Why I Hate That Song Everyone Else Loves So Much

There are a lot of things I don’t like that everyone else seems to love, and there are many things I love that most others don’t seem to care for . . . I’m honestly not trying to be difficult, it’s just the way things are. John Lennon’s universally celebrated song ‘Imagine’ is one of those things everyone eagerly announces they love, that I just don’t get . . . at all. But before I get directly to the song, let me offer, briefly, a bit of an apology/explanation of why, perhaps, I seem to so commonly see things differently than most folks.

My temperament, my disposition, my general make-up is such that I tend to be very analytical about things, I see things in a very critical manner . . . I consider and examine and investigate things to, often, an excruciating degree. In debates or simply friendly chats about movies, religion, history, social issues, etc, etc, I will commonly have to be told to stop . . . I never lose my head, I never ever get contentious or belligerent, I don’t try to ‘prove’ I’m right or anything like that – I simply have an interest to stay with a topic, to study and deliberate over an idea until everyone else has pretty much had enough of it some time ago. This is a good and useful attribute at my desk – it’s not so great a character feature in more social settings.

So, for instance, the kind of thing that happens is this; to this day many in my generation (the 60’s baby boomers) might certainly know who Eric Clapton is – he’s the guy who sings ‘Wonderful Tonight’ and ‘Tears In Heaven’ . . . many will even know that he was in several different bands, that he did ‘Layla’ when with Derek & The Dominos, and many will know that he was in the very significant band and Cream. But I think most who knows these facts came across them haphazardly by decades of attention Clapton has received . . . like being the only man inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame three times (for 3 different bands), perhaps they heard a friend mention Clapton being in Cream, perhaps they noticed a magazine or tv mention that he was in Derek & The Dominos, etc.

But for me, when I was a kid and heard The Yardbirds, I wanted to know who that was playing guitar, and when Clapton left The Yardbirds to play with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers I started to watch for anything Clapton did. So when the band Cream was announced to be forming I knew who Clapton was and was eager to hear what he was going to do next . . . and then onto Blind Faith, a stint with Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, then Derek & The Dominos, etc. I’m of course far from the only kid who knew of Eric Clapton’s long and distinguished career, but not all the kids who knew of Clapton and who loved The Beatles knew that it was Clapton playing on ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, and far fewer who knew he played on Aretha Franklin records, King Curtis, Leon Russell, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Ray Charles, and many other’s records, and played with John, Paul, George, and Ringo all as The Beatles and then separately.

And though it’s become a good bit more publicized in the last couple of decades, few kids went back into the Blues artists that Clapton loved and learned so much from . . . on my honeymoon my young bride and I had $200 to spend on pot & pans and all those things we needed to return with to set-up housekeeping – we came home with $200 worth of LPs by Blind Willie McTell, Elmore James, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Albert King, etc, etc, etc. My point is, one reason I so commonly see things differently than most folks is not that I’m trying to be different or contrary, it’s just that my natural inclination about things can be a bit more intense and thorough than most folks . . . because I approach and give attention to things differently, often my conclusions are different. At least that’s one aspect of it that makes some sense to me. I commonly like things most folks don’t and I commonly don’t like things that most folks do – I don’t want to be an outsider, I don’t try to be different, but I have to be the ‘me’ that I actually am . . . and I don’t like John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’ . . . at all.

Let me start very directly; I think the melody is mundane . . . it’s not ugly sounding, it’s not bad, but it’s just not that big a deal, it’s not really pretty. If you take away John Lennon and take away the words (I’ll get to those in a minute) and put any unknown singer singing about . . . actually, as I think about that tune used to sing about being in love, about being with, being close to the one you adore, it suddenly sounds a good bit more pretty of a melody to me – perhaps, for me, it’s just the lyrics and all the hoopla that’s attached to the song. Ok, so here’s very basically what I don’t get about that song – no kidding!? “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” . . . who hasn’t thought since they were a child wouldn’t it be better if there were no wars, if no one was hungry, if religions didn’t fight against each other . . ?! . . Lennon sings about “Imagine all the people, sharing all the world”, he sings about “A brotherhood of man” and asks “I wonder if you can” . . . the song asks if the rest of us can imagine a world at peace and everyone getting along, etc – and I’m asking, who doesn’t think that way?!

