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YouTube’d memories: Imagine

As a professed fan of The Beatles, I am actually quite lukewarm towards anything that the Fab Four produced in their solo careers after their break-up. Lennon’s Imagine is probably the closest a song by a former Beatle comes to being a favorite of mine.

My most vivid memory associated with it is quite recent.

A starry September night. Throngs of people on the Karluv Most in Prague. And a street guitarist, surrounded by several dozens of revelers, leading them in the rendition of Imagine

With that, I am off to the next leg of our grand tour, which will see us relocate from Costa Brava to the French Riviera.

A bientôt!

Posted in Memoirs, Music


  1. Vince

    The Beatles solo efforts demonstrated, for me, that sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. That being said, I loved “All Things Must Pass” (the jams I could have done without), and I enjoyed “Ram.” All of them produced some strong solo material, but “Imagine” is the best song any of them produced as a solo artist.

  2. John the Scientist

    “Imagine” annyos the crap out of me. “Imagine no possessions” – hell yes I can, I lived in the late USSR for a couple of years, and everything that belonged to the “people” was either commandeered by the strong (Beriozka, anyone?) or in an absolutely appaling state. But you don’t even have to go there, just look how most people treat public parks in the US.

    Hippy sentiments I can excuse in someone in their twenties living in the 60s. Lennon was a 31 year old man by 1971 – old enough to know better.

  3. Jeri

    I can take or leave Imagine – it was probably fairly revolutionary thought for its time, but it seems kind of kitschy in retrospect.

    My hub bought the biography Can’t Buy Me Love and it’s pretty sobering the portrait it paints of these guys, young callow talented idiots over their head in fame, drugs & money. In particular, Lennon seemed like a total a$$.

    That said – for all that he’s a strange, strange man, I really like George Harrison’s solo acoustic version of “My Guitar Gently Weeps” on the Love album. (And yes, I’ve seen the Love musical, it was tremendous!)

  4. Brian Greenberg

    Musically, I always thought Imagine was one of the most beautiful songs ever written. The whole thing is four measures long (two for the verse, two for the bridge/chorus), and yet it’s emotionally expressive the entire way through.

    Lyrically, I can see how some would consider it liberal, hippy, idealistic, etc., but I always got the sense that Lennon knew that. After all, the song is called Imagine, not Change. Others may disagree, but I always took the song to be describing an ideal but unattainable state, not suggesting that we should/could somehow achieve it.

  5. Art

    Two-three days ago, one of my colleagues asked my other colleague about his favorite music band. The guy seriously hesitated for quite some time and then finally asked: am I supposed to say “The Beatles”? Kinda summarizes my own attitude. Quite a few good quality songs. Nothing less. Nothing more.

  6. Ilya

    It feels to me that I get the most interesting discussions out of my YouTube posts… Could be a marketing idea here somewhere 🙂

    Brian, in his usual fashion, summarized my attitude towards this song quite well.

  7. Ilya

    Artyomchik, I understand the point that you are trying to make, but, of course, this is all a matter of taste…

  8. Brian Greenberg

    While I am a fan of their music, my appreciation of the Beatles stems as much from what I’ve read about them as what I’ve heard of them.

    I think people (like me? like us?) who didn’t grow up with them don’t have an appreciation for just how groundbreaking they were. Rock & Roll in the ’50s was the exclusive providence of the older, “pretty boys.” Basically, movie stars who could sing. Think Fabian or The Beach Boys. The Beatles inspired every kid in Britain (and later, in the US…) with a bad haircut and a cheap acoustic guitar to try and become a rock star.

    The list of folks who were succesful (and have since acknowledged the Beatles’ role in that) is very impressive: Billy Joel, Eric Clapton and Elton John come immediately to mind, but that’s just a small sample.

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