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Analysis of John Lennon's Song 'Imagine'

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The song Imagine is composed by John Lennon in March 1971 and was originally inspired by a book called Grapefruit written by Yoko Ono. During this time the Vietnam War played a big role in society because a few years earlier, in 1968, the horrible Tet offensive took place. That was when North Vietnam attacked the American base in Khe Sanh. It resulted in the death of 205 American soldiers (1600 was wounded) and over 1000 south Vietnamese soldiers’ death. For North Vietnam, the attack was a catastrophe with between 10 and 15 thousand soldiers falling, although it was an important win psychologically and propaganda wise. The war was between communist North Vietnam and Viet Cong and South Vietnam and the United States. It was an ongoing war from 1955 to when Ho Chi Minh with his troops from North Vietnam took over South Vietnam and the U.S. forces retreated in 1975. Many people died during the war, approximately 2-3 million people. Souls around the world started to protest against the war as they had seen pictures and films from the war on television. It even brought up difficulties in the diplomatic relationships between Sweden and the United States. Very many people protested because they saw how many soldiers and civilians were dying, they also thought that the U.S shouldn’t have interfered in the conflict.

The meaning of the song is to send out peace to the world. John Lennon uses repetition and repeats the word “imagine” throughout the song. He does this because he wants the listener to imagine a place where everyone’s the same. “Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can” Here he asks a rhetorical question to the listener that makes you think if it is actually possible to imagine no possessions. To imagine a place where you would have to put aside your selfishness and greed. He also hopes that someday the world will be as one which is a hyperbole since he doesn’t mean that the world should literally be as one. “I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will be as one” He is also trying to tell us that we should live for today and not worry about the future too much. “No hell below us Above us only sky. Imagine all the people Living for today… Aha-ah…”. The hell is symbolizing something bad and the only thing that is above us is the sky which is a symbol of something great. John Lennon is trying to tell us that we shouldn’t be worried about going to hell which goes against religion. “Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too”. So basically that we shouldn’t think that much about what happens in the future and just live for today and make the best out of it.

The song’s message could also be associated with these groups and events, for example, Band-Aid, 1984. They were a group of British and Irish elite musicians, led by Bob Geldof, who was formed to make a fundraising event in Ethiopia. They recorded the song ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’. They received tremendous support throughout the world and encouraged a sense of solidarity globally.

In conclusion, there was also a group of well-known musicians/artists who collaborated for fundraising for people starving in Africa which was called USA for Africa, 1985. They played together in the song ‘We Are the World’ that was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie. It was even more based on global solidarity to eradicate hunger and poverty. The original idea in the early years was to counter violence, racism, and xenophobia in Borlänge and Dalarna. After a while, the work went on to spread positive values ​​around the keywords of diversity, difference and, understanding. All of these events and groups have the same message as John Lennon’s song imagine because they want to affect the world in a good way.  

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Analysis of John Lennon’s Song ‘Imagine’. (2022, August 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from
“Analysis of John Lennon’s Song ‘Imagine’.” GradesFixer, 30 Aug. 2022,
Analysis of John Lennon’s Song ‘Imagine’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Sept. 2022].
Analysis of John Lennon’s Song ‘Imagine’ [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Aug 30 [cited 2022 Sept 29]. Available from:
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