The singer-songwriter son of Beatle John Lennon presented the cover version of his father’s ode to peace as part of the Stand Up For Ukraine campaign, a global fund-raising effort broadcast from Warsaw, Poland.
In the past, Julian has been vocal about his decision not to sing Imagine because it is his father's song and he didn't want to be viewed as "cashing in" on his father's fame.
During the concert, he said that he decided to sing it because he felt his father would have supported his efforts to help the victims of war in Ukraine.
"Imagine" was John Lennon's song, so it's not surprising that when Julian Lennon took the stage in Poland to perform it at a fundraising event for Ukrainian war orphans, the audience was completely blown away.
Broken Vow for a cause
His performance was even more remarkable because of the vow he had made to never perform the song. "It's just too personal," he told Rolling Stone in 1984. "I think I've only ever played it publicly once when I did 'The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. And I said to myself, 'You know what? You should have never done that.' But I did."
For years, Julian kept his promise to himself and never sang "Imagine" again… until now.
Lennon, 59, wrote on YouTube:
“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. Why now, after all these years? - I had always said, that the only time I would ever consider singing ‘IMAGINE' would be if it was the ‘End of the World’… But also because his lyrics reflect our collective desire for peace worldwide. Because within this 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... As a result of the ongoing murderous violence, millions of innocent families, have been forced to leave the comfort of their homes, to seek asylum elsewhere. I’m calling on world leaders and everyone who believes in the sentiment of IMAGINE, to stand up for refugees everywhere! Please advocate and donate from the heart. #StandUpForUkraine” —Julian Lennon
Check out my mashup
I am a big fan of both John and Julian Lennon, so it was quite the treat to see them both perform together/ with each other in a mashup video I made. The video is composed of Julian's cover and John Lennon singing it live in 1975. The mashup was enough to give me goosebumps! I think this is a beautiful song, sung beautifully. It's not often you get to hear something like this.