Just under a year after releasing John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, John Lennon’s Imagine arrived. The sophomore album has several hard hitting songs but is not as stark as it’s predecessor. “Gimme Me Some Truth”, also the name of a recent greatest hits compilation, starts with no introduction and speaks about the liars on all sides of the political and media spectrum. “I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier” has a jam feel to it with similar lyrics repeated throughout. At nearly six minutes long, “How Do you Sleep” is an edgy track that digs into former bandmate Paul McCartney while mentioning Sgt Pepper, “Yesterday”, and the Paul is dead rumours. It’s hard to notice the music when for 50 years most have only focused on the lyrics.
Produced along with Phil Spector and Yoko Ono, it’s not all savage critiques and offers some beautiful moments. “Oh My Love” co-written with Ono, is a lovely piano lead track that offers a clean sound with no strings added as Lennon sings, “oh my love, for the first time in my life/my eyes are wide open”. “How” sees Lennon question which direction to go before the sunny pop of “Oh Yoko!” ends the album on a bright note.
The two most well known songs arrive on the first half of the album. “Jealous Guy” started as a track originally written during The Beatles album before being left off then repurposed with new lyrics. The chorus of “I didn’t mean to hurt you/I’m sorry that I made you cry” is still devastating and the apologies likely don’t make up for the regret. Just one track in, the title track is the album’s highlight. One of the most well known songs throughout the world, “Imagine” mixes spirituality without religion, no country borders, a dash of communism, and a lot of love. The song is one of those that seems to have been around forever and is one of the most powerful in the rock and roll canon. Both the Imagine song and album are among John Lennon’s greatest achievements.