The lyrics were integral to the sessions. “John had printed out these sheets with the lyrics on them really big, so you knew what the song was about. I always really listened to the song and the words.” The concept and lyrics of the title track were largely inspired by the event scores in Ono’s book Grapefruit, a masterpiece of 1960s concept art in its own right. “Yoko was really something long before John Lennon was even in the picture. She had such an important part in everything John was doing.”
As soon as they first played Imagine, Voormannn knew it was unique. “Each song on the album had a different mood, it really hit you in a different part of your body. But when we played Imagine and heard the lyrics, the possibility that this was going to be such a big song was apparent. It definitely was. I even thought I didn’t want to play on it because it was so amazing with just John playing piano. It was so true and honest. It makes you think and it touches you at the same time. And to this day, John’s version is untouchable.”
Klaus Voormann is one of the contributors to Imagine John Yoko, the definitive inside story of the making of the legendary album, personally curated and compiled by Yoko Ono with exclusive, previously unpublished photos and footage as well as testimonies from those who were there.
Words by Eliza Apperly.