Imagine (album)

Imagine, recorded and released in 1971, was John Lennon's second solo album and generally considered his most popular. Lennon noted the popularity of the album but pointed out that the content of the album was similar to that of his less popular 1970 angst-rock Plastic Ono Band. The difference, he said, was the layer of sugar coating that he added to Imagine.

Band tracks for the album were recorded in his home studio with dubs added in New York. Phil Spector assisted during the vocal and dubbing sessions and with the mixing. Extensive footage of the sessions, showing the evolution of some of the songs, is available.

The title track "Imagine became his signature tune, indeed his signature, period. Structured like a hymn, it is a child's prayer for peace. Other lyric tracks are "Jealous Guy", originally written in Rishikesh with the title "Child Of Nature" and "Oh My Love".

(One thing you can't hide is when you're) "Crippled Inside" is a self-explanatory barrel-house rocker. "It's So Hard", a bluesy rocker, was recorded to test out his new home studio. The agit-rock "Gimme Some Truth", heard in the Let It Be sessions, is supplied with a new bridge. The final political song is his voodoo "Don't Wanna Be A Soldier Mama", musically a follow up to Abbey Road's "I Want You".

"How Do You Sleep" has Lennon answering digs he'd heard on Paul McCartney's 1970 album Ram. George Harrison plays a soaring solo on the track. At the other end of the spectrum is the joyous "Oh Yoko", a Bob Dylan-style ode to his sweetheart Yoko Ono, complete with raucous harmonica solo.

George Harrison played on a number of tracks. Ringo Starr had played on Lennon's first album and would have drummed on Imagine if not for pre-existing committments in the U.S. Instead Lennon tried out a three other drummers on the album, finally settling on Jim Keltner who became his drummer of choice for the subsequent three albums.

"Imagine" and "Jealous Guy", two of his most Beatle-like tracks, remain popular. Lennon's guitar work stands out on "It's So Hard" as does Harrison's on "How Do You Sleep". A fine duet between Harrison and Lennon on piano opens "Oh My Love". There's a better version of "Don't Wanna Be A Soldier" on the 1998 [[John Lennon Anthology].

Lennon's subsequent album, Sometime In New York City, failed to maintain the standard of this release.

Album tracks:

  • Imagine
  • Crippled Inside
  • Jealous Guy
  • It's So Hard
  • Don't Wanna Be A Soldier Mama

  • Gimme Some Truth
  • Oh My Love
  • How Do You Sleep
  • How
  • Oh Yoko

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