John Lennon's son Julian sings 'Imagine' for the first time to raise money for Ukraine

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 1: Julian Lennon attends MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Joni Mitchell at the MGM Grand Marquee Ballroom on April 1, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Julian Lennon attends MusiCares Person of the Year. (FilmMagic)

John Lennon's son Julian has covered 'Imagine' to help raise money for those affected by the conflict in Ukraine.

It is the first time he has ever publicly performed his father's iconic 1971 song. Alongside the clip of him performing, Julian wrote: “Today, for the first time ever, I publicly performed my Dad’s song, ‘Imagine’. The song reflects the light at the end of the tunnel, that we are all hoping for."

The release of the cover is part of the Stand Up For Ukraine campaign, a fundraising effort to help those affected by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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Lennon performed an acoustic version of the song in a darkened room accompanied by candles.

He also opened up on why he chose to perform the song: “I had always said, that the only time I would ever consider singing ‘Imagine’ would be if it was the end of the world.

"The war on Ukraine is an unimaginable tragedy. As a human, and as an artist, I felt compelled to respond in the most significant way I could.”

10th December 1968:  British musicians Eric Clapton, John Lennon (1940 - 1980) - with his wife, artist Yoko Ono and his son Julian - and Brian Jones (1942 - 1969) pictured at a press conference at Internel Studios in Stonebridge Park, Wembley, for the Rolling Stones' Rock & Roll Circus project.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Julian Lennon sat on the knee of his father John Lennon in 1968. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Lennon also commented on what 'Imagine' means to him: “Within this song, we’re transported to a space, where love and togetherness become our reality, if but for a moment in time…The song reflects the light at the end of the tunnel, that we are all hoping for.”

'Imagine' was originally released in 1971 and is considered John Lennon's defining solo single. It was also his best-selling and reached number three on the US charts.

1971:  Cover of the John Lennon classic album
Cover of the John Lennon classic album "Imagine", released in 1971. (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

In the years since its release, it has been one of the most covered songs of all time and was also inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

Other famous covers of the song include versions by Dolly Parton, Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder.

It was famously covered by Gal Gadot and a host of stars at the start of the pandemic, which was widely criticised for being 'tone deaf'.

Gadot responded to criticism of the viral video saying: “I had nothing but good intentions.”

In the video, which she posted on video in March at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the Wonder Woman star sang the intro to the 1971 classic before a host of celebrities took it in turns to sing portions of the song – including Natalie Portman, Jamie Dornan, Sia, Pedro Pascal, Zoe Kravitz, Will Ferrell and Norah Jones.

The song was widely lampooned, with Ricky Gervais branding it “awful” in an interview with the BBC, while the New York Times said it was “no heaven”.

Watch below: Julian Lennon performs 'Imagine' for the first time