Originally published on 16 June 2017.
Except, as it is seems is often the case, it is not just John Lennon’s, but also Yoko Ono’s gift to the world. The Washington Post reports that Yoko Ono is soon to get much-deserved credits as a songwriter on Imagine. The lyrics of the song are “inspired by” Yoko, but more importantly, parts of the lyrics were drawn from her 1964 poetry book, Grapefruit (about which Ono said, “burn this book after you read it”).
The announcement was made at the annual meeting of the National Music Publishers Association in New York, where Imagine received the Centennial Song award. The CEO of the NMPA, David Israelite, played a video interview where John Lennon said that Imagine should be credited to Lennon-Ono because “a lot of it-the lyric and the concept-came from Yoko”. Israelite said that in accordance with Lennon’s wish, Ono would be credited as a songwriter. Except Ono should always have been credited as a songwriter, not because Lennon wished it, but because of her actual contribution to the song.
Ono arrived on stage to collect the award pushed in a wheelchair by Sean Lennon. She’s currently suffering from a mysterious “flu-like illness”, and spoke about how her illness has made her appreciate life more. As if I could love her any more, she then said to rousing applause from the audience, “This is the best time of my life.” It reminds me of one of my favourite things that anyone has ever said about anything: perhaps we’re only just beginning to live in the world Yoko Ono always envisioned.
Variety hilariously reports that her speech was followed by Patti Smith singing an emotional rendition of the song accompanied by her daughter on the piano, and mixing up the lyrics slightly as she did.