“Shock, disbelief, then grief: emotions experienced by millions of people around the world today, as they learned of the murder of John Lennon. But those who grieved did so not only for Lennon, the man who wrote music that changed music. They also grieved for the passing of an era.”
The CBC’s Knowlton Nash told viewers of The National on the day after the rock star was slain.
In 1966, Lennon went to a preview of Ono’s show at the Indica gallery in London, and wanted to contribute to a piece called Hammer a Nail in. But Ono was reluctant to let him, as she recalls in an archive interview in the book. “I said, ‘All right, if he pays five shillings, it’s okay,’ because I decided that my painting will never sell anyway.”
Lennon had another idea, adding in the interview: “I said, ‘Listen I’ll give you an imaginary five shillings and hammer an imaginary nail in, is that okay?’ And her whole trip is this: ‘Imagine this, imagine that.’”
Ono replies: “Imagine, imagine. So I was thinking, ‘Oh, here’s a guy who’s playing the same game I’m playing.’ And I was really shocked you know, I thought, ‘Who is it?’”
The BBC’s Fiona McDonald
It’s difficult to imagine. John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s hit song track “Imagine”’ celebrated its 50th anniversary on September 9th.
Lennon released the iconic song along with an album and a film by the same name in 1971 with the help of his wife Yoko, who co-produced the record.
“John and I were both artists and we were living together, so we inspired each other. The song ‘Imagine’ embodied what we believed together at the time,” said Yoko. “John and I met – he comes from the West and I come from the East – and still we are together. We have this oneness and ‘the whole world would eventually become one’ is the sense that we will all be very happy together. All these instructions are for people for how to spend eternity, because we have lots of time.”
The 1971 film “Imagine” was one of the first full-length conceptual music films and contains all the songs from John’s “Imagine” album. “Imagine – The Ultimate Collection” will be made available on streaming services to celebrate John Lennon’s birthday this year, on October 9.
Mosaic at New York’s Central Park
Photos: Sharon Norahs