Yoko Ono Will Share Credit for John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’: NY Times

June 19, 2017


“Imagine,” John Lennon’s seminal 1971 ballad for a utopian future without religion, borders or property, is getting a co-writer: Lennon’s widow and collaborator, Yoko Ono.

David Israelite, the chief executive of the National Music Publishers Association, announced at an industry event in New York on Wednesday, at which “Imagine” was honored with the association’s “Centennial Song” award, that Ms. Ono would be added as a writer.

“Tonight, it is my distinct honor to correct the record some 48 years later, and recognize Yoko Ono as a co-writer,” Mr. Israelite said at the ceremony, calling the credit, while belated, “well-deserved,” according to Billboard.

Ms. Ono, 84, attended the event, where the rapper and producer Pharrell Williams was also honored, for his songwriting.

Mr. Israelite told Variety that the process of adding the credit is ongoing, and is yet to be confirmed.

Extracts from a 1980 BBC interview in which Lennon said that Ms. Ono should share credit for the song were aired as part of the event. The song "should be credited as a Lennon-Ono song, because a lot of it, the lyric and the concept, came from Yoko,” Lennon said in the interview.

“Those days, I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted to mention her contribution,” he added, noting that the song makes direct reference to Ms. Ono’s 1964 book, “Grapefruit.”

First released in 1971, “Imagine” was an instant hit, but its popularity ballooned further still after Lennon was killed in Manhattan in 1980.

Ms. Ono posted the news of her inclusion as a co-writer on Twitter after Wednesday night’s event, and her son, Sean Lennon, wrote on his Facebook page that the announcement of the joint credit had come as a surprise.