HomeEntertainmentMusicJohn Lennon’s Son Julian Covers ‘Imagine’ for the First Time During Ukraine Benefit

John Lennon’s Son Julian Covers ‘Imagine’ for the First Time During Ukraine Benefit

by Suzanne Halliburton
VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

Julian Lennon, the son of the Beatles superstar, swore he’d never cover Imagine, one of John Lennon’s signature songs.

But a war and an ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine changed his mind. Julian performed “Imagine” Friday at a online benefit for Ukraine. And when he posted the candle-lit performance to his YouTube channel, Julian Lennon explained the thought process. His reasons were stark ones.

“Why now, after all these years?” Lennon wrote. “I had always said, that the only time I would ever consider singing Imagine would be if it was the ‘End of the World.’

Listen to Julian sing this classic John Lennon song. That’s Nuno Bettencourt accompanying him on guitar and helping sing the final verse. Then join us on the other side for some more information about Imagine and Julian Lennon’s cause.

On Friday, Stand Up for Ukraine conducted a digital social media rally with some of the biggest names in the music business. The biggest stars who appeared included Bruce Springsteen, U2, Billie Eilish, Billy Joel, Céline Dion, Chris Rock, Elton John with Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood. Other stars who made appearances — Green Day, Hugh Jackman, the Jonas Brothers, Katy Perry, Adam Lambert, Luke Combs and Madonna.

Julian Lennon, 59, decided to perform John’s most famous song as a solo artist. John Lennon released Imagine in 1971, a year after the Beatles broke up. The song was the title track of Lennon’s first solo album. Julian was eight when his father first performed the song.

John Lennon And Julian in 1968, three years before the elder Lennon released Imagine. (Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

So many artists have covered Imagine, which emerged as a song for the Christmas season. But it’s OK to play it anytime. Keith Urban and John Legend were among the artists who covered Imagine for the opening ceremonies at the Tokyo Olympics last summer. And a cover of Imagine was a theme song for the Beijing Olympics two months ago.

Here’s a sampling of the John Lennon lyrics: “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, Livin’ 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.”

Back in 1971, the song reached No. 4 on the Billboard pop charts. Now, more than a half century later, Julian Lennon sang John’s song to help raise billions of dollars for Ukraine.

Julian Lennon is a performer, philanthropist and producer. When he posted the Imagine video, he wrote: “The War on Ukraine is an unimaginable tragedy. As a human, and as an artist, I felt compelled to respond in the most significant way I could. So today, for the first time ever, I publicly performed my Dad’s song, IMAGINE.”

He said that with the song, “we’re transported to a space, where love and togetherness become our reality, if but for a moment in time. … “The song reflects the light at the end of the tunnel, that we are all hoping for.”