Please consider registering
Guest
sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register
Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search
Forum Scope


Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
sp_Feed sp_TopicIcon
Let It Be – Imagine
9 August 2016
4.54pm
Avatar
Oudis
Candlestick Park
Members
Forum Posts: 1491
Member Since:
15 May 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I wonder whether this is the right place to post this (*mods wink wink*)

Perhaps this line of reasoning isn’t new, many of you will probably say “Duh, Oudis discovered fire”, but I wonder if John’s Imagine wasn’t a response to Paul’s Let It Be . I mean: both are kind of anthems, aren’t they? Sung and played over and over again all over the world. And Let It Be was released and composed first, in 1970. It has the "Mother Mary" bit that, if I recall correctly, irritated John. So John comes up with Imagine a year later, and there he asks us to think of a world with no Heaven, Hell or religion. Given that in the early days they collaborated but later competed against each other, given the differences in their personalities and ideologies, maybe this is a fair assumption. Anyone care to comment?

Let-It-Be.jpgImage Enlarger

Imagine.jpgImage Enlarger

Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit” (“Perhaps one day it will be a pleasure to look back on even this”; Virgil, The Aeneid, Book 1, line 203, where Aeneas says this to his men after the shipwreck that put them on the shores of Africa)

9 August 2016
6.35pm
Avatar
meanmistermustard
Here when I am. Not when I am not.
Moderator
Members

Reviewers


Moderators
Forum Posts: 22279
Member Since:
1 May 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Oudis said

I wonder whether this is the right place to post this (*mods wink wink*)

Perhaps this line of reasoning isn’t new, many of you will probably say “Duh, Oudis discovered fire”, but I wonder if John’s Imagine wasn’t a response to Paul’s Let It Be . I mean: both are kind of anthems, aren’t they? Sung and played over and over again all over the world. And Let It Be was released and composed first, in 1970. It has the "Mother Mary" bit that, if I recall correctly, irritated John. So John comes up with Imagine a year later, and there he asks us to think of a world with no Heaven, Hell or religion. Given that in the early days they collaborated but later competed against each other, given the differences in their personalities and ideologies, maybe this is a fair assumption. Anyone care to comment?

Let-It-Be.jpgImage Enlarger

Imagine.jpgImage Enlarger
  

'Let It be' was composed in late 1968, rehearsed and mostly recorded in January 1969 with later overdubs recorded in April 1969 and January 1970.

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris) 

"Don't make your love suffer insecurities; Trade the baggage of self to set another one free" ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)

9 August 2016
6.38pm
Avatar
William Shears Campbell
The Great Wall City Of Salt Lake
Rishikesh
Members
Forum Posts: 2971
Member Since:
14 June 2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I've never given that much thought.  That's an interesting insight on the two songs.  I'm sure that's not the only time their songs replied to each other, so it's quite plausible.  I know that stuff happened a bit during the late Beatles/early solo era.

 

 

@Oudis revealed another clue for us all

Let-It-Be.jpgImage Enlarger

Also Paul's on a red background!  PiD confirmed!paul-mccartney-thumb_gif

(sorry I had toa-hard-days-night-paul-11)

The following people thank William Shears Campbell for this post:

pepperland, natureaker

Here | There | Everywhere

The one and only Billy Shears (AKA Paul's Replacement)

2016:2016 Award 1

9 August 2016
6.42pm
Avatar
William Shears Campbell
The Great Wall City Of Salt Lake
Rishikesh
Members
Forum Posts: 2971
Member Since:
14 June 2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

@meanmistermustard said
'Let It be' was composed in late 1968, rehearsed and mostly recorded in January 1969 with later overdubs recorded in April 1969 and January 1970.  

Even with the correct dates, this still works.

Here | There | Everywhere

The one and only Billy Shears (AKA Paul's Replacement)

2016:2016 Award 1

9 August 2016
8.43pm
Avatar
Oudis
Candlestick Park
Members
Forum Posts: 1491
Member Since:
15 May 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Alright @meanmistermustard, I stand corrected:  Let It Be was composed in late 1968, rehearsed and recorded in January 1969 with later overdubs recorded in April 1969 / January 1970. But, do you see my point? Or do you disagree?

Thanks @William Shears Campbell. You put it beautifully: their songs replied to each other.

Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit” (“Perhaps one day it will be a pleasure to look back on even this”; Virgil, The Aeneid, Book 1, line 203, where Aeneas says this to his men after the shipwreck that put them on the shores of Africa)

9 August 2016
8.49pm
Avatar
meanmistermustard
Here when I am. Not when I am not.
Moderator
Members

Reviewers


Moderators
Forum Posts: 22279
Member Since:
1 May 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Never given it any thought. Could be, cound not be.

Has John ever spoken about the inspiration behind writing 'Imagine '?

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris) 

"Don't make your love suffer insecurities; Trade the baggage of self to set another one free" ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)

9 August 2016
9.26pm
Avatar
Beatlebug
Find me where ye echo lays
Moderator

Moderators
Forum Posts: 15314
Member Since:
15 February 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

It's an interesting point, @Oudis -- thanks for bringing it up. 

meanmistermustard shouted out something not obscene
Has John ever spoken about the inspiration behind writing 'Imagine '?  

Joe says

It was inspired by Cloud Piece, an instructional poem dated Spring 1963 that appeared in Yoko Ono's book Grapefruit.

Imagine the clouds dripping.
Dig a hole in your garden to
put them in.

That's all I've heard about it. It could be subconscious plagiarism a-hard-days-night-george-10 

The following people thank Beatlebug for this post:

WeepingAtlasCedars

It verges from the sublime to the ridiculote

Silly-Girl-2016.png Silly-Girl-2017.png bbbadge2018.jpg

New to Forumpool? You can introduce yourself here

9 August 2016
11.09pm
Avatar
O Boogie
Candlestick Park
Members
Forum Posts: 1352
Member Since:
27 April 2015
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

It would've been pretty awkward if Yoko had sued him for that a-hard-days-night-paul-7ahdn_george_06

The following people thank O Boogie for this post:

Beatlebug, WeepingAtlasCedars

 

For tomorrow may rain, so I'll follow the Sun

17 August 2016
3.59pm
Avatar
Oudis
Candlestick Park
Members
Forum Posts: 1491
Member Since:
15 May 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Silly Girl said

Joe says

It was inspired by Cloud Piece, an instructional poem dated Spring 1963 that appeared in Yoko Ono's book Grapefruit.

Imagine the clouds dripping.
Dig a hole in your garden to
put them in.

That's all I've heard about it. It could be subconscious plagiarism a-hard-days-night-george-10   

I wonder where Joe got this information from. Of course John would have to say his inspiration was a poem by his beloved one, not a reply to a song composed by Paul. I don’t think it was subconscious plagiarism, sorry to say @Beatlebug. I think Paul, at that time, was John’s sworn enemy, and Imagine was John’s comeback at Let It Be .

Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit” (“Perhaps one day it will be a pleasure to look back on even this”; Virgil, The Aeneid, Book 1, line 203, where Aeneas says this to his men after the shipwreck that put them on the shores of Africa)

17 August 2016
5.11pm
Avatar
Ron Nasty
Apple rooftop
Members

Reviewers
Forum Posts: 9791
Member Since:
17 December 2012
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Firstly, the inspiration behind Imagine .

Cloud Piece from Grapefruit was certainly a major influence on it, @Beatlebug. The spark for it was the gift of a Christian prayer book given to him and Yoko by American civil rights activist Dick Gregory. John described his intentions with David Sheff during the 1980 Playboy interview:

The concept of positive prayer ... If you can imagine a world at peace, with no denominations of religion — not without religion but without this my God -is-bigger-than-your-God thing — then it can be true ... the World Church called me once and asked, "Can we use the lyrics to 'Imagine ' and just change it to 'Imagine one religion'?" That showed they didn't understand it at all. It would defeat the whole purpose of the song, the whole idea.

Composed, more-or-less, in one morning during early 1971, I see nothing about it that would suggest it is a response or reaction to Paul's Let It Be . To me, it's almost like asking whether John's Woman  was inspired by Paul's My Love.

It's two years after Let It Be , and while there were elements of it John would have done differently, it certainly wasn't a song of Paul's that fell into that group of songs John hated. While the melodies of both have a "hymnal" quality, they are also very of their composer.

John was increasingly writing on piano, and had been since 1968. Most times he would switch his piano compositions to guitar-led recordings. In the instance of Imagine  it was always the "piano ballad".

You make the observation, @Oudis, that Paul sings of Mother Mary while John asks us to imagine a world without division, including those caused by religion. How is John's Utopian vision in any way a reflection on Paul's mother appearing in his dreams to reassure him everything would be alright.

