Imagine at a funeral? ›

John Lennon's 'Imagine' has been banned from being played at funerals. John Lennon's 'Imagine' has been banned from being played at funerals. The late Beatles singer's 1971 hit is outlawed from the majority of funerals because it includes the lyrics "imagine there's no heaven".

What is the most popular song played at funerals in the UK? ›

Top 10 Overall Chart 2019
TrackGenre
1My WayOld Favourites
2Time To Say GoodbyeClassical
3Over the RainbowRock, Pop & Old Favourites
4Wind Beneath My WingsRock, Pop & Old Favourites
6 more rows

Did John Lennon have a funeral? ›

There was no funeral for John Lennon, just a private cremation. But Yoko and Sean held a vigil for the Beatle on 14 December 1980 with ten minutes of silence. Lennon's ashes were scattered in Central Park, opposite the Dakota, where there now lies a memorial called Strawberry Fields.

What does the poet tell us about the sky in the poem Imagine? ›

In the third line, he asks us to Imagine that all the people living for today and above us are nothing but the only sky. The poet is asking the people to leave aside what has been prescribed and advised in their religions and beliefs and rather consider the world as the ultimate reality and live for today.

What is Lennon's vision of peace give example? ›

Explanation:Lennon's vision of peace in his song entitled Imagine is the absence of the idea of heaven and hell, the idea of possessions and the existence of countries. For example, if nobody believe on hell and heaven, then nobody will have misunderstandings.

What is the tone of the song Imagine? ›

The tone of the song is more of a laid back and thoughtful kind of mood. Most stanzas begin with the word "imagine" inspiring the listener to think about a more peaceful world. The purpose of the song is to have people think about the problems we live with today and just imagine life without them.

Why did Lennon wrote Imagine? ›

Lennon had just bought a new piano, spray-painted white, for his wife Yoko Ono's birthday. Soon afterwards, he wrote “Imagine” on it. “Imagine” was inspired heavily by Ono, who used the word in many of her 1960s conceptual art works.

How long was the Vietnam War? ›

Vietnam War, (1954–75), a protracted conflict that pitted the communist government of North Vietnam and its allies in South Vietnam, known as the Viet Cong, against the government of South Vietnam and its principal ally, the United States.

Is Imagine the greatest song ever? ›

'Imagine', by John Lennon, is the greatest number one single of all time, according to an Observer poll of the 100 best number ones. Lennon, beat Queen with 'Bohemian Rhapsody', the Beatles and Abba to top The Observer's poll of the best singles of the last 50 years.

What did John Lennon say about life? ›

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

What does it mean if you are a dreamer? ›

Word forms: dreamers

countable noun. If you describe someone as a dreamer, you mean that they spend a lot of time thinking about and planning for things that they would like to happen but which are improbable or impractical.

What does you may say I'm a dreamer mean? ›

It is a plea for justice, morality, and brotherhood with our fellow human beings,” as John Lennon said in a 1980 interview. Lennon said that the inspiration for this song came from one of his wife's books.

Why is the song Imagine controversial? ›

Fricke commented: "'Imagine' is a subtly contentious song, Lennon's greatest combined achievement as a balladeer and agitator." Urish and Bielen criticised the song's instrumental music as overly sentimental and melodramatic, comparing it to the music of the pre-rock era and describing the vocal melody as understated.

Is Imagine controversial? ›

But while Imagine has been taken up as an anthem of peace and unity for half a century now, it's also received its fair share of criticism. Lennon was accused of hypocrisy - as a millionaire ex-Beatle, the line about "Imagine no possessions" rang hollow with people when they considered the enormous mansion he lived in.

Why did the Beatles break up? ›

McCartney felt that the four members' evolution from musicians to businessmen was central to the band's disintegration. Epstein's role as band manager was never replaced, and ultimately the lack of strong managerial leadership contributed significantly to the break-up.

What religion are the Beatles? ›

The Beatles - Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Starr - were born in Liverpool, England. McCartney and Harrison were baptized as Catholic, Lennon was a member of the Church of England, and Starr was an Anglican.

Was John Lennon anti-war? ›

John Lennon actively took part in the anti-war movement in America. The British legend sang and propagated against the United State's military aggression in Vietnam. His song 'Give Peace A Chance' (1969) became an anti-war anthem back then and is still considered to be one all over the world.

Which countries are most socialist? ›

Most Successful Socialist Countries In The World 2022
  • China: The People's Republic of China is one of the foremost socialist states. ...
  • Russia: Just like China, Russia was a country strictly Socialist in nature. ...
  • Cuba: The Republic of Cuba is a core Socialist State. ...
  • North Korea: North Korea is another core Socialist State.
28 Mar 2022

What states are communist? ›

Overview
  • During the 20th century, the world's first constitutionally communist state was in Russia at the end of 1917. ...
  • Today, the existing communist states in the world are in China, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam.

