'Imagine' This: How John Lennon and George Harrison Teamed Up to Record a Classic Album in 1971

Left: John Lennon with his Beatles-era Epiphone Casino during the Imagine sessions in early 1971. Right: George Harrison tunes a Fender Strat during the Imagine sessions; Harrison’s playing can be heard on half the album (Image credit: Kieron "Spud" Murphy)

In the wintry early months of 1971, John Lennon embarked on a recording project that would prove to be momentous in its influence on rock music and the world at large. The album’s title track is still sung today at protest marches, sporting events, pop concerts, prayer vigils and anywhere else people gather in unity. It will most likely still be sung and treasured for many years to come.

The Imagine album ranks high among Lennon’s towering musical achievements, both as a solo artist and with the Beatles. At turns brutally honest and achingly intimate, the record opened up new vistas of expressiveness for songwriters and creative artists in every medium.

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Alan di Perna

In a career that spans five decades, Alan di Perna has written for pretty much every magazine in the world with the word “guitar” in its title, as well as other prestigious outlets such as Rolling Stone, Billboard, Creem, Player, Classic Rock, Musician, Future Music, Keyboard, grammy.com and reverb.com. He is author of Guitar Masters: Intimate Portraits, Green Day: The Ultimate Unauthorized History and co-author of Play It Loud: An Epic History of the Sound Style and Revolution of the Electric Guitar. The latter became the inspiration for the Metropolitan Museum of Art/Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibition “Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll.” As a professional guitarist/keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist, Alan has worked with recording artists Brianna Lea Pruett, Fawn Wood, Brenda McMorrow, Sat Kartar and Shox Lumania.