See, you seem to be making a connection between Paul's evocation of Mother Mary, and John's request to imagine a world not divided by religion. John was well aware that Paul's "Mother Mary" was Paul's mother, and not the Virgin Mary, mother of JC.

Your connection, it seems to me, only works if John believed "Mother Mary" was a religious reference from Paul, which he dismissed with his, "Imagine no religion..."

He knew Let It Be  had nothing to do with religion though, but was a son's lament to his lost mother, and the comfort she could still bring him at his most troubled.

There is no connection between the songs lyrically, while musically the only connection is that they are both piano-led songs with a hymnal style.

Paul's was a very personal song, while John was making another attempt at distilling what the world could do with to become a better place.

Plus, John was never shy about saying when he responding to Paul in some way, and John never even hinted at any connection.

The following people thank Ron Nasty for this post:

Beatlebug, Ahhh Girl, SaxonMothersSon, WeepingAtlasCedars

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty

 

The Beatles Non-Canon Poll List

18 August 2016
1.52am
Avatar
Oudis
Candlestick Park
Members
Forum Posts: 1491
Member Since:
15 May 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

OK @Ron Nasty, I see. You’ve raised some valid points. Maybe I’m reading too much into this. For instance, I always thought that “Mother Mary” was a reference to Virgin Mary. And I’ll admit it –it bothered me. Oh how it bothered me. I’ll confess, though, that the connection is still pretty clear to me –but I’ll also admit that such connection may only exist in my mind.

Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit” (“Perhaps one day it will be a pleasure to look back on even this”; Virgil, The Aeneid, Book 1, line 203, where Aeneas says this to his men after the shipwreck that put them on the shores of Africa)

9 February 2017
2.26pm
Avatar
QuarryMan
Rishikesh
Members
Forum Posts: 2588
Member Since:
26 January 2017
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Not sure if any one has said this, but Mother Mary is Paul's mum not the virgin Mary, but it is often misinterpreted to be religious. As for comparisons between the two songs, Imagine is pretty much the greatest song ever written (A few competitors are Like A Rolling Stone, Bohemian Rhapsody, Stairway To Heaven, What A Wonderful World, Can't Help Falling In Love and A Day In The Life ), but I definitely prefer listening to Let It Be , especially the album version with it's soaring solo. 

I think its plausible that John wrote Imagine as a response to Let It Be but there are a couple flaws

a) the aforementioned non spirituality of let it be, rendering the imagine no religion point pointless

b) John reportedly didn't think much of let it be, not in a hatred way, he just thought it wasn't a beatles song. Some people may say his dislike caused him to react against it with imagine but I think he would be far more likely to react to a song he thought was amazing and wanted to beat.

The following people thank QuarryMan for this post:

sir walter raleigh

Tall, dark-haired QuarryMan likes basketball, music, and naturally, boys. He was a valuable participant on the track team. He is one of Freeport's great contributors to the recording world. As for the immediate future, QuarryMan has no plans, but will take life as it comes. 

 

9 February 2017
2.56pm
Avatar
Expert Textpert
In bed.
Rishikesh
Members
Forum Posts: 4430
Member Since:
18 April 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Paul has said that he was aware of the religious dimension of Let It Be .

"This Beatles talk bores me to death.” —John Lennon 

9 February 2017
3.04pm
Avatar
sir walter raleigh
In our yellow (IN OUR YELLOW) submarine (SUBMARINE AHA!)
Rishikesh
Members
Forum Posts: 4509
Member Since:
26 January 2017
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I agree with @QuarryMan that it wasn't a direct response against Let It Be , but an attempt at beating it. Both seem like John and Paul's attempts at "the greatest song ever." 

A typically critism of both songs is that the chords are simple and the message is cheesey, but these two ingredients are what make the songs so timeless and universal. Whether or not John loved or hated Let It Be , he wrote Imagine from a similar place. 

Whether or not you like the songs, both have become known as some of the best songs ever written. 

The following people thank sir walter raleigh for this post:

Timothy

"The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles!"

-Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

"We could ride and surf together while our love would grow"

-Brian Wilson, Surfer Girl

9 February 2017
3.53pm
Avatar
Pablo Ramon
Some Time in NYC
Carnegie Hall
Members
Forum Posts: 503
Member Since:
19 October 2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Good thing Paul didn't go with the "Brother Malcolm" iteration of the lyrics. That would have been less evocative...or evocative of something else entirely. 

