Julian Lennon, who recently released his first public performance of his father‘s “Imagine,” confessed that the experience was not entirely pleasant for him. He said he was “dreading” the day he would have to perform the famous song.
“Let me tell you … since I’ve been in the business, I’ve kind of been dreading the day,” he said. “Because I’d always said that I would only actually sing it if it felt like it was the end of the world, in many respects.”
Lennon’s rendition of the song was part of the Global Citizen social media fundraising campaign Stand Up for Ukraine, which raised billions of dollars in financial relief for Ukraine during the ongoing war with Russia.
You can watch the performance below.
“After watching what’s been going on over the past couple of years, and especially recently with Russia and Ukraine, the people of Global Citizen said, ‘Got anything up your sleeve?'” Lennon recalled. “And I’ve been watching the horrors on TV, as we all have. I just felt this is it. And once I’d said yes, if you thought I had anxiety before, once I’d said, yes, I went, ‘Oh, my God, how am I going to do this, that honors it, and is different and is my own take, but still respects it in every way, shape or form?'”
Julian Lennon was backed by guitarist Nuno Bettencourt in his version of John Lennon’s 1971 classic.
“For me, the only way I could do that was, take it away from the piano, the plunky piano, and do it as raw, as unproduced as possible and as heartfelt as possible,” Lennon said, adding that he plans to release the song as a charity single that will raise money for refugees in Ukraine “and around the world.”
Lennon is also prepping for the release of his next album, Jude, another nod to his musical heritage. “[The album] felt very much a sort of coming of age, I guess,” Lennon said. “Especially as life moves on, you tend to look at your life and look at where you’ve come from.”