The song is celebrated for, for what? For advancing a dream we all have and wish could be – I just don’t get it . . . has anyone ever listened to that song and thought ‘Hey, being nice and kind – that’s a much better idea, I was planning on being mean but now I’ve changed my mind’, or has anyone listened to that song and thought ‘I’ve always felt that way, but I never thought of peace and love in terms of no wars and everyone being nice, etc’? The song, to me, just isn’t saying anything that everyone doesn’t already get and it’s not saying in it any profound or poetic way that merits it’s near universal ‘one of my favorite songs’ acclaim . . . and, there is that bit of condescending ‘I wonder if you guys can even get what I’m imagining’ over an idea that I imagine is common and a longstanding dream of the entire planet – like, we all ‘get it’ and always have.

But, for me, music is always about the music. The sentiment of the song, I don’t disagree with at all, I just don’t think there is anything new or profound or clever or especially poetic about this expression of the sentiment – but as a song, as a melody and singing and just how the record moves (or not) you, John Lennon had so many other songs that are so gigantically superior to ‘Imagine’ that it’s (I’m just being honest) a bit irritating how much universal acclaim that song gets.


For example; this song is about the very opposite of 'Imagine' both in musical style and sentiment - but listen to the raw power and urgency of Lennon’s vocals here . . . this is such a better piece of music ~



Listen to the hauntingly bottomless heartache of Lennon’s vocals here . . . a much better song than 'Imagine' ~


. . . and talk about hauntingly bottomless heartache, a very simply melody made very special by Lennon's earnest and poignant vocals ~





. . . or here, this is one of the very best Rock & Roll vocals ever recorded - this should be mentioned far more that 'Imagine' . . . if we're talking about music ~




But here is the clincher for me; when people talk about The Beatles, or when they even just talk about John, the comments are frequently along the lines that Paul was cute but wasn't deep and only sang love songs all the time, while John (it's commonly asserted) had depth and sang about significant ideas and crucial issues, etc - but, really, there's nothing deeper, no more significant idea, no more crucial issue than love . . . and musically, Paul was far 'deeper' than John. John was great, apart from 'Imagine' I like nearly all his music, and I count him one of the great Rock singers ever . . . I have nothing against John - but to me, any number of Paul's songs are far deeper and far better musically than John's. I listen to this one below, and (again, to me) it makes 'Imagine' sound like a kind of silly attempt to say something important . . . that everyone already knows. Looking forward to taking the one you love on a picnic - that's important.

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Comments 31 comments

SkySlave profile image

SkySlave 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

I really like how straight forward you are. Not often do you see honest opinions like these standing up against pop culture. Most people allow the media to select what they most enjoy. I feel this way about Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven". Honestly i think that Zeppelin have dozens of greater songs that are left in the shadows of this over popularized radio tune. Either way, i appreciate the honesty!


sam209 profile image

sam209 3 years ago

Hey there Mickey. I'm a HUGE Beatle fan, but not much of a fan of The Fab Four's solo work. I thought I was the only one who thought that "Imagine" was just an okay record. I remember vh1 had that song rank pretty high on the greatest rock songs list! I do give props to those who can turn their dreams and imaginary point of views into songs; but if someone else other than Lennon recorded that song I do not feel it would be regarded as a great record, at least in my opinion! Good hub fellow music lover!


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

SkySlave ~ I'm stunned that my 1st comment is not someone raking me over the coals . . . I appreciate your visiting my hub and comment.

And I very much agree with you on Zeppelin - in fact, I may do a hub on them come to think of it. I think their first 2 LPs are stunning, and there are some great moments on there other works . . . but I think just about everyone gets them wrong; Plant was a mediocre Rock singer (a Daltry wannabe) boosted tremendously by engineers, Page was a good guitarist (exceptional in the studio) but not the 'guitar god' he's made-out to be, and live they just flat-out kind of sucked - the sound, the importance, the thrill when listening to Led Zeppelin was John Bonham's drumming. And 'Stairway To Heaven' is far from their best song . . . and, if you listen to it, the big climax, the punch that comes as Page's guitar solo is reaching it's peak, is nothing about the guitar - it's Bonham's kickass drums the band relied on for the big crescendo.


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

sam209 ~ I am genuinely surprised the 1st couple of comments are not in disagreement with me on this - I thought sure my Hub membership would be revoked. I feel I should apologize for the extended dissertation on who I am and how I work, I thought I needed to offer some preparation for what I was going to be saying . . . I just don't know that I've ever run into anyone that didn't think me goofy for not liking 'Imagine' as much as everyone is 'supposed to'. And I think your assertion that "if someone else other than Lennon recorded that song I do not feel it would be regarded as a great record" is spot on . . . and this kind of thing happens all the time (I see people on screen we're all supposed to count as beautiful that aren't while I pass all kinds of people on the street that no one takes notice of who are stunning).

