IMAGINE all the people living life in peace.

IMAGINE: John & Yoko's anthem for Peace, recorded 27 May 1971 & filmed at the white piano John gave Yoko, Tittenhurst Park, 22 July 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.

written by John Lennon & Yoko Ono

'Imagine' lyrics in John's handwriting on The New York Hilton notepaper, 1971.


John Lennon: vocals and piano
Klaus Voormann: bass
Alan White: drums
The Flux Fiddlers: strings
Produced by John & Yoko and Phil Spector
Recorded at Ascot Sound Studios, 27 May 1971
String overdubs recorded at Record Plant, New York, 4 July 1971
Filmed at Tittenhurst Park, 21 July 1971.

'Imagine' lyrics, typed out by John in March '71, as used by the musicians in the recording of 'Imagine',
crediting the song's writing to have happened in London, Madrid and Trinidad.


John: ‘Imagine’ is a song conceived in my head without melody. The first verse came to me very quickly in the form of a childlike street chant ‘da da da da da dee dee, da dee da ee a eeeh’.

The piano intro I’ve had hanging around in my head for a few years – the chords and melody followed naturally from this.

The middle eight was ‘conceived’ to finish off the song. I think it works as a song. Of course, there is always room for improvement – otherwise I wouldn’t make any more.

The third verse came to me in an eight-seater plane.

It’s a song for children.

First edition of Grapefruit by Yoko Ono, 1964, Wunternaum Press, Tokyo (edition of 500). Given to John by Yoko on 3 September 1967 with her notes on his astrological birth chart and John’s humorous response.
Many of the pieces invite the reader to ‘imagine’. CLOUD PIECE is printed on the back cover of the Imagine album.

Yoko: ‘Cloud Piece’: ‘Imagine the clouds dripping, dig a hole in your garden to put them in.’ This is not a piece of poetry. Poetry to me is nouns or adjectives. This is verbs. And you have to do them. These are all instructions and when you just do it, then you start to understand it.

Imagine LP back cover: John photographed by Yoko using a polaroid camera in New York in July 1971,
with her CLOUD PIECE instruction on the back cover: Imagine the clouds dripping, dig a hole in your garden to put them in. yoko '63.

John: ‘Imagine’ was inspired by Yoko’s Grapefruit. There’s a lot of pieces in it saying like ‘Imagine this’ or ‘Imagine that’. If you get a copy of Grapefruit and look through, you’ll see where I was influenced by her.

‘Imagine’ could never have been written without her. And I know she helped on a lot of the lyrics but I wasn’t man enough to let her have credit for it. So that song was actually written by John & Yoko, but I was still selfish enough and unaware enough to take her contribution without acknowledging it. The song itself expresses what I’d learned through being with Yoko and my own feelings on it. It should really have said ‘Lennon/Ono’ on that song, because she contributed a lot of that song.

Alan White recording 'Imagine' with the lyric sheet taped to the booth, Ascot Sound Studios, 27 May 1971.

Alan White (drummer): Every song we did on Imagine, John would make us read the lyrics and insist that we understood the meaning of the song before started playing it. That had quite an impact for me.

Klaus Voormann recording 'Imagine', Ascot Sound Studios, 27 May 1971.

Klaus Voormann (bass): When we played ‘Imagine’ and heard the lyrics, the possibility that this was going to be such a big song was apparent. It definitely was. I even thought I didn’t want to play on it because it was so amazing with just John playing piano. It was so true and honest. That would have been enough. I hope you’ve got a version of just John playing it.

Recording 'Imagine' (L-R): engineers Eddie Klein & Phil McDonald; co-producers Phil Spector, John Lennon & Yoko Ono; roadie Mal Evans; Ascot Sound Studios, 27 May 1971.

Phil McDonald (engineer): ‘Imagine’ was one of the easiest tracks to record, almost all live, in a few takes. We mixed the track at Tittenhurst and Phil Spector added strings on top of the stereo tape in the USA.

John rehearsing 'Imagine' with typewritten lyrics on the piano, Ascot Sound Studios, 27 May 1971.

Yoko: John and I were both artists and we were living together, so we inspired each other. And the song ‘Imagine’ embodied what we believed together at the time. 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 café-au-lait colour and we will all be very happy together.

All these instructions are for people for how to spend eternity, because we have lots of time.

'Imagine all the people' artwork by John Lennon, hand coloured by Yoko Ono.

John: If you can imagine a world of peace, if you can imagine a world with no denominations of religion – not without religion, whatever religion is – but without this divisive ‘My god is bigger than your god’ business… Then, if you can imagine the possibility, then it can be true.

'That look' - Yoko smiling at the end of filming the 'Imagine' video, Tittenhurst Park, 21 July 1971.

Yoko: ‘Imagine’ is a complete vision. A succinct bible of truth. It will start to unfold as you believe in it.

The film? Well, it just happened naturally. I was well aware of the symbolism of everything – closing and then opening the shutters to let the light in.

It’s rather personal, but I had a definite reason why I smiled at the end, in addition to loving being next to John.

‘Imagine’ is a very, very powerful song. And I think it is very interesting that it is still around and still giving power to people. And I’m very happy about that.


Explore and enjoy the IMAGINE album and the 1971 Ascot Sound Studios & Record Plant Sessions like you’ve never seen or heard them before with the Super Deluxe Box Set.

• Over 15 hours of audio
• 133 tracks of High Definition, Studio Quality 96kHz/24bit audio in 5.1 Surround Sound, 4.0 Quadrasonic, Stereo & Mono on 2 Blu-Rays
• 61 tracks of 44.1kHz/16bit audio in Stereo & Mono on 4 CDs
• 120 page book.


Personally compiled and curated by Yoko Ono, Imagine John Yoko is the definitive inside story – told in revelatory detail – of the making of the legendary album and all that surrounded it: the locations, the creative team, the artworks and the films, in the words of John & Yoko and the people who were there.

Features 80% exclusive, hitherto-unpublished archive photos and footage sequences of all the key players in situ, together with lyric sheets, Yoko’s art installations, and exclusive new insights and personal testimonies from Yoko and over forty of the musicians, engineers, staff, celebrities, artists and photographers who were there – including Julian Lennon, Klaus Voormann, Alan White, Jim Keltner, David Bailey, Dick Cavett and Sir Michael Parkinson.

Available in a 320 page hardback Standard Edition (published in English, Japanese, German, French, French CanadianItalian, Spanish, Dutch, Czech) and a 496 page hardback Collector’s Edition, 300 of which have been signed by Yoko Ono Lennon.


In 1971, during and after the recording of the Imagine album, John Lennon & Yoko Ono filmed all the proceedings at their Tittenhurst home and studio, their journeys to London and New York, and created a conceptual film also called Imagine, edited to a soundtrack created from their albums, Imagine and FLY. The remaining documentary footage was also later edited to become the Grammy® Award Winning documentary ‘Gimme Some Truth’ (The Making of the Imagine album).

Both films have been restored and remastered from original film negative – Imagine with a completely new remixed soundtrack in 5.1, and Gimme Some Truth with a remastered soundtrack in 5.1, and are being released on Blu-Ray, DVD and digitally (Imagine iTunes Store, Gimme Some Truth iTunes Store).