September 9, 1971: John Lennon Releases ‘Imagine’
John Lennon’s second studio album, Imagine, was released 50 years ago today (September 9.)
Arriving a mere nine months after his debut solo album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, many were wondering how Lennon would follow up such a massive critical success. Little did anyone know the album would yield Lennon’s most popular solo track.
A painful plea for peace and equality, “Imagine,” of course, would take on a whole new meaning with the sudden and shocking death of Lennon 1980, but with its initial release, it was a perfect companion for the antiwar track “I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier” and “Give Me Some Truth.”
Not everything was peaceful on Imagine, in particular on “How Do You Sleep,” which was aimed at Paul McCartney and is perhaps one of the best slam tracks in rock history. With lyrics like “Those freaks was right when they said you was dead,” “The only thing you done was yesterday” and “The sound you make is muzak to my ears,” “How Do You Sleep” puts many modern-day rap/hip-hop beefs to shame.
The task to follow-up Plastic Ono Band was for sure daunting, but Lennon more than met the challenge and further established himself as a solo force.