I like a good bit of the post Beatles solo work . . . I think what most folks might not consider, is Ringo's success - Ringo was putting out good records, if I remember correctly, just as soon as any of them; 'Photograph' is a great song and 'It Don't Come Easy' and 'Back Off Boogaloo' were good as well.


sam209 profile image

sam209 3 years ago

@ Mickey. Your comments to SkySlave sticks to me! Plant is mediocre? WOW!!! Page a studio guitarist and not truly a guitar god, WOW! I won't challenge you on that because of my age and I didn't see Zeppelin live or grow up on them, but I'm still flabbergasted! It's all opinions, but I really wish I can learn more about your review on Zeppelin! Of course it wouldn't make me love them any less but I wouldn't mind someone breaking down for ME, or anyone else, the flaws of Led Zeppelin. LOL, although this hub is mainly about "Imagine", your Zeppelin thoughts can spark a good debate!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa

I am very much on the same page as you. I remember even as a teenager I would like the flip side of a famous 7-single more, and music my peers could not stand. Same with movies and novels, fashion and food, name it.

It is hard to be different. It took me a long time to come to terms with being 'otherwise', not part of the crowd. However, I have learned how to please the crowds by giving them what they want, especially when I write fiction, or entertain them in any way. I have also learned how to keep my thoughts for myself, instead of upsetting them with my personal views.

Most people feel uncomfortable when you confront them with something they cannot hear, see or feel, and some of them even feel threatened and attack you with insults, forcing you to prove yourself as a better person, willing to respect the likes and dislikes of others. I eventually decided to spend my energy in a more uplifting and delightful way :)

Yes, I understand your unique pattern of thoughts....


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

sam209 ~ please understand, I do love Zeppelin, as I say, their first 2 LPs are still stunning - but the credit they get is all wrong; as I said, the individual players folks get wrong (without Bonham's drumming they would have sounded far more conventional - and I think they knew it . . . when Keith Moon died The Who still had the greatest bass player in the world with Entwistle, the profound song writing and guitar playing of Townshend, and the archetypal & definitive front-man in Daltrey, they wouldn't sound just the same but they were and are still great - without Bonham Led Zeppelin ceased to exist) . . .

. . . and folks frequently assert that Zeppelin were the original Hard Rock band, that they created Heavy Metal - Cream is the starting point of all Hard Rock/Heavy Metal music, everything comes from them . . . even everything Zeppelin did - listen to Cream inventing the amplified deep Blues/Rock Zeppelin would later do, and then listen to Cream doing the heavy stringy 'middle earth' type stuff Zeppelin would later do. And Cream was already finished and Clapton was with Blind Faith by the time Zeppelin showed-up . . . this Cream stuff (below) is years before Zeppelin. I love Zeppelin, but Cream is the real 'Zeppelin' if we're talking about heavy Blues-based Rock music that influenced everything to follow ~

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-lRmVOGw3M

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oyx7NZqy0XE


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 years ago from Central Florida

Mickey, I appreciate your thoughts and understand what you are saying. I agree that all the songs you play in this hub are awesome. As you know, "Imagine" is one of my favorite songs. The reason, is, in part, because as soon as I hear the piano open in "Imagine" I stop what I'm doing and ask others not to talk. To me a melody that stops me in my tracks is a good one. As far as the message, yeah, maybe it's something we all wish, but the words portray my idealistic way of looking at life. No matter what you say, my friend, I won't change my mind.

BTW, I know Clapton from listening to him in the various bands you mentioned above. I just love The Yardbirds and Cream. I was fortunate to see Clapton in concert a couple of years ago. He was awesome!

I love you, Mickey, but you know I had to put my 2 cents in on this one!


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

Martie ~ "even as a teenager I would like the flip side of a famous 7-single more"

And sometimes, the world catches-up with us - The Beach Boys' 'God Only Knows' is a great song, but the B side was perhaps their single greatest recording - 'Wouldn't It Be Nice'.

And Gene Vincent's 'Be-Bop-A-Lula' The Righteous Brothers' 'Unchained Melody', and Rod Stewart's 'Maggie May' were all B sides.

How many know the Doors' 'You Make Me Real'? Well, the B side was their great 'Roadhouse Blues'!

