Saturday, October 9, 2010

"Imagine" - Remembering John Lennon

I had just begun graduate school at Duke University when John Lennon's ballad "Imagine" came out. I was still a little raw from my combat tour in Vietnam, and the words of the song moved me, made me long for the world he envisioned: "Imagine all the people living life in peace." It was a poignant thought.

Forty years later it still moves me, every time I hear it. It's probably my favorite rock song, one of the few songs ever written that had the power move people in the right direction to change things. If it were a requirement of adult life to "have your song," this would be mine.

On this day, today, Lennon would have been 70 years old. I listen to him sing, and I'm reminded of the loss. It reminds me that we should relentlessly imagine such a world, even though it's more ruined and more in danger than it was in his lifetime.

"Imagine" lyrics by John Lennon (1971)

Imagine there's no heaven.
It's easy if you try.
No hell below us,
Above us only sky.
Imagine all the people
Living 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
Living 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.

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength .


Sean said...

Is the world really in worse shape now? The threat of global annihilation seems past, people are a lot more cognizant about the environment, the air is a lot cleaner, the Iron Curtain is gone, freedom, democracy, and capitalism, while reduced in our country, have certainly increased in dozens of other countries. And now with the Internet, everyone has much easier access to all kinds of information and knowledge.

Even Vietnam has changed, from a divided war-torn nation, to yet another industrial nation.

Denny Coates said...

Sean, those are good points. Yes, people are more aware of the environment, but man is wiping out species at a rapid rate and the climate is changing too rapidly, with who knows what consequences. Yes, Vietnam is a peaceful unified nation now, but Iran and Muslim extremists still support death for The Infidel. The people behind the 9/11 attack were not eliminated, they seem stronger than ever. Terrorism in the middle east, Europe and Mexico. Alive and aware of times both then and now, now seems more perilous to me. It would be nice if we could turn this stuff around, too...

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Lovely tribute. You are right--that song is special. I took up learning to play the piano so I could learn how to play Imagine, and then I promptly quit afterwards. Laugh. It's one of my all-time favorite songs.

Love to you and my dear friend Kathleen.

Dana Michelle Burnett said...

John Lennon influenced me as a child (his shooting is one of the first celebrity deaths I can remember), as a teen, and as an adult. He was an amazing artist in so many ways and I've passed that love on to my daughter and recently to the readers of my books. I often wonder where we would be today if just of few of those in power would think like John Lennon.

@NativeSonKY said...

Denny - I was 10 or 11 years old when Imagine came out, and at that time I really couldn't "Imagine there's no Heaven" - I'm sure you understand. But by the time I was 15 I knew what the song really meant, and then it started speaking to me. Even so much so that I named my son Sean one yer after Sean Lennon was born. We lost a good friend and a light in the darkness and he will never be equaled. Peace and Love to All!