5 Inspiring Covers of John Lennon’s “Imagine”

by Alec Plowman, Mar 20, 2018 . 4 min read

5 Inspiring Covers of John Lennon’s “Imagine”

Since its release in 1971, John Lennon’s “Imagine” has become one of the enduring anthems of our time. And, while the original recording is piano-driven, it’s still a great, simple guitar song for those learning to play guitar, thanks to its easy chords.

“Imagine” is such an accessible tune, in fact, that countless artists have put their own spin on it. And some of those covers are truly worthy of John Lennon’s iconic original.

So, here, in no particular order, are Roadie’s 5 best & Inspiring Covers of John Lennon’s “Imagine”” Oh, and we’ve included links to guitar tabs and guitar chords to the different versions – especially handy if you want to teach yourself guitar. (To get you started, here are the chords for the original version).

Neil Young

Performed at the “America: A Tribute to Heroes” telethon on September 21st, 2001, Neil Young’s rendition of “Imagine” doesn’t veer too far from Lennon’s original. But, there’s a haunting fragility to Young’s delivery that puts his signature stamp on it. The string section that backs him is also a nice touch.

Neil Young – “Imagine” chords

Chris Cornell

Late Soundgarden and Audioslave front man Chris Cornell started performing the Lennon classic on his 2011 “Songbook” solo tour, with the song appearing on the live album of the same name. The thing that shines through on this version is Cornell’s phenomenal, soaring vocal performance. One of the greatest singers of his generation, listening to it brings home just how much he is missed.

Chris Cornell – “Imagine” chords

 A Perfect Circle

A Perfect Circle turns the tables on Lennon’s classic with this version, from 2004’s politically charged covers album “eMOTIVe.” Lennon’s version was wishful and optimistic, but APC’s minor key take is dark, haunting and cynical. An entirely different, but equally effective rendition, it’s definitely worth checking out if you’ve never heard it.

A Perfect Circle – “Imagine” tab

Eva Cassidy 

The late, great Eva Cassidy had a knack for producing sublime cover versions. You’ve only got to check out her takes on “Fields of Gold” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” for proof of that. Her rendition of “Imagine,” released posthumously after her untimely death in 1996, is no exception. Instrumentally, it’s a simple and understated version, which acts as an excellent showcase for her phenomenal voice. Sadly overlooked in her lifetime, much of Cassidy’s work still remains under the radar. But, as this wonderful version proves, she’s definitely an artist worthy of appraisal.

Eva Cassidy – “Imagine” chords

Lady Gaga

Gaga debuted her version of “Imagine” live at the National Equality March in 2009. Faithful to the Lennon version, it’s an unusually stripped-back performance from a singer typically big on bombast. Her powerful voice shines through though, and the lyrics changed to reflect the murder of gay student Matthew Shepard (“above us, only sky” becomes “And only Matthew in the sky”) are a timely update on Lennon’s original sentiments.

Lady Gaga – “Imagine” chords

What did you think of these Inspiring Covers of John Lennon’s “Imagine”? Share your thoughts in the comment below!



Get our free Alternate Tunings Guide!
Submit

Check out some other similar articles

Take advantage of our biggest backer-exclusive discounts and get your hands on this next-generation automatic tuner. Back the Kickstarter campaign today and be the first to receive the Roadie 3.

The term guitar tunings may refer to pitch sets other than standard tuning, also called nonstandard, alternative, or alternate.

Alain Abou Atmeh
Apr 9, 2021 . 5 min read

The top 5 underrated guitarists of all time list features some of the most incredible musicians to ever live. However, fame is a sneaky little thing that is not bestowed upon many deserving individuals.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Apr 2, 2021 . 4 min read

Selecting the 5 best rock guitarists in history is not an easy task, but we’re going to do it. Rock has had some of the most incredible musicians in history and that is especially true for the guitar.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Mar 19, 2021 . 3 min read

Some of these 5 facts about Paul McCartney will come as a surprise to some. They might help shed some light on what made him one of the greatest artists of all time, able to connect with millions through his music.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Mar 12, 2021 . 4 min read

Hank Williams was an American singer-songwriter that became a legend especially in the Country genre. These 5 facts about Hank Williams further illustrate the scope of his legend.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Feb 12, 2021 . 3 min read

Choosing five of the most memorable Dolly Parton songs is not easy. She’s had an illustrious career that spans five decades, full of hit songs.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Feb 5, 2021 . 4 min read

The five best podcasts for guitarists represent an incredible collection of invaluable resources for guitarists of all levels and styles.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Feb 1, 2021 . 4 min read

The five best drop D tuning songs on this list are part of Rock N’ Rolls’ heritage. These songs created an impact on audiences across the world and are fun to play.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Jan 25, 2021 . 4 min read
We'll be bringing you recommended tabs and plenty of interesting quotes from guitar legends along the way!