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Music

The three songs John Lennon wrote to build a utopic society

John Lennon had political leanings even as early as 1965, when he wrote ‘The Word’, which was a stirring look at the class system, which could be resolved if the world came together under one word: love. Love proved the backbone of his three greatest compositions and the three songs that set out to change the world. There was the orchestral soundscapes of ‘All You Need Is Love’, the sparse blues backdrop of ‘Give Peace A Chance’, and the utopic lyricism of ‘Imagine’, three songs that showed that the world could unite behind one great theme, which was to love and respect one another, in spite of their environmental and religious differences.

For Lennon, it was better that the world respect one another in the hopes that it might create a new sense of unity. Lennon was reaching for something grander and more fleshed out, feeling that the world should recognise the facets that bring them together, as opposed to the differences as a way of halting progress from happening.

Lennon understood that all bones looked the same, and behind the beards, hair and pigments in eyes came the same structure. Humans are propelled by feelings, as their bodily skin covers a human structure that is infinitely more complex and complete than the limitations humans placed upon them.

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Instead of differences, Lennon espoused virtues, and instead of changes, Lennon ached for unity under one topical voice. He was determined to see it through to completion, knowing that there was something grander and more exploratory to be found. He was inspired by Yoko Ono‘s writings, which is why ‘Imagine’ was so vivid and colourful, but Paul McCartney was also a tremendous help, as is evident from his name on the bylines to ‘All You Need Is Love’ and ‘Give Peace A Chance’.

Lennon needed muscle and support to get his messages across to the public, and when he deviated from the guidance of producers George Martin and Phil Spector, his work suffered. Unlike George Harrison, Lennon’s career quickly stumbled into the barrels of the mediocre, and only the most dedicated of Beatle fans ventured past Imagine in his trajectory.

But when he was good, he was one of the most important voices of his generation, and he was certainly one of the most engaging interviewees of his time, happily challenging the limitations of society in the hope of building a grander, more complete future for the next generation of children.

‘All You Need Is Love’, ‘Give Peace A Chance’ and ‘Imagine’ are geared towards the preservation of the next generation of children, and lead many to believe that the world can be pleasant for everyone, as long as enough people picture it as such. McCartney may have been involved in the composition of ‘All You Need Is Love’ and ‘Give Peace A Chance’, but he recognised that Lennon was the true visionary behind the songs, embellishing his sense of truth with splashes of melody and harmony vocals.

Harrison, too, felt that Lennon had a quality to him that he admired, and Ringo Starr’s favourite Beatle was Lennon. Indeed, all three of The Beatles enjoyed their greatest relationship with the rhythm guitarist and brought much of their A-game to his compositions. Tellingly, Lennon didn’t need anyone for what became his strongest and most beloved work, ‘Imagine’.

Whatever bass or strings that were added to the album were done with great tact, and the mix emphasises the power of the words, and the voice speaking them. It truly is a stunning song, and happily concludes a trilogy of songs that set out to build a more utopic society.

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