“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”
Taken from the album Imagine
Also released on Shaved Fish, The John Lennon Collection, Live In New York City, Imagine: John Lennon, Lennon, Lennon Legend: The Very Best Of John Lennon, John Lennon Anthology, Wonsaponatime, Instant Karma: All-Time Greatest Hits, Acoustic, Peace, Love And Truth, Working Class Hero: The Definitive Lennon and The US vs John Lennon: Original Soundtrack
UK #1, US #3
When I get into political discussions I often get accused of being naive or overly simple, and I usually tell people I have “John & Yoko” beliefs: peace, love, and that’s all there is to it. ‘Imagine’ is the theme song for this sort of thinking, and while the idea has been explored in many, many songs over the years, by John, Yoko and countless followers, this is the definitive and simplest expression of the manifesto.
‘Imagine’ isn’t just a call for freedom from religion and war, it’s become something of a religion itself. The ideals expressed here are a bit of a pipe dream, something that will never happen, but as my favourite line says, “you may call me a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”. The simple, instantly recognisable piano and famous melody never really loses impact, even if the sentiment has been constantly repeated.
This song has been covered by everybody. Diana Ross, Eva Cassidy, A Perfect Circle, Etta James, Avril Lavigne, everybody. My three favourite cover versions are by the predictable trio of Yoko Ono, Dolly Parton and Madonna. Even of those three, only Dolly comes close to matching the original, and none of them could ever stand up to this first recording. Every cover is in good faith and is paying tribute to a great song, but they’re always just that: a tribute.