Yoko One Will Finally Get Credit For Cowriting 1 Of The Greatest Songs Of All Time

Photo: Susan Wood/Getty Images.
An iconic female artist is finally getting credit for co-creating one of the most popular, universally beloved, and influential songs of the 20th century. On Wednesday, 84-year-old Yoko Ono was honored with an award and official songwriting credit for "Imagine," the 1971 rock ballad she cowrote with late husband and collaborator John Lennon.
Entertainment Weekly reports that National Music Publishers Association CEO David Israelite announced the thrilling news at the group's annual meeting — posthumously granting the wish of her partner, as Israelite revealed in an archival interview clip. In the clip, Lennon said the widely covered track "should be credited as a Lennon-Ono song," per EW. "Because a lot of it — the lyric and the concept — came from Yoko. But those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted to mention her contribution." Israelite added, "While things may have been different in 1971, today I am glad to say things have changed. So tonight it is my distinct honor to correct the record some 48 years later and recognize Yoko Ono as a co-writer of the NMPA centennial song ‘Imagine,’ and to present Yoko Ono with this well-deserved credit."
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The Beatles founding member, who was assassinated at age 40 in 1980, also explained in the recording that the idea and words for "Imagine" came from Ono's 1964 title Grapefruit, a volume of her conceptual art and lyrical poetry. "It was right out of Grapefruit, her book. There’s a whole pile of pieces about ‘Imagine this’ and ‘Imagine that." The inspiration came specifically from "Cloud Piece" ("Now imagine letting a goldfish swim across the sky... Then imagine the clouds dripping. Dig a hole in your garden to put them in.")
While it has long been established that Ono deserves songwriting credit for the song, Ono officially receiving recognition for her work is long overdue and extremely gratifying for the artist and her fans — as well as her son, Sean Lennon. He shared the monumental news via a triumphant Instagram post in which described the emotional moment. "Proudest day of my life: The National Music Publishers Association just gave the centennial (song of the century) award to Imagine," he wrote alongside a photo of himself, his mother, punk rock icon Patti Smith, and her daughter Jesse. "But WAIT! Surprise! They played an audio interview of my father saying (approximately) 'Imagine should've been credited as a Lennon/Ono song, if it had been anyone other than my wife I would've given them credit'... Cut to: my mother welling up in tears." He added, "PS they officially declared Imagine to be a Lennon/Ono song and gave my mother a second award!"
It's hard to overstate the impact of "Imagine," which Rolling Stone deems the third greatest song of all time. The beautiful anthem has been covered by every major artist, from Diana Ross and Elton John to Madonna and Lady Gaga. More importantly, it has been used for decades as a powerful rallying cry for peace and unity in times of sociopolitical upheaval and tragedy around the world. (A recent example: this moving piano performance on the streets of Paris following the November 2015 terrorist attack at the Bataclan.)
In 2006, President Jimmy Carter said, "As you know, in many countries around the world — my wife and I have visited about 125 countries — you hear John Lennon's song 'Imagine' used almost equally with national anthems. So John Lennon has had a major impact on some of the countries that are developing in the world." And now, nearly five damn decades after the fact, it is finally official: Yoko Ono did, too.

Taking mum to the National Music Publisher's Association for the song of century! Will keep y'all posted! @yokoonoofficial

A post shared by Sean Ono Lennon (@sean_ono_lennon) on

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