But Lennon has been so disturbed by the “unimaginable tragedy” of the Russian war on Ukraine, that the singer performed his father’s peace anthem publicly for the first time.
“As a human, and as an artist, I felt compelled to respond in the most significant way I could,” Lennon wrote Friday on Instagram along with a candle-lit video performance of the song. “So today, for the first time ever, I publicly performed my Dad’s song, IMAGINE.”
“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…” wrote Lennon. “The song reflects the light at the end of the tunnel, that we are all hoping for…”
The song, featuring Lennon sitting on a stool with a single acoustic guitar accompaniment, was posted on Lennon’s Instagram page on his 59th birthday. The performance was part of Global Citizen’s social media rally, Stand Up For Ukraine, which is raising money for the embattled country and refugees fleeing amid Russia’s brutal war.
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Lennon went on to condemn Russia’s “murderous violence.”
“Millions of innocent families have been forced to leave the comfort of their homes, to seek asylum elsewhere,” Lennon wrote. “I’m calling on world leaders and everyone who believes in the sentiment of IMAGINE, to stand up for refugees everywhere!”
In a separate Instagram post, Lennon posted for “Stand Up For Ukraine” writing, “Amazing, the good we can do.”
Julian Lennon is the son of the Beatles legend John and his first wife Cynthia Lennon.
The couple wed in August 1962 but split six years later when Julian was five in November 1968. John Lennon married Yoko Ono in 1969. The couple had a son, Sean Ono Lennon, in 1975.
John Lennon was murdered on Dec. 8, 1980.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: ‘Imagine’: Julian Lennon sings father John Lennon’s song for Ukraine