World of Chig   


“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”

#8 ImagineJohn Lennon

[473] Writer: John Lennon. Producers: John Lennon, Yoko Ono & Phil Spector
27 Dec 80 – 13 weeks on chart – #1 for 4 weeks from 10 Jan 81
(Previously #6 in 11 week run from 01 Nov 75. Also #45 in 5 week run from 10 Dec 88 and #3 from 25 Dec 99 in two runs totalling 13 weeks.)

Relax, it's not Elton John...not yet, anyway

Both of the songs which have been big hits before, and then made number one for the first time on re-release, are high in our chart. We’ve just had ‘Space Oddity’ at #12 and now it’s the turn of ‘Imagine’, which only made #6 on its first outing, five years earlier. It took a hasty re-release after Lennon’s murder for it to make top the charts, but if there’s anything to thank Mark Chapman for, it’s for restricting ‘There’s No One Quite Like Grandma’ by St. Winifred’s School Choir to just two weeks on top.

‘Imagine’ was only knocked off the #1 spot by Lennon’s own ‘Woman’. I think this was the first case of two consecutive posthumous UK number ones, and still possibly the only case of it happening with the same artist. It did happen again in 2002 though, thanks to George Harrison and Aaliyah.

The novelty acts soon exacted their revenge on Lennon for deposing ‘Grandma’ and his six weeks on top were ended by Joe Dolce Music Theatre’s ‘Shaddap You Face’; a record which features a few times in your ‘worst number ones’ suggestions (as did St. Winifred’s themselves). Joe Dolce in turn famously deprived ‘Vienna’, but that’s another story.

‘Imagine’ is my own personal #2, and I won’t hear a word said against it. I think you have to be pretty cynical and hard-hearted not to be moved by its pacifist message. Yes, I know people say ‘imagine no possessions’ being sung by one of the richest entertainers in the world is hypocritical, but that’s nonsense. Are you not supposed to have an opinion, or a conscience, just because you earn a bit of money? Lennon put his views on the line, even when they were unpopular (see Vietnam war), and dared to put the wind up the establishment. Maybe he wasn’t the best politician in the world, but he was still inspiring (to me and many others), especially with this song. It’s the vile people like Liam Gallagher, riding along on Lennon’s coat-tails when he’s done nothing to advance humankind, who should really be the targets of people’s cynicism. Here endeth the lesson.

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