John Lennon was an English singer and songwriter who co-founded the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. When the group disbanded in 1970, Lennon embarked on a solo career that produced numerous number one hits, including Imagine. He was assassinated in 1980.
By 2012, Lennon’s solo album sales in the U.S. exceeded 14 million and, as writer, co-writer or performer, he is responsible for 25 number one singles. In 2008, Rolling Stone ranked him the fifth-greatest singer of all time. He was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, as a member of the Beatles in 1988 and as a solo artist in 1994.
Imagine is the best-selling single of Lennon’s solo career. Its lyrics encourage the listener to imagine a world at peace without the barriers of borders or the divisions of religion and nationality, and to consider the possibility that the focus of humanity should be living a life unattached to material possessions. Imagine is one of the 100 most-performed songs of the 20th Century, ranking number 30 on the Recording Industry Association of America’s list of the “365 Songs of the Century bearing the most historical significance.” It earned a Grammy, Hall of Fame Award and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.”