The process to add her name to the credits has now begun
At New York’s annual National Music Publishers Association meeting on Wednesday (14 June), it was announced that the process to add Yoko Ono to the credits for John Lennon’s classic Imagine was under way. The announcement came via an old clip of Lennon saying that Ono should be credited.
Ono and son Sean Ono Lennon were present at the ceremony to receive the Song of the Century award for the classic 1971 ballad of hope. Lennon told Billboard, “When they officially acknowledged – through my father’s account – that my mother co-wrote Imagine, the song of the century, it may have been the happiest day of mine and [my] mother’s life.” During the ceremony, Patti Smith covered the song.
According to the BBC, Ono said, “This is the best time of my life.”
The association’s CEO, David Israelite, mentioned that there may be some opposition in the US to the process as it can potentially change the distribution of royalties and lengthen the song’s procedure of entering public domain 70 years after John Lennon’s death.
In a since-deleted tweet today (15 June), Ono posted an excerpt of a BBC interview from 1980, in which Lennon says that he was too “macho” at the time to credit Ono. He said Imagine should be “credited as a Lennon-Ono song because a lot of it – the lyric and the concept – came from Yoko. But those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted to mention her contribution. But it was right out of Grapefruit, her book.”
Listen to the interview below. Lennon discusses the songwriting credit around the 45:29 mark.