On Saturday (9 April), Julian sang the famous song as part of the Global Citizen’s social media rally, Stand Up for Ukraine.
In the past, the 59-year-old singer had vowed to never perform his father’s song. However, the “unimaginable tragedy” compelled him to “respond in the most significant way I could”.
“So today, for the first time ever, I publicly performed my Dad’s song, ‘Imagine’,” Julian wrote on Instagram, along with a video of him singing the track.
“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.”
The Valotte singer also called upon “world leaders and everyone who believes in the sentiment of ‘Imagine’, to stand up for refugees everywhere!”
Lennon released “Imagine” in 1971. The song was inspired heavily by artist Yoko Ono, who used the word in many of her 1960s conceptual artworks.
In 2017, Ono received a songwriting credit on “Imagine”. It was earned at the annual meeting of the National Music Publishers Association in New York after receiving the Centennial Song award for the legendary track alongside Sean Ono Lennon.
After accepting the award, NMPA CEO David Israelite showed a video showing the former Beatle’s exclamation that his wife deserved the credit because of her influence and inspiration in bringing the song to life.
After the event, Israelite confirmed to Variety that the process to officially add Yoko’s credit to “Imagine” was “already under way” despite being aware the decision may face opposition.