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John Lennon's son performs 'Imagine' for the first time ever to raise money for Ukraine refugees

Julian Lennon had previously said he would never perform his dad's iconic song but sang it to raise money for Ukraine refugees.

John Lennon's son performs 'Imagine' for the first time ever to raise money for Ukraine refugees
Left: 1966: Beatles legend John Lennon performing against a lit backdrop. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images) Right: Instagram/julespicturepalace

John Lennon's son broke a personal promise to sing his father's iconic song to raise funds for Ukraine refugees. Julian Lennon had previously said he would never perform "Imagine," but he decided to give a public rendition of the song after being shaken by the "unimaginable tragedy" of the Russian war on Ukraine. It's the very first time Julian Lennon has ever performed the song, reported USA Today. "As a human, and as an artist, I felt compelled to respond in the most significant way I could," wrote Lennon on Instagram as he posted a video of a candle-lit video performance of the song. "So today, for the first time ever, I publicly performed my Dad’s song, IMAGINE." Julian Lennon is the son of John and his first wife Cynthia Lennon.



The simple video shows Lennon on his 59th birthday, sitting on a stool surrounded by candles and accompanied by guitarist Nuno Bettencourt. The performance was part of Global Citizen’s social media rally, Stand Up For Ukraine, which is raising money for Ukraine and displaced Ukrainians.

Julian Lennon said he had a valid reason for changing his stance on not singing his dad's song. "Why now, after all these years? I had always said, that the only time I would ever consider singing ‘IMAGINE' would be if it was the ‘End of the World’…" he wrote, before adding that song is very inspiring. "His lyrics reflect our collective desire for peace worldwide. Because within this song, we’re transported to a space, where love and togetherness become our reality, if but for a moment in time… The song reflects the light at the end of the tunnel, that we are all hoping for..." he wrote.

Beatle John Lennon and his wife of a week Yoko Ono in their bed in the Presidential Suite of the Hilton Hotel, Amsterdam, 25th March 1969. The couple are staging a 'bed-in for peace' and intend to stay in bed for seven days 'as a protest against war and violence in the world'. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


He urged world leaders to seek peace and find an amicable solution for refugees. "As a result of the ongoing murderous violence, millions of innocent families, have been forced to leave the comfort of their homes, to seek asylum elsewhere. I’m calling on world leaders and everyone who believes in the sentiment of IMAGINE, to stand up for refugees everywhere!" wrote Julian. He also urged people to donate to help Ukraine refugees—#StandUpForUkraine @glblctzn @nunobettencourtofficial.



Beatles legend John Lennon married Cynthia in August 1962 before splitting six years later when Julian was 5, in 1968. He then married Yoko Ono in 1969 and had a son named Sean Ono Lennon in 1975. John Lennon was murdered on December 8, 1980. Paul McCartney shared a message on his website, writing, “Remembering playing for our friends in Ukraine in Independence Square in 2008 and thinking of them in these difficult times. We send our love and support.”


During an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes," Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country will not give up any territory to Russia. "Overall, we're not ready to give away our country. I think we've already given up a lot of lives. So we need to stand firm for as long as we can. But this is life. Different things happen," he said.

The Russian government has demanded Crimea be recognized as Russian territory.



"I will definitely not recognize that, and they would really like to take the southern parts of our country," said Zelenskyy. "I clearly understand that questions like this will be raised in negotiations if there ever are any. But we were not ready to give up our territory from the beginning. Had we been willing to give up our territory, there would have been no war." He added that Ukrainian refugees will eventually return home. "They will come back," he said. "The return of refugees is blood, the body of Ukraine. Without them, there's nothing. The bombardments would end we would recover our territory. There would be no Russian soldiers in our country."

Russia's attack on Ukraine is a developing story, and we’ll update as we learn more. Information is swiftly changing and Upworthy is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency of developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication.

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