How John Lennon Came Up with the Song “Imagine”
Q: Just where did John Lennon come up with the idea for the song IMAGINE?
A: IMAGINE had it's beginnings from poems in Yoko Ono's 1964 book “Grapefruit.”
One poem, “Cloud Piece” can be found on the back of Lennon's “Imagine” album: "Imagine the clouds dripping, dig a hole in your garden to put them in." Lennon himself said "IMAGINE should be credited as a Lennon/Ono song. A lot of it, the lyric and the concept, came from Yoko, but in those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted her contribution, but it was right out of 'Grapefruit'."
Another inspiration for the song came from a Christian prayer book given to Lennon by comedian Dick Gregory. Lennon unknowingly made history in 1971 when he filmed the songs found on the “Imagine” album; it was to be the very first full-length rock video.
Some people have speculated that Lennon based the piano intro of IMAGINE on Procol Harum's WHITER SHADE OF PALE, as John was very fond of that particular song.