The title track to Lennon's 1971 album, 'Imagine' was Lennon's most successful song as a solo artist, a surprising feat for a sweetly sung track that disparages organized religion, capitalist excesses, and patriotism.
After his first solo album's inward-facing exploration of his own life and soul, Lennon prepared what would become his most political and commercially viable album. Lennon would later describe 'Imagine' as a sugar-coated version of 'Working Class Hero,' his bitter indictment of capitalism. Despite its controversial ideas, the song's commercial appeal came from its earnest, hopeful tone and accessible sound.
Lennon's greatest strength and the root of his enduring appeal comes from his unique ability to make the most unlikely sounds and ideas attractive, transforming the impossible to the essential. Who but Lennon could make such a strongly worded, and overtly political, manifesto a No. 1 hit?
'Imagine' original promotional film: