Imagine – John Lennon

Released September 9, 1971 this is Lennon’s second album after leaving The Beatles. It is considered his greatest solo work and is #80 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. Certified Gold at the time, several remastered re-releases have propelled it to 2x Platinum (selling more than 2 million).

Jason: We are back from a 2-week vacation of London, Amsterdam, and Iceland where we heard a lot of 80s pop and new wave everywhere we went for some reason. Are you ready to get back into some music reviews?

Brad: I’m ready.

Jason: We had a Beatles album and now we have a Lennon album. Had you heard this in it’s entirety before?

Brad: Yes, I’ve listened to most of his catalog…solo and with the Beatles

Jason: This is a first for me. I think I only knew “Imagine”, which every one knows.

Brad: You didn’t know “Jealous Guy”!?

Jason: Wait… let me think.

Brad: It’s one of my favorite John Lennon songs.

Jason: Yes. I do know that one. And the Roxy Music version.

Brad: I love that version too!

Jason: Is Lennon your fave Fab Four?

Brad: He used to be for many years because I was more familiar with his solo catalog than the other Beatles. But then I read several books about him and the Beatles and it made me like him a little less. I have also grown to love Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles stuff. So now i would say Paul is my favorite of the Beatles.

Jason: I think it’s interesting that the song “How Do You Sleep” is basically a clap-back at McCartney after Paul made some lyrical digs at John and Yoko on his Ram album. . It’s like how rappers record songs to dis one another. 

Brad: Yeah it is very much like the current rap rivalries. It is a good song though, even if you didn’t know who it was aimed at.

Jason: I agree. I also like “Oh Yoko!” which is just silly and fun.

Brad: I love that song too. It is really sweet.

Jason: I am going to sing it but say “in the middle of the el, I call your name. Oh Bradley!”

Brad: That would make me turn red from embarrassment. Bring new meaning to the Red Line.

Jason: I’ll do it when you aren’t around. Or… ‘in the middle of Starbucks I call your name.” Then people will just think you had a mobile order.

Brad: That’s better. By the way, I love Yoko. She is such a fascinating person.

Jason: Yeah, she gets a bad rap for “breaking up the Beatles” but I don’t think she really had a hand in that. 

Brad: I don’t think she did either. It was just one of those things where friendships had started to turn bad and each of their interests and goals had changed. One of the reasons I started to not like John Lennon as much was because he treated her poorly sometimes. It always bugged me that Yoko did not get co-writing credit for “Imagine” even though it is based on her poetry. Luckily, she finally got co-writing credit in 2017.

Jason: Hopefully she also got back royalties. This is considered his best solo album. Overall I think it’s fine. There are some good songs and some that I don’t love like “Crippled Inside.”and “It’s so Hard”

Brad: I think it is a great album but I agree with “Crippled Inside”. It is my least favorite on the album.  “Gimme Some Truth” really applies to today’s world.

Jason: Yes, that seems like an evergreen sentiment I am sure the same could be said/sung back in the days of Julius Caesar as well which says a lot about politics. Maybe someone should cover it and re-release it now.

Brad: It has been covered a lot over the years by artists like Pearl Jam, Travis & Jakob Dylan, but I agree

Jason: Well let’s get… (who’s popular now?) Zedd to remix it featuring Swae Lee who seems to be on everything this month and I don’t know who that is.

Brad: I love that this album was co-produced by Lennon, Ono & Phil Spector. Can you imagine what it would have been like to be in a room with those three?

Jason: I would love to have been a fly on that wall. I bet Yoko was the sane one in that room.

Brad: Yeah, she was probably the only sane and sober one in the room.

Jason: So what grade are you giving Imagine?

Brad: I would give this one a B+. How about you?

Jason: You know I really had to listen to this one a lot and not just background music. I tried to digest it and pay attention to appreciate it. So I am giving it a B

Brad: That makes me happy!

Jason: Good. Hold on to that because I know you are dreading our next album review.

Brad: Ha! Yes.

Jason: It’s wasted time, so to speak 😉

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Below is the scratch-off artwork from the 100 Bucket List poster.

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  1. Pingback: 100 Albums Bucket List | Jason S Steele

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