Yoko Ono releases stripped-down cover of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ to mark his birthday

John Lennon and Yoko Ono chat with host Dick Cavett, May 1971. Ann Limongello / ABC via Getty Images

Oct. 9, 2018 marked the 78th birthday of late Beatles frontman John Lennon, and on Tuesday morning, his widow, Yoko Ono, unveiled a stripped-down cover of his world peace-inspired song, Imagine.

The cover was put out to celebrate the legacy of her husband and to push the release of her upcoming studio album, Warzone — which consists of 13 re-imaginings of her previous recordings from 1970 to 2009.

WATCH BELOW: Yoko Ono’s rendition of Imagine

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Shortly before his death, Lennon revealed that Ono had a great hand in helping to create Imagine and that he was selfish not to credit her. She was an “influence and inspiration” and because of it, she was finally credited as a co-writer by the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) in the summer of 2017.

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NMPA CEO, David Israelite, made the announcement.

“It is my distinct honour to correct the record 48 years later and recognize Yoko Ono as a co-writer of the song, Imagine, and to present her with this well-deserved credit.”

Fans on social media met Ono’s take on the Lennon classic with much positive and emotional feedback.

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Lennon’s birthday has seen an enormous amount of celebration this year. Imagine (The Ultimate Collection) was also released to commemorate the late singer’s legacy. The massive six-disc, 140-track box set, featuring mostly unreleased material from the Imagine sessions, is produced by Ono and the legendary Phil Spector.

Engineer Paul Hicks wrote, “Ono wanted the songs to be totally faithful and respectful to the originals, be generally sonically clearer overall and should increase the clarity of John’s vocals.”

After more than six months of renovation, one of Ono’s art projects was completed over the weekend, also coinciding with Lennon’s birthday. Called Sky, the six painted mosaics were revealed in 72nd Street Station in New York City. The station sits under Ono’s home at The Dakota (where she also lived with Lennon before his death), and is highly trafficked by people making a pilgrimage between her and Lennon’s home and his Strawberry Fields memorial. She says the art is a tribute to Lennon.

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“I’m thrilled that Sky will be opening just steps from my home and Strawberry Fields. I created it in memory of my late husband. It will bring the sky underground, so it’s always with us. I hope this will bring peace and joy to my fellow New Yorkers for many years to come.”

Yoko Ono attends the Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1971 press preview at Museum of Modern Art on May 12, 2015, in New York City. Ben Gabbe / Getty Images

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Ono has been writing and producing music for more than five decades now. In recent years she toured worldwide with her son, Sean Lennon, taking over his father’s role in the Plastic Ono Band, which she and Lennon began in the late 1960s.

The Warzone LP will be released under Sean Lennon’s label, Chimera, on Oct. 19.

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