"Imagine" is a song written and performed by English rock musician John Lennon. It is the opening track on his album Imagine, released in 1971. "Imagine" was released as a single in the United States where it reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100. When asked about the song in one of his last interviews, Lennon declared "Imagine" to be as good as anything he had written with the Beatles. The song is one of three Lennon solo songs, along with "Instant Karma!" and "Give Peace a Chance", in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked "Imagine" the 3rd greatest song of all time.
The song's refrain may have been partly inspired by Yoko Ono's poetry in reaction to her childhood in Japan during World War II. According to The Guardian, primordial versions of the song's refrain can be found in her 1965 book Grapefruit, where she penned lines such as, "imagine a raindrop" and "imagine the clouds dripping."
Ono indicated that the lyrical content of "Imagine" was "just what John believed — that we are all one country, one world, one people. He wanted to get that idea out." In addition, the content of "Imagine" was inspiration for the concept of Nutopia: The Country of Peace, created in 1973. Lennon included a symbolically mute "anthem" to this country on his album Mind Games. Also, inspiration for Yoko's Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland came from words in the second verse: Imagine all the people living life in peace.
In the book Lennon in America, by Geoffrey Giuliano, Lennon commented that Imagine was an "anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional, anti-capitalistic [song], but because it's sugar-coated, it's accepted."
"Imagine" was released as a single in the United Kingdom in 1975 (in conjunction with the album Shaved Fish) where it peaked at number six on the UK Singles Chart. Following Lennon's death in 1980, the single re-entered the UK chart and was number one for four weeks in January 1981. "Imagine" was re-released as a single in the UK in 1988 (peaking at number 45) and again in 1999 (reaching number three). "Imagine" was the sole John Lennon track included in a promotional-only various artists compilation album issued by Capitol records entitled "The Greatest Music Ever Sold" (Capitol SPRO-8511/8512). Distributed to record stores during the 1976 Holiday season, it was part of Capitol's "Greatest Music Ever Sold" campaign promoting 15 "Best Of" albums released by the record label. The song was also included on a six-disc boxed set commemorating Capitol Record's sixtieth anniversary that was issued in 2002.