In a Nutshell
If there's any song that doesn't need an introduction, it's got to be this one. "Imagine" is famous the world over as an anthem for peace, embodying the spirit of harmony that both John Lennon and Yoko Ono promoted through their music and art. It's written in the simplest piano key there is (C Major), and uses simple lyrics to construct a world in which people don't fight over anything – they just get along. Lennon may have been a dreamer, but once you've heard this song, you'll probably count yourself as a dreamer, too.
About the Song
|Producer(s)||John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Phil Spector|
Explore the ways this song connects with the world and with other topics on Shmoop
"Imagine" is still as relevant as ever, but it's also distinctly a product of its time. Released in 1971, this track is fresh from the cultural upheaval of the 1960s
, and was released smack dab in the middle of the Vietnam War
. Lennon, like many young people at the time, found the staggering loss of life in the war tragic and unnecessary. The United States government was so anxious about Lennon's protests and agitations that it even tried to deport him from the country. Lucky for us, Lennon wasn't discouraged. We've still got "Imagine" to remind us to think about alternatives to conflict and violence, instead of blindly accepting things the way they are.
On the Charts
The song peaked at #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1971 (first release).
Named by Rolling Stone
magazine as the third greatest song of all time.
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation named "Imagine" the Greatest Song in the Past 100 years.
The song hit #6 in the UK upon its first re-release in 1975, then spent four weeks at #1 there when released yet again in 1980 following Lennon's murder.
"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" – Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter Imagine
the album ranks #76 on Rolling Stone
's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Imagine
the album peaked at #1 worldwide upon its release in 1971.