Back in 1972, John Lennon performed his hit “Imagine” on The Mike Douglas Show.
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The song is the best-selling single of his solo career, its lyrics encourage the listener to imagine a world at peace without the barriers of borders or the divisions of religion and nationality and to consider the possibility that the whole of humanity would live unattached to material possessions.
Lennon and Yoko Ono co-produced the song and album of the same name with Phil Spector. Recording began at Lennon’s home studio at Tittenhurst Park, England, in May 1971, with final overdubs taking place at the Record Plant, in New York City, during July.
One month after the September release of the LP, Lennon released “Imagine” as a single in the United States; the song peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and the LP reached number one on the UK chart in November, later becoming the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed album of Lennon’s solo career.
Although not originally released as a single in the United Kingdom, it was released in 1975 to promote a compilation LP and it reached number six on the chart that year. The song has since sold more than 1.6 million copies in the UK; it reached number one following Lennon’s murder in December 1980. In 1985, the Central Park Conservancy memorialized a portion of the park in honour of Lennon, called Strawberry Fields, with a mosaic that reads “Imagine”.
Shortly before his death, Lennon acknowledged Ono’s role in inspiring the concept behind “Imagine”; as of June 2017, plans were underway to ensure that she receives a co-writing credit for the song.
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