And maybe the goofiest of all, 'Green Onions', the Booker T & The MGs classic, probably the best radio instrumental ever was the B side!?


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

I have to start off by saying my very favorite song in the whole world, ever, is "In My Life". If you don't believe me, I even wrote a hub about my favorite song of all time and that's it! Is this where I stick my tongue out? Seriously, this is not about me but about you and your love of Eric Clapton. It is a smart thing to admire someone who has great talent and adaptability.

As for the Beatles and all the rest, the fact that you "approach and give attention to things differently", often with different conclusions only makes you honest and a thinker. Didn't you know that's why there's chocolate and vanilla?

I agree with your last comment, the "B" side of so many records was often better than the "A" side. Kids today don't know what they're missing.

Loved this hub and all I learned from it.

Voted up, useful, interesting and shared.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America

I also never particularly liked the melody or lyrics of Imagine. Actually, I never cared for John from the first time I saw the group; as a kid I thought he was odd and never changed my mind.

A tribute artist friend of mine used to do "Tears in Heaven" when he sang for kids and the elderly in hospital, and I have a recording, but since he died, I have not yet been able to listen to it again.


Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

I like your viewpoint, and how you decide what you like and what you don't like by yourself (rather than automatically liking what everybody else does). I also think that your take on the song "Imagine" is funny. I have never thought of it that way! The sentiments really are universal, and I can see how it would seem like kind of a pointless song, at least compared to many other ones.

My brother has always had a different take on what music he likes. There have been a couple of groups that he was a dedicated follower of long before they were popular with the mainstream audience, and he knew many things about them that those "new" to the groups would not know about, unless they read about it. He is much like you when it comes to thinking.

Have a great weekend, and thanks for sharing this with us.

~ Kathryn


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States

I also appreciate how straight up front you were in this hub. I actually agree with you about "Imagine." I never did understand what the big deal was about that song as it certainly was not one of their best. Interesting hub.


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

bravewarrior ~ I'm not necessarily interested to change anybody's mind, just sharing my own thoughts . . . to me, my own thoughts, when you say "the words portray my idealistic way of looking at life", I think to myself 'right, but don't they portray everyone's idealistic way of looking at life? I mean, I understand there are always Hitlers & Capones & Ches, etc, but the sentiments of the song are pretty much the common sentiments of all of us . . . so, he's not really saying anything that just about everyone has been saying for generations upon generations'. That alone, of course, doesn't make it a bad song, I'm not advancing there's anything bad or wrong about it - only that I don't understand what the big deal is . . . like, if no one was already thinking that way (how much better peace & love would be to belligerence & hate, etc) then I could see us all thinking his song is so special.

Like I say, I'm not necessarily interested to change anybody's mind, just sharing my own thoughts . . . if the song were treated like any other decent song I would have no real opinion about it - it's the fact that so many assert it to be so special and that Lennon was nearly a prophet to come-up with such a song, etc, that's what I'm puzzled about.


UnnamedHarald profile image

UnnamedHarald 3 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

I've always been a great Beatles fan. To me it was the combination of Lennon and McCartney that made the difference (sure, some songs were mostly penned by one or the other and attributed to both equally). In my opinion, John squeezed the sappiness out of Paul and Paul squeezed the rage out of John. The result was (usually) magic. As far as solo careers are concerned, I believe George Harrison's All Things Must Pass can hold its own against any Beatles album.


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

tillsontitan ~ ". . . your love of Eric Clapton"

I sometimes wonder if I don't appear to be a Clapton fan in a pre-teen girl sort of manner to some folks - it's not that I just think he's the best and so cute and all that, but that I kind of champion the real significance that he's had on contemporary music . . . as I've said in another hub, you have to include Eric Clapton in that small community of pillars who defined what Rock music has become; along with Elvis & The Beatles & Bob Dylan there is with Clapton that kind of 'before & after' circumstance . . . as much as any of them, Clapton changed everything, and I don't think most folks recognize that - so, I blabber about him from time to time.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

You know I am like everyone just went with the flow with Imagine. However I do agree with you it is definitely not a song which takes my breath away or brings me to some sort of heights of ecstasy. There are many other songs which do much more for me. Guess this song just sort of edged in there and was labeled super, great etc. For me to really say hey, my kind of music it has to bring out some kind of emotion in me and Imagine doesn't do that now the Beatles song In my Life does. Have to give Clapton a thorough listen on YouTube cause I know at one time I liked Cream just didn't know who the boys in the band were. Passing this on and thanks for sharing you point of view.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Mickey....Huh? Say, What?.....LOL! I feel for you. I have to listen to being told how "analytical and different," I am, all the time. And my question is always, "Yeah, so what's your point?" So, you don't want to converse with me because of it? You only talk to cookie cutter people who agree with everything you think?.....You NEVER analyze?......Oh PLEASE!