17 February 2017
8.29am
Avatar
Zig
The Toppermost of the Poppermost
Moderator

Moderators

Members

Reviewers
Forum Posts: 9807
Member Since:
14 April 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Pablo Ramon said
Good thing Paul didn't go with the "Brother Malcolm" iteration of the lyrics. That would have been less evocative...or evocative of something else entirely.   

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Image Enlarger

The following people thank Zig for this post:

WeepingAtlasCedars, Beatlebug

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, let it roll for all its worth. And all the children boogie.

3 February 2019
5.47am
jimbo80
A Beginning
Members
Forum Posts: 3
Member Since:
30 January 2019
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

On the flip side, do you think Let it Be was a response to Julia ?  That inspired/competitive thing that ran through both of them and we now know Let it Be was written around the time of the White Album .  I always wonder if maybe Paul wasn't open with them at the time that it was about his mum and John just thought it was Paul trying his hand at a religious song (with Aretha in mind).  I would hope John would have been less snooty about it if he had known.

The following people thank jimbo80 for this post:

QuarryMan
3 February 2019
12.56pm
Avatar
sir walter raleigh
In our yellow (IN OUR YELLOW) submarine (SUBMARINE AHA!)
Rishikesh
Members
Forum Posts: 4509
Member Since:
26 January 2017
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Perhaps Paul was inspired to write for his mother after hearing Julia , but I think Paul had more in mind with Let It Be . While Julia is gentle and sweet, with cryptic lyrics that switch between a longing for his mother and a longing for Yoko. Let It Be is a poweful piano ballad with soaring vocals that is aiming to be an anthem for all people. Songs like Bridge Over Troubled Water and Imagine have much more noticeable similarities to Let It Be , which were both inspired by it. 

The following people thank sir walter raleigh for this post:

Beatlebug, TheWalrusWasBrian

"The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles!"

-Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

"We could ride and surf together while our love would grow"

-Brian Wilson, Surfer Girl

9 March 2019
5.04pm
dannyrichardson
A Beginning
Members
Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
9 March 2019
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Wow, this is a pretty interesting take on the two songs. I'm not sure which song I like more. Since I play the piano, I think that Imagine is more unique of a song than Let It Be . However, Let It Be is also a great song to learn on the piano for beginners. 

 

With this being said, "Let It Be " is one of the more popular songs recommended for pianists. I found this list of songs interesting here: https://keyboardkraze.com/five.....-on-piano/

10 March 2019
7.24am
Avatar
QuarryMan
Rishikesh
Members
Forum Posts: 2588
Member Since:
26 January 2017
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

dannyrichardson said
Wow, this is a pretty interesting take on the two songs. I'm not sure which song I like more. Since I play the piano, I think that Imagine is more unique of a song than Let It Be . However, Let It Be is also a great song to learn on the piano for beginners.

  

Welcome to the forum! I think it would have to be Let It Be for me, since I haven't heard it as much and the different versions mean I have different guitar solos to choose from, but I would agree that Imagine is more unique. The lyric is pretty ambitious in terms of content.

Tall, dark-haired QuarryMan likes basketball, music, and naturally, boys. He was a valuable participant on the track team. He is one of Freeport's great contributors to the recording world. As for the immediate future, QuarryMan has no plans, but will take life as it comes. 

 

Forum Timezone: America/Chicago
Most Users Ever Online: 700
Currently Online: AppleScruffJunior
1
Guest(s)
Top Posters:
Starr Shine?: 15584
Ron Nasty: 9791
Necko: 7856
50yearslate: 7554
parlance: 7111
mr. Sun king coming together: 6403
AppleScruffJunior: 6384
Mr. Kite: 6147
trcanberra: 6061
mithveaen: 4621
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 87
Members: 2733
Moderators: 6
Admins: 2
Forum Stats:
Groups: 3
Forums: 44
Topics: 4771
Posts: 329089
Newest Members:
NDDPM, HereThereAndEverywhere_1, wadawano, Hiram@123, Jimmie K
Moderators: Joe: 5061, Zig: 9807, meanmistermustard: 22279, Ahhh Girl: 18422, Beatlebug: 15314, The Hole Got Fixed: 6988
Administrators: Joe: 5061, Ellie: 4