Is China a socialist country? ›

Du and Xu concluded that China is not a market socialist economy, but an unstable form of capitalism.

Is my life a good funeral song? ›

And for the same reason, this makes “In My Life” one of the best funeral songs for anyone looking for something less sentimental to honor the memories of a deceased loved one during the funeral services. Think of it as the his or her parting message to you and everyone else whose lives he or she has become a part of.

What is the saddest song for a funeral? ›

Sad funeral songs
  • I'll See You Again – Westlife.
  • Over the Rainbow - Eva Cassidy.
  • Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler.
  • Nothing Compares to You - Sinead O'Connor.
  • Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd.
21 Jun 2021

What is considered the saddest song ever? ›

Somber tunes have always been part of the DNA of music, and R.E.M. now holds the top spot for the “Saddest Song of All Time,” with their 1992 hit “Everybody Hurts,” according to a recent survey by OnePoll.

What is most requested funeral song? ›

Ave Maria,” a traditional song recorded by many artists, remains very popular as does. Elton John's “Candle in the Wind”. “Time To Say Goodbye” by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman, and “My Way” by Frank Sinatra remains a staple at Phaneuf-hosted funerals. Country music playlists are also often requested.

Did Paul McCartney attend John Lennon's funeral? ›

John wanted to be buried but decided to cremate him. Paul visited her some days later. And David Bowie spent the whole night outside with other fans. He even participated in the procession with candle light.

What were John Lennon's last words? ›

But today, in an emotional interview, she reveals the last words her husband John Lennon uttered moments before he was gunned down on a New York street in 1980 by Mark Chapman. “I said 'shall we go and have dinner before we go home?

What did Yoko do with John's ashes? ›

Yoko Ono had Lennon's body cremated at the Ferncliff Cemetery, and scattered his ashes in Central Park, in sight of their New York apartment. Five years later, the Strawberry Fields Memorial was dedicated on the approximate spot, and more or less serves as Lennon's official gravesite.

What are the ideas presented in the stanzas of the song Imagine? ›

The song or the poem reflects the dream of a poet who wants to see the world problem-free. For him, religion, afterlife, countries, possessions, etc are the things that divide the people and make them fight with each other.

What is Lennon's vision of peace give example? ›

Explanation:Lennon's vision of peace in his song entitled Imagine is the absence of the idea of heaven and hell, the idea of possessions and the existence of countries. For example, if nobody believe on hell and heaven, then nobody will have misunderstandings.

Was John Lennon a vegetarian? ›

Though experimenting with vegetarianism in the sixties, John was the only Beatle who didn't become a full-time vegetarian and always ended up eating meat.

Why does the poet want a world without possessions? ›

The poet want a world without a countries because if there's no country there won't be any division of land,Nothing to kill Or die for and there will be no division of religions and the world will live peacefully and will live as one.

What is the mood of the song Imagine? ›

The tone of the song is more of a laid back and thoughtful kind of mood. Most stanzas begin with the word "imagine" inspiring the listener to think about a more peaceful world. The purpose of the song is to have people think about the problems we live with today and just imagine life without them.

What is the predominant theme of the song Imagine? ›

The theme of the song "Imagine" by John Lennon, has to do with freeing ourselves of the standard wisdom and beliefs about the world. The song begins with a challenge to mainstream religion: "Imagine there's no heaven... no hell below us...".

Why did John Lennon write Imagine? ›

Lennon had just bought a new piano, spray-painted white, for his wife Yoko Ono's birthday. Soon afterwards, he wrote “Imagine” on it. “Imagine” was inspired heavily by Ono, who used the word in many of her 1960s conceptual art works.

Are literary devices? ›

Literary devices are specific techniques that allow a writer to convey a deeper meaning that goes beyond what's on the page. Literary devices work alongside plot and characters to elevate a story and prompt reflection on life, society, and what it means to be human.

Did John Lennon have perfect pitch? ›

John Lennon did not have perfect pitch, which allows a performer to instantly recognize any note that is played. John Lennon simply had extraordinary talent & creativity and the capacity to learn. It is not obvious if a person has perfect pitch, but it is pretty apparent when they do not.

What did the Beatles like to eat? ›

Fish and Chips

As regular working class Liverpool boys, the Beatles band members had a taste for regular everyday foods, like the beloved British classic, fish and chips. We're not talking potato chips; the fellas enjoyed thick potato fries served with battered cod.

Was John Lennon smart? ›

John Lennon was a musical innovator. He also came across as highly intelligent in interviews. Because of this, many fans see John as a genius. Some artists might shy away from the label of “genius.” John seemed to be ambivalent about the label.

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