Pop Culture

John Lennon's son performed 'Imagine' for the first time after swearing he never would

"Within this song, we’re transported to a space, where love and togetherness become our reality, if but for a moment in time."

julian lennon, john lennon, imagine

John and Julian Lennon both performing "Imagine."

In 1971, a year after the break-up of the Beatles, John Lennon released his most important piece of music, the song “Imagine.” The song is an appeal to humanity’s better angels and urges the listener to "join us" in visualizing a world without war, hunger or greed.

The song provides a glimmer of hope in that if we can visualize a perfect world, then maybe one day it will be achievable.

Over the past 50 years, the song has become a secular hymn that can conjure hope in the aftermath of the most tragic events. The song was played by Queen at Wembley Arena after Lennon was murdered in 1980. Steve Wonder sang it at the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics to honor the lives of those lost at the Centennial Olympic Park bombing. Neil Young played it at the 9/11 Tribute to Heroes concert.

“Imagine” is also seen as Lennon’s signature song that encapsulates his artistic persona. No small feat given the earth-shattering effect the songs he wrote with the Beatles have had on the world.


Given the song’s incredible power, Lennon’s son Julian vowed never to perform it in public. Julian has had success as a musician over the years, most notably with his 1984 hit, “Too Late for Goodbyes.” He’s also a philanthropist who has produced numerous documentaries.

The war in Ukraine pushed Julian to break his vow and he performed a beautiful rendition of “Imagine” as part of Global Citizen’s social media rally, “Stand Up For Ukraine” on April 8. The campaign is working to raise money for the war-torn country.

Julian was accompanied for the performance by guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, who is best known as the lead guitarist of the Boston rock band Extreme and a member of Rihanna's touring band.

"The War on Ukraine is an unimaginable tragedy... As a human, and as an artist, I felt compelled to respond in the most significant way I could," Lennon wrote. "So today, for the first time ever, I publicly performed my Dad’s song, IMAGINE. Why now, after all these years? — I had always said, that the only time I would ever consider singing ‘IMAGINE’ would be if it was the ‘End of the World’…But also because his lyrics reflect our collective desire for peace worldwide.

“Because within this song, we’re transported to a space, where love and togetherness become our reality, if but for a moment in time… The song reflects the light at the end of the tunnel, that we are all hoping for…" he continued.

“As a result of the ongoing murderous violence, millions of innocent families, have been forced to leave the comfort of their homes, to seek asylum elsewhere,” Lennon concluded his message. “I’m calling on world leaders and everyone who believes in the sentiment of IMAGINE, to stand up for refugees everywhere! Please advocate and donate from the heart. #StandUpForUkraine.”

Lennon’s decision to never play “Imagine” was a wonderful way to honor his father’s legacy by respecting the power of his song. But John would probably be proud if he knew that he sang it at a time when we all need to imagine “all the people living life in peace.”

Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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Sandy Hook school shooting survivors are growing up and telling us what they've experienced.

This story originally appeared on 12.15.21


Imagine being 6 years old, sitting in your classroom in an idyllic small town, when you start hearing gunshots. Your teacher tries to sound calm, but you hear the fear in her voice as she tells you to go hide in your cubby. She says, "be quiet as a mouse," but the sobs of your classmates ring in your ears. In four minutes, you hear more than 150 gunshots.

You're in the first grade. You wholeheartedly believe in Santa Claus and magic. You're excited about losing your front teeth. Your parents still prescreen PG-rated films so they can prepare you for things that might be scary in them.

And yet here you are, living through a horror few can fathom.

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