Yoko Ono To Receive Songwriting Credit On John Lennon’s ‘Imagine,’ More Than 40 years Later

More than 40 years after John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’ was released, his longtime partner and collaborator, Yoko Ono, will be receiving a songwriting credit on the song.

The surprise announcement was made at an annual meeting of the National Music Publishers Association in New York on Wednesday. They explained the musical move by playing a clip of Lennon saying that the well-known 1971 song should be credited as a Lennon-Ono song.

“A lot of it — the lyric and the concept — came from Yoko,” Lennon said in the clip. “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.'”

84-year-old Ono and her son, Sean Ono Lennon, were at the ceremony to pick up a song of the century award in honour of ‘Imagine,’ and were not expecting the announcement.

“When they officially acknowledged – through my father’s account – that my mother co-wrote ‘Imagine,’ the song of the century, it may have been the happiest day of mine and [my] mother’s life,” Lennon told Billboard.

The process of adding Ono to the ‘Imagine’ writing credits is under way but has not yet been completed, said David Israelite, who runs the National Music Publishers Association. He added that there may be some opposition to the move as, in US law, a song enters the public domain 70 years after the death of its last creator. Obviously attaching Ono’s name to the song will significantly extend the period of time for which it continues to generate income for the rights-holders. However, as Ono is already a beneficiary of Lennon’s estate, the move would not significantly alter the distribution of royalties.

Tags: John Lennon, The Beatles, Yoko Ono

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