Yoko Ono’s contribution to John Lennon’s signature song is being officially recognized.
At the annual meeting of the National Music Publishers Association on Wednesday, CEO David Israelite honored “Imagine” with the organization’s Centennial Song award and announced that Ono will receive a co-writing credit on the 1971 track, in accordance with her late husband’s wishes.
Delivering the news, Israelite played an archival interview clip in which Lennon said the song “should be credited as a Lennon-Ono song because a lot of it — the lyric and the concept — came from Yoko. But those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted to mention her contribution. But it was right out of Grapefruit, her book. There’s a whole pile of pieces about ‘Imagine this’ and ‘Imagine that.'”
Israelite said, “While things may have been different in 1971, today I am glad to say things have changed. So tonight it is my distinct honor to correct the record some 48 years later and recognize Yoko Ono as a co-writer of the NMPA centennial song ‘Imagine,’ and to present Yoko Ono with this well-deserved credit.”
Sean Lennon, the son of Ono and Lennon, captured the moment on Instagram and called it the “proudest day of my life.” He also said the news brought tears to his mother’s eyes and added, “Patience is a virtue!”
Proudest day of my life: The National Music Publishers Association just gave the centennial (song of the century) award to Imagine, but WAIT! Surprise! They played an audio interview of my father saying (approximately) 'Imagine should've been credited as a Lennon/Ono song, if it had been anyone other than my wife I would've given them credit.' Cut to: my mother welling up in tears, and then Patti and Jesse Smith @michiganmanhattan Imagine! Patience is a virtue! ✌️❤✌️❤✌️❤✌️ (PS they officially declared Imagine to be a Lennon/Ono song and gave my mother a second award! 🙏)