John Lennon – Imagine – Music Monday #20!

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© Charlotte Emily Murray

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Every Monday I pick a record from my collection completely at random and then I write about it! In today’s post the album I’m going to be talking about is John Lennon – Imagine!

Imagine is the second studio album by John Lennon recorded and released in 1971, this is arguably the best and most well-known John Lennon album.

I’m very lucky to have in my collection a 1971 original which was a gift from my Mum a few years ago, I say lucky because there’s a 2010 remaster of the album that I personally think sounds too perfect. This is already a heavily produced album in comparison to some of John Lennon’s other work and the remastering does it no favours in my opinion.

If you don’t own this album and would like to listen to it whilst you read the rest of this post then I’ll put a Spotify player right here with the entire album in it so you can listen as you read!


I suppose I should tell you a little bit about John Lennon just in case there are people out there who haven’t heard of him, something I find hard to imagine because it’s John Lennon, but he’s been dead for 36 years now so it’s possible.

John Lennon from Liverpool England was cofounder of a little band called The Beatles, which allow me please to take this opportunity to say was NOT the only band to have ever come out of Liverpool, nor is it the only thing that we as a city have to offer.

As well as being a talented singer, songwriter, musician and artist John Lennon was also known for his political and peace activism something that was reflected in his work. At one stage his opposition to the Vietnam War was so strong Richard Nixon’s administration (president of US at the time) attempted to have him deported!

There is mixed opinions on where this album was recorded, some say parts of it were recorded in Ascot Sound Studios, some say parts of it were recorded in Abbey Road and some say parts of it were recorded at Record Plant in New York. I can’t find a source that seems reputable enough for me to say okay THAT’S where it was recorded.

All of the songs on this album were written entirely by John Lennon except for Oh My Love which was written by John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono.

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© Charlotte Emily Murray

I find this album to be almost a self-portrait of John Lennon, from what I know of him from what I’ve read over the years I find that this album shows what I Imagine John Lennon to be like, almost a contradiction. Sensitive yet aggressive about his passions, insecure yet self-aware, bold, introspective and completely socially aware.

This album is in my opinion genuinely one of a kind, I don’t feel that there has been any other album released that is quite like this one not even by John Lennon himself.

There may be albums with similar sounds and musicians with similar intentions but I cannot find one other album with as much of I don’t even know what it would be called, as much ‘Imagine’. There’s a spirit, vibe, atmosphere, energy whatever you want to call it that comes with this album and that in my opinion cannot and will not ever be replicated.

I found something out that I didn’t know whilst I was researching for this post which I can’t believe I didn’t realise because it’s actually really cool, did you know that George Harrison (also from The Beatles) played lead guitar on 5 of the tracks on this album? I didn’t know that but that’s really awesome!

Let’s take a look at the album track list and see which songs it is George Harrison played on!

Side One:

  1. Imagine
  2. Crippled Inside
  3. Jealous Guy
  4. It’s So Hard
  5. I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier

Side Two:

  1. Gimme Some Truth
  2. Oh My Love
  3. How Do You Sleep?
  4. How?
  5. Oh Yoko!
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© Charlotte Emily Murray

The tracks that George Harrison appears on are:

  • I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier
  • Gimme Some Truth
  • Oh My Love
  • How Do You Sleep
  • Crippled Inside

Also on this album is Nicky Hopkins a pianist probably most notable for his work with The Rolling Stones and The Kinks. He plays on

  • Jealous Guy
  • Oh My Love
  • How Do You Sleep

Legendary Saxophonist ‘King Curtis’ Ousley also played on the Imagine album, and don’t quote me on this but I believe Imagine was the last album he worked on, certainly one of the last because they finished recording the album in July 1971 and in August 1971 Curtis Ousley was stabbed to death on the steps of his Manhattan Apartment. 

King Curtis played on:

  • It’s So Hard
  • I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier

There were another 15 personnel on this album too, I hope that you’ll forgive me for not mentioning them all individually like I have for Nicky Hopkins and King Curtis, my reason for mentioning those two is that I admire their work away from this album too.

My favourite tracks from this album are:

  • Crippled Inside
  • I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier
  • Jealous Guy
  • Imagine

This is a truly fantastic album though and one of my all-time favourites!

Make sure you check out my 1001 Albums To Hear Before You Die series which I’ll be starting tomorrow to see whether or not Imagine makes that list!

That’s it for this edition of Music Monday if you’d like to read other editions from this series then please click here to be redirected to the Music Monday section of my blog where you’ll find all of the Music Monday posts I’ve ever written! 

Here is the audio version of this post on SoundCloud.

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Take care,

Charlotte xo