Julian Lennon broke his lifelong vow never to perform his father’s most iconic solo song, “Imagine,” during a benefit for Ukrainian refugees on Saturday.
“Today, for the very first time, I publicly performed my dad’s song ‘Imagine,'” Lennon, 59, wrote on YouTube. “The song reflects the light at the end of the tunnel, which we all hope for.”
Singer-songwriter son of the Beatle John Lennon performed the cover version of his father’s ode to peace as part of the Stand Up For Ukraine campaign, a global fundraising campaign broadcast from Warsaw, Poland.
“I had always said that the only time I would consider singing ‘Imagine’ would be if it was ‘End of the World’,” Lennon wrote.
But “the war against Ukraine is an unimaginable tragedy,” he explained. “As a human being and as an artist, I felt compelled to respond in the most meaningful way possible.”
The solemn music video showed Lennon singing – to cadences eerily similar to those of his father – surrounded by candles, accompanied by acoustic guitarist Nuno Bettencourt.
The performance capped a European Union televised pledge campaign that raised $10.1 billion in public, private and corporate cash for refugee aid.
Lennon is not the first artist to make headlines by making music in support of Ukraine.
At midnight on Friday, Pink Floyd – minus Roger Waters – released “Hey Hey Rise Up”, its first original music in 28 years, for the UN’s Ukrainian Humanitarian Fund.
Guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour told the Guardian he was inspired by Ukrainian musician Andriy Khlyvnyuk, who left his band BoomBox’s US tour to fight in Ukraine.
Gilmour saw an Instagram video of the musician in military gear singing a protest song in kyiv’s Sofiyskaya Square, then felt inspired to do something about it.
“I thought: this is pretty magical and maybe I can do something with it,” Gilmour said. “I have a big platform that [Pink Floyd] worked for all these years. It is a really difficult and frustrating thing to see this extraordinarily insane and unjust attack by a great power against an independent, peaceful and democratic nation.
New York Post