In a video from 1980, John Lennon is shown speaking about Yoko Ono's part in his iconic song "Imagine," written in 1971, announcing that 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." Now, 46 years after the song was released, Ono is getting her credit.
At last night's annual National Music Publishers Association meeting, held at Cipriani in Manhattan, "Yoko and Sean Ono Lennon received the organization’s new Centennial Song award for 'Imagine'," Variety reports, adding that NMPA CEO David Israelite played the above audio from the Lennon interview "and announced that in accordance with Lennon’s wish, Yoko will be added to the song as a co-writer." The process to make it happen is underway, though at the event, Israelite told Variety that there "may be some opposition to the move at some point along the way—a song enters the public domain 70 years after the death of its last creator, and adding Yoko will significantly extend the number of years that the song will generate income for its writers."
Update: Downtown Music Publishing, who manages the song catalogs of both John Lennon and Yoko Ono has clarified that "under US Copyright Law, the song, originally published in 1971, has a fixed term of copyright of 95 years from its initial publication."
Here are John and Yoko performing the song in 1972 at Madison Square Garden:
Ono, now 84-years-old, took the stage with her and Lennon's son, Sean, who pushed her in a wheelchair. Ono is currently "suffering from an unclear flu-like ailment." She told the audience, "This is the best time of my life."
Patti Smith was also on hand, and gave an emotional performance of the song with her daughter Jesse Smith.
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! 🙏)
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