Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review: Imagine: The Story of a Song

IMAGINE: The Story of a SongIMAGINE: The Story of a Song by Charles J. Shields

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I try not to thrust myself in the middle of a book review, but this time I refuse to restrain myself. Charles Shields takes one of my favorite songs, an anthem for peace, and provides backstory on how the song was written. This slender book treats the song with the dignity it deserves. By delving into the backgrounds of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, of their formative years against war-torn Japan and England, the privations they suffered and their dedication to their respective art forms, he brings a new dimension to appreciating a song that defines a generation and defies time.

Many who came to love John Lennon's music more recently mistake this for a Beatles song. By the time this was written, the Beatles were no more. Couple this with "Give Peace a Chance." Lennon and Ono were on a path to share messages of peace and love through music. Imagine might be the best song written by Lennon. It might be the best song ever written. That's a matter of personal preference. For me, it's the voice of my generation seeking to give mankind a second chance to "get it right."

This slim volume is not a book about the Beatles. Not a book about John Lennon himself. A book about a song, what influenced the writer, how it came into being, what was happening in the life of the writer and singer.

I recommend this to anyone who has ever been moved by lyrics and melody. Imagine has both. If I could write any song ever, it would be this one.

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