John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ is the worst song ever, according to Frank Turner

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In 1991, Elvis Costello released ‘The Other Side of Summer’, a track which poked fun at John Lennon, Roger Waters and David Bowie in one verse. When it came to criticising the Beatles frontman, Costello highlighted the irony in his hit ‘Imagine,’ saying, “Was it a millionaire who said ‘Imagine no possessions?’” It turns out he isn’t the only artist who feels slightly short-changed by this hypocrisy, as it also rubbed Frank Turner the wrong way. 

When asked to talk about songs that he didn’t like, Frank Turner didn’t hesitate to offer up John Lennon’s ‘Imagine.’ Before getting into the meaning of the song, he first blamed his disdain on the fact that it is widely considered one of Lennon’s best, which he doesn’t think is fair.

“It’s always grated on me as a song for a whole host of reasons,” said Turner when discussing the track, “The production, the lyrics, the sappiness, its popularity, the knowledge that Lennon was so much better than this one song, and yet it’s the one most people know.”

On top of that, though, Turner took particular umbrage with the hypocrisy surrounding the song. Latching on to Costello’s sentiment from the ‘90s, Turner found it off that Lennon would rant so much about dismissing the importance of possessions while also notoriously being an incredibly materialistic person. “That’s one of the things that’s so fucking annoying about it,” he said. 

“It’s a Hallmark card set to music. There’s a pretty high dose of hypocrisy in here,” said Turner, “For a man who had a dedicated, refrigerated room in his New York penthouse apartment for storing his fur-coat collection to sing ‘Imagine no possessions,’ takes a fair amount of chutzpah.” 

It’s not the first piece of music criticised for the artist not practising what they preach. Many bands these days, especially those who play punk music, are thrown into the spotlight when it is revealed that they had an upbringing which isn’t reflective of the kind of music they make. Fans tend to feel slightly let down when they connect with a song on a deep and personal level, but the person responsible for creating this thing they connect with doesn’t actually champion the message in the way they thought.

This is particularly poignant for Frank Carter. Given his punk background, the overall message in ‘Imagine’ is something that he can get on board with. Still, it frustrates him that the person singing it isn’t doing so genuinely, given they have a lot of possessions and probably couldn’t imagine life without them.

Music is compelling when it comes to acknowledging feelings we might not have ever said out loud. In that sense, any political or personal message conveyed in music must be done so genuinely. Given the life of luxury John Lennon had, it isn’t that hard to believe that some people would struggle to get on board with the message in ‘Imagine.’

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