"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one"..."Imagine"
is John Lennon
's most acclaimed and popular album. It was released in 1971 and is best known for the iconic title track "Imagine"
, which has become Lennon's Signature Song
- Answer Song: "How Do You Sleep?" (see "The Reason You Suck" Speech below).
- Apologises a Lot: "I'm just a jealous guy".
- The Atoner: "Jealous Guy".
- Call Back: "How Do You Sleep" references Sgt. Pepper, Paul Is Dead and "Yesterday".
- The Cameo: George Harrison plays guitar on some tracks on this album.
- Cover Version: "Imagine" and "Jealous Guy" have been covered countless times.
- Cult Soundtrack: Not exactly, but a companion movie, "Imagine" (1972) was released by Lennon a year later. This film is more a sort of documentary, though, than an actual film.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: "Gimme Some Truth", "Oh My Love", "How?"
- Double Entendre: Lennon uses the phrase "going down" in "It's So Hard" twice, first in the context of depression, second in the context of having sex.
- In "How Do You Sleep?" Lennon sings about Paul McCartney: "The only thing you done was yesterday", being both an attack on the fact that McCartney was unable to duplicate The Beatles' artistic and financial success on his own, and literally saying that the Beatles song "Yesterday" was the only thing memorable about Paul.
- Draft Dodging: "I Don't Wanna Be A Soldier".
- Dream Sequence: The utopian vision in "Imagine" is basically this. Could be Dreaming of Things to Come too, but that might be stretching it a bit.
- Enemy Within: "Crippled Inside".
- Excited Show Title!: "Oh Yoko!"
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Imagine," by Lennon's own admission, "is virtually The Communist Manifesto" set to music, "even though I'm not particularly a Communist and I do not belong to any movement". (It could arguably be considered more similar to the writings of anarcho-communists like Pyotr Kropotkin and Emma Goldman, who took issue with some of Marx's ideas). Of the song, Lennon told NME, "There is no real Communist state in the world; you must realize that. The Socialism I speak about ... [is] not the way some daft Russian might do it, or the Chinese might do it. That might suit them. Us, we should have a nice ... British Socialism."
- This is a song where Lennon advocates abolishing nationalism, religion and capitalism and it still became a universal musical hit. As Lennon himself said: "Anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional, anti-capitalistic, but because it is sugarcoated it is accepted ... Now I understand what you have to do. Put your political message across with a little honey." Not that the controversy ever died. To this day some people will take offense or debate the lines.
- Green-Eyed Monster: "Jealous Guy".
- Lighter and Softer: While Imagine does have "Gimme Some Truth," "I Don't Want to Be a Soldier" and "How Do You Sleep?", that Lennon could go in a year from singing "The dream is over the dream is over" in "God" to singing "You may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one" in "Imagine" suggests that he got something out of his system.
- Meadow Run: At the end of the "Oh Yoko!" music video. Though, they did it on a shore of the beach and referencing the famous scene from Wuthering Heights for they shout each other's names in the same fashion as the film.
- One Woman Song: "Oh Yoko!"
- Pacifist: "Imagine", "I Don't Wanna Be A Soldier".
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "How Do You Sleep?", from 1971's Imagine, directed toward Paul McCartney at the depth of their mutual hatred. A response to Paul's "Too Many People" from Ram, released earlier the same year. (The two buried the hatchet a few years later.)
- Say My Name: "Oh Yoko".
- Shout-Out: "Gimme Some Truth" references the nursery rhyme "Old Mother Hubbard" during the line: "No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of Tricky Dicky/ Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me".
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: "It's So Hard", where Lennon acknowledges both the good and difficult things about life.
- Take That:
- "How Do You Sleep" is directed at Paul McCartney.
- "Gimme Some Truth" expresses frustration about "short-haired yellow-bellied sons of Tricky Dicky", referencing Richard Nixon.
- Talking in Your Sleep: "In the middle of a dream I call your name" from "Oh Yoko".
- Unintentional Period Piece: "How Do You Sleep?", because it was a reflection of John's feelings against Paul at that particular moment in time. Later they became friends again.