Julian Lennon has covered his father’s global hit ‘Imagine’ for the first time at a Ukraine benefit concert – watch footage below.
Lennon was performing on Friday (April 8) as part of the Stand Up For Ukraine event from Global Citizen, which raised over $10billion (£7.7bn) to aid the relief effort as the Russian invasion continues.
The cover of John Lennon’s 1971 hit was the first time his son had ever covered the track, and a performance he had previously vowed to never give.
“The War on Ukraine is an unimaginable tragedy… As a human, and as an artist, I felt compelled to respond in the most significant way I could,” Julian wrote in a statement about the performance. “So today, for the first time ever, I publicly performed my Dad’s song, IMAGINE.”
“Why now, after all these years?” he added. “I had always said, that the only time I would ever consider singing ‘IMAGINE’ would be if it was the ‘End of the World’… But also because 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…”
Lennon added: “The song reflects the light at the end of the tunnel, that we are all hoping for. 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!” he concluded.
A host of benefit concerts and events to support Ukraine have been held since the Russian invasion began in late February.
Last month, ITV’s Concert For Ukraine smashed its fundraising target, raising over £10million, while IDLES and Portishead lead the artists set to play an intimate show in aid of War Child in Bristol next month.
The show at O2 Academy Bristol on May 2 will see those bands on a bill that also includes Billy Nomates, Katy J Pearson, Heavy Lungs, Wilderman, Willie J Healey and DJ Boac 45. It will be Portishead’s first show in seven years, and their only appearance anywhere in 2022. Billed ‘HELP!’, the concert’s proceeds will support War Child’s ongoing humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.
War Child are also re-releasing some of their classic charity albums to raise money for children affected by conflict in Ukraine, Afghanistan and beyond.
Pink Floyd also reunited last week for their first original material in 28 years, sharing ‘Hey Hey Rise Up’, a song featuring a sample of Ukrainian singer Andriy Khlyvnyuk, with all proceeds going to Ukraine Humanitarian Relief.