Anyway....having said this....when the Beatles made their entrance, and all the teen-aged girls went nuts.....I thought it was a weird, silly way to act (my parents claim I was 32, at birth). I got into the Beatles and truly appreciating their music, in my thirties! I then went overboard and played "Rubber Soul," at least once a day, every day....to learn all the lyrics.

"Imagine?".....down at the bottom of my list......not such a great song.

Eric Clapton, I love. Can't listen to "Tears in Heaven"...because I know when and why he wrote it, and just makes me bawl til I puke. Female silliness, I guess.

Never change, Mickey.......which is actually needless to say. At our age, "CHANGE," is not an option!.......UP+++


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

Patty ~ when Clapton's son died so tragically, 'Tears in Heaven' became an instant radio hit . . . I think it's nice enough, but he also did one called 'Circus' that I, personally, think is far superior . . . the last time Eric Clapton was with his son was when he took him to the circus the night before his death ~

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9niSLMSIATY


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

Kathryn ~ thanks for the visit and comment . . . I'm actually a bit stunned, I thought sure the overwhelming response would be kind of blasting me for being against peace & love.


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

Pamela99 ~ thank you, and again, I'm still stunned how many agree - I though I would be strung-up for this.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America

Thanks for the link, MickySr.! That is a very nice one - I love the circus, anyway. Such a sad thing to happen after such a happy day at the circus!


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Now Mickey, you know I am an IMAGINE lover and always will be.

That being said, you know your music and make a decent argument.

So imagine that...and you may say I'm a dreamer, but I don't want to argue tonight!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Mickey - I both love and admire you as one of hubpages greats when it comes to writing. This hub further proves and confirms that admiration.

The comments and expressions left by your fans and followers are as interesting and thought provoking as the hub itself.

Do I agree with your opinions? Let's say "I'm in the ball park."

You cause us all to ponder/think - and that's a marvelous thing!

Kudos to you, my friend. Waiting for your next one. ~ Audrey


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

UnnamedHarald ~ "some songs were mostly penned by one or the other and attributed to both equally"

Thanks so much for the visit and the comment.

I think actually the great majority of Beatle songs (especially after their 1st couple of LPs) were penned by one or the other . . . they agreed early on to publish both their individual songs under Lennon/McCartney, and they did from time-to-time suggest and confer with the other, but pretty much when you hear John singing it's a Lennon composition and when McCartney sings lead it's a McCartney song.


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

Gypsy Rose Lee ~ "For me to really say hey, my kind of music it has to bring out some kind of emotion in me"

Same here - because I so elaborately and precisely and extensively describe why I like what I like, frequently there are some folks who think my appreciation is fully an analytical and logical and lacking in emotion . . . but the reality is, I am moved and informed most immediately by an emotional response - I can examine and relate what is moving me emotionally, but I am deeply moved emotionally or I pass.


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

fpherj48 ~ ". . . .and played "Rubber Soul," at least once a day, every day"

If you like 'Rubber Soul' (and how can anyone not) then I imagine you love 'Revolver' as well - or, if you're not familiar with it, I think you'd like it.

Thank you for your favorable and warm review, I always look forward to finding a comment form you on my hubs.

And as I told someone else, if you like 'Tears in Heaven', you ought to listen to 'Circus' . . . this, I believe, is the superior song that he wrote about that dreadful tragedy ~

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9niSLMSIATY


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Well.....I DON'T want to listen to Tears in Heaven.....I like my Ostrich-like behavior.....


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 3 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

Maria ~ and, I must admit, y0u did win me over a bit when I heard you singing it - but, you were the appeal there, not that silly song.


wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 2 years ago from upstate, NY

I disliked "Imagine" for different reasons than you do. I liked the sound of the song but considered it an anthem of the godless left. I saw it as a perverted dream of world socialism where there's no countries, no god and a state appointed peace because people would be too afraid to speak out!


joedolphin88 profile image

joedolphin88 2 years ago from north miami FL

I feel like most of the songs enjoyed by most overshadow the great work that is on the rest of the album. I wouldn't say that the radio hits aren't good but sometimes they seem like they are all the artist really has.

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