Dec. 8 marks the 35th anniversary of when The Beatles singer, John Lennon, was senselessly murdered. In the name of peace, let’s countdown some of the best covers of John’s plea for love in song form, ‘Imagine.’
“Imagine” is one of the greatest songs of all time, and everyone from Lady Gaga to Coldplay has covered the heart-wrenching John Lennon tune, originally released in 1971. On Dec. 8, 2015, the 35th anniversary of John’s brutal murder at the hands of a lunatic, the song is perhaps more poignant than ever. To celebrate Mr. Lennon’s enduring legacy, and raise our voices in a call for peace, let’s take a listen to 8 (in no particular order) of the best covers of all time!
Lady Gaga: The 29-year-old songstress has been covering “Imagine” for years, however, her rendition at the 2015 Baku European Games in June set the internet ablaze with its power and potency. Perched at a grand piano which had been adorned with flowers, Gaga let her voice garner all the attention and it was just one of many times where audiences were reminded that, dang, that Lady can sing.
Coldplay: Coldplay knows a thing or two about singing tunes with both social and emotional poignancy, and when they tackled “Imagine” at a Los Angeles concert in November of this year, it just felt right. Chris Martin‘s voice is profoundly different from John’s, yet carries the same unique ability to strike the human heart at its core.
David Archuleta: Maybe you’ve stopped thinking about the golden throated prodigy who nearly walked away with American Idol‘s seventh season crown at the age of just 16. Well, we have not, and his top 24 performance of “Imagine” in 2008 remains one of the most beautiful. Following the performance, judge Paula Abdul said, “I want to squeeze your head off and dangle you from my rearview mirror,” and, like, agreed.
Madonna: Being honest, no list would be complete without Madonna (any and all lists, including grocery and Christmas). Madge covered “Imagine” in order to benefit the victims of the 2012 tsunami in Japan and we are sure it caused viewers to open up their wallets (while grabbing for a tissue).
Avril Lavigne: Speaking of belting for good, Avril recorded a version of “Imagine” back in 2007 to aid those struggling in Darfur. One of few artists bold enough to get in the studio and really lay into the song, Avril put her own spin on the monster tune, while remaining authentic to its soul. She also shot an accompanying video (which didn’t land quite as well, but A for effort), which you can watch below.
Pink, Seal and India Arie: Talk about a collaboration! Accompanied by famed pianist Herbie Hancock, these three vocal titans performed a trio of the song and it isn’t a stretch to say that three times the talent factored out into three times the tears.
Elton John: Is an explanation even necessary here? No. He performed the song in 1980, in Central Park, right next to The Dakota in New York City, where John was killed. The two performed together on multiple occasions, and beyond that, were good friends.
Glee: Basically every time the dearly departed Glee is mentioned, it invokes sobs, so revisiting the first season cover of “Imagine”– which featured both deaf and hearing actors singing and signing– is a guaranteed ticket to smeared-mascara city. You’re welcome?
Which of the above is your favorite cover of “Imagine”? Did we miss any great ones?