The Sunday Magazine: Imagine by John Lennon

There are times when it seems like bad outweighs the good in the world. Every week has its share of both; the past week seems to have been shaded a little darker. Events which took place in Beirut on Thursday and Paris on Friday are those which somehow seem to attach to my psyche the most. When a terrorist act is committed in the name of a cause it causes me to wonder at the why of it all. My emotions are in a jumble for days afterward. They ping pong from despair to anger. Except today I was reminded how healing music can be.

While I was reading an update on the news there was a link to the impromptu performance above. An anonymous piano player wheeled his piano out in front of the music venue which was attacked in Paris, the Bataclan theatre, and played one single song. While I watched it a large amount of my malaise was lifted away. It wasn’t the quality of the performance that did that. It was the song being played which made me feel better. It also allowed me to consider what a powerful statement that song is on our world almost 44 years to the day after it was released. That song is Imagine by John Lennon.

Imagine was the first single off the second post- The Beatles album Mr. Lennon recorded.  It was released in October of 1971 and is the best-selling song of Mr. Lennon’s solo career. It is musically one of the more simple compositions you will hear in a popular song. Which allows a listener to focus on the lyrics.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

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
Living 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

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

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 live as one

It is a dream of course as there are no currently practical ways of making most of what is asked for here to become reality. What always touches me when I hear Imagine is that it is an aspiration for a world where the good far outweighs the bad. Today I needed a reminder that the good most often is in ascendance. Imagine was that reminder of that as played by a man on the street in Paris.

Mark Behnke