John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ Receives Star-Studded Olympics Tribute
John Lennon received a star-studded tribute last night during the Olympic Games’ opening ceremony in Tokyo, with John Legend, Keith Urban and several other artists teaming up to perform his classic “Imagine.”
The Olympic Games opened in spectacular fashion on Friday after previously being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. After the masked athletes entered the empty Olympic Stadium, 1,824 drones soared above the venue, forming the symbol for the Tokyo Olympics and morphing into a revolving globe.
As the drones floated above the stadium, Legend and Urban began performing "Imagine," accompanied by Grammy-winning Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz, Beninese singer-songwriter and activist Angelique Kidjo and the Suginami Children’s Choir.
You can see a snippet of the performance below.
The performance appeared to have earned the approval of Yoko Ono, who retweeted several videos of the opening ceremony. In one tweet, she also discussed meeting and living with Lennon, as well as their shared beliefs that inspired "Imagine."
"John and I were both artists and we were living together, so we inspired each other," Ono wrote. "The song 'Imagine' embodied what we believed together at the time. John and I met – he comes from the West and I come from the East – and still we are together."
Released in October 1971, "Imagine" peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became Lennon's best-selling solo single, while its accompanying album topped the Billboard 200.
It is one of the most widely covered songs of all time, and it has appeared in previous Olympic ceremonies. Stevie Wonder performed the song at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta as a tribute to the victims of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing, while the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir and the Liverpool Signing Choir performed it at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.