50 years ago today, John Lennon released his iconic hit Imagine. From his 1971 album of the same name, it was the best-selling single of his solo career, one that Rolling Stone described as his “greatest musical gift to the world”. They called it “22 lines of graceful, plain-spoken faith in the power of a world, united in purpose, to repair and change itself.”

The lyrics inspire us to imagine a world of oneness, without borders between nations, or religions that separate people.

Written during the Let It Be session, it was finished one morning in early 1971 on a Steinway piano in his home at Tittenhurst Park, England. His wife Yoko Ono watched as he composed the melody, chord structure, and almost all the lyrics, nearly completing the song in one brief session.

Lennon co-produced Imagine with Ono and Phil Spector at Lennon’s home studio in only three takes, then added final string overdubs at the Record Plant in NYC. The final lyric goes:

“Imagine all the people sharing all the world… You may say I’m, a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.”

WATCH him play it LIVE on American TV… (1971)

– PHOTO CREDIT: (Top) the Lennon Memorial in NYC Central Park– by Louise Leclerc, CC license

With more than 200 artists covering the song—including Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Joan Baez, Lady Gaga, Elton John and Diana Ross—it is one of the 100 most-performed songs of the 20th century.

Since 2005, Imagine has been played on loudspeakers just before the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in Times Square, and when the song was featured at the Summer Olympics 8 years ago, it re-entered the UK Top 20 singles chart, inspiring a new generation. Watch him play it on the Mike Douglas Show in 1972 below…

More Good News on this Date:

  • The silent comedy short film “The Second Hundred Years” premiered, starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy together for the first time (1927)
  • New York Yankees team member Don Larsen pitched the only perfect game ever in World Series history – taking the mound in game five (1956)
  • 51 years ago, Soviet author Alexander Solzhenitsyn was named winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, in part for making the world aware of the Soviet Gulag concentration camps, and later was exiled for his book The Gulag Archipelago (1970)
  • 15 years after Pink Floyd‘s album, The Dark Side of The Moon, was released, the ground-breaking LP finished its record-breaking run after 741 weeks on Billboard’s charts—with 50 million copies sold (all lyrics by Roger Waters) as one of the most successful albums of all time. (1988)
  • Day of Independence in Croatia

Happy 78th Birthday to Chevy Chase who earned three Emmys as both a performer and writer on Saturday Night Live. For SNL’s debut show, Chase created the first fake news show and played the anchor himself.

Chevy Chase in 2010 - by Jesse Chang-CC
2010 Photo by Jesse Chang, CC license

He would open the segment pretending to be on the phone talking to his lover, until realizing he was “on air,” and then greet the audience with, “Welcome to Weekend Update; I’m Chevy Chase… and you’re not.” A master improvisor and brilliant physical comic, his film performances included Foul Play, National Lampoon’s Vacation (playing Clark Griswold), Fletch, Caddyshack, and Three Amigos. He also had a role on TV’s Community (1943)

Happy 35th Birthday to Bruno Mars, the vocalist on “Uptown Funk”, a 2014 song that topped the charts worldwide.

2010 photo by Chrizta T, CC license

Born Peter Gene Hernandez in Hawaii, the singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist’s debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, included the hits “Just the Way You Are” and “Grenade”.  (1985)

Also, Happy Birthday to Matt Damon who turns 51 today. Despite knowing he wanted to pursue acting, Damon studied English at Harvard, dropping out just 12 credits shy of graduating. He grew up in Boston with fellow actor Ben Affleck and together they co-wrote Good Will Hunting. They took it to Hollywood, but only would sell it if the pair were cast as the lead actors. After many doors slammed, they were indeed cast—and the film won the Best Picture Oscar.

Courtesy – Water.org

The versatile leading man, who starred in Saving Private Ryan, Syriana, the Jason Bourne series, and the comedic Ocean’s trilogy, is one of the highest-grossing actors of all time, and received Academy Award nominations for his roles as a rugby player in Invictus and a stranded astronaut in The Martian—and another for producing the 2016 film Manchester by the Sea. Last year, he thrilled audiences portraying race car driver Carroll Shelby in the Oscar nominated Ford v Ferrari.

Damon co-founded the organization H20—and Water.org—which brings clean drinking water to millions of people around the world and is active in charities like Feeding America. (1970)

Happy Birthday to Sigourney Weaver who today celebrates her 72nd birthday.

2017 photo by Gage Skidmore, CC license

The actress’s groundbreaking 1979 performance as a fearless female heroine in Alien, which was her first major role, earned one of her three Academy Award nominations. Her character of Ellen Ripley is often considered one of the most significant female protagonists in all of cinema. Sigourney, who graduated from Stanford University with an English degree and earned a Masters in Fine Arts from Yale Drama School, also received a Tony Award nomination for her work on Broadway.

She’s won awards for her films Gorillas in the Mist (playing primate expert Dian Fossey) and the comedy Working Girl, and is remembered for Ghostbusters, Avatar, and The Year of Living Dangerously. She’s been busy filming two sequels in the Avatar franchise (the first of which is scheduled for release in 2021)—and will reunite with Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd in the new Ghostbusters film due in July 2020.

The 6-foot-tall ‘Queen of Sci-Fi’ is fulfilled off-screen as well, married to her husband for 35 years, the theater director Jim Simpson, with a successful daughter. Asked how she feels about getting older, Weaver told Parade magazine, “I love it… And I’m getting wonderful parts.”

WATCH her talk about holding her breath for 6 minutes for the new underwater scenes for Avatar… (1949)

MORE: Watch Sigourney Weaver Surprise Students Whose High School Performance of ‘Alien’ was So Impressive


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