“Imagine” is a song of peace and unity that describes a vision of a better world.

Lennon’s Big Solo Hit

This is the song most people associate first with Lennon’s solo career after the end of the Fab Four. As a testament to its universal acclaim, President Jimmy Carter said of the song, “In many countries around the world – my wife and I have visited about 125 countries – you hear John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’ used almost equally with national anthems.”

An Anthem of Mourning

While countless artists have performed the hit at various tragic events and even more people have put the song on in the face of hard times, some believe that this had diluted the original intention of the song. Whether or not its meaning has mutated over time, the song still has a powerful effect whenever it’s heard.

What many people feel when they hear the song is some combination of mourning, grief and the hope that springs from it. The lyrics tend to give one a sense that somehow, everything will all work out in the end and things are going to be okay. However, it may come as a surprise to even the biggest John Lennon fan that this wasn’t what the former Beatle had in mind when he wrote the song.

The transformation of the song’s meaning goes all the way back to Queen’s performance of the number at Wembley Arena one day after John Lennon had been shot. From that day forward, “Imagine” seemed to become a universal anthem of mourning suitable for any major tragedy.

According to John himself, the song was initially inspired by a Christian prayer book that Dick Gregory gave him.

“The concept of positive prayer … If you can imagine a world at peace, with no denominations of religion – not without religion but without this my God-is-bigger-than-your-God thing – then it can be true,” he told Playboy magazine

Lennon and Communism

The communist movement also served as an inspiration for Lennon his idyllic imaginings. The lyrics share many common elements with the movement, and Lennon himself admitted that this was intentional.

“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 belong to any movement,” said Lennon.

But by downplaying the communist themes in his lyrics, Lennon managed to create a song so popular and uniting that people across virtually every religion and nationality have sung and shared in it together.

The Uncredited Author

Yet another source of inspiration for this unforgettable post-Beatles masterpiece came from none other than Yoko Ono. In 1964, she released a book of poems called “Grapefruit.” Amongst her verses, there was this line:

“Imagine the clouds dripping, dig a hole in your garden to put them in.”

The poem that the line came from, entitled “Cloud Piece,” was eventually featured on the “Imagine” album back cover art.

Lennon confessed that “Imagine” “should be credited as a Lennon/Ono song. A lot of it – the lyric and the concept – came from Yoko, but in those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted her contribution, but it was right out of Grapefruit.”


Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us, only sky

Imagine all the people
Livin’ 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
Livin’ 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

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: John Winston Lennon

Imagine lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Capitol CMG Publishing, Royalty Network, Songtrust Ave, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music, Inc