John Lennon’s Imagine White Piano. Take a look at the film clip of John’s haunting and bittersweet song and you’ll see him playing an unmistakable white piano. The grand piano shown here is similar to the instrument John Lennon used to record the song “Imagine,” depicted in the famous advertisement poster for the single. It may surprise you to know that the white piano was in fact a gift give to John’s wife and musical collaborator Yoko Ono for her Birthday in 1971. The rich tones of the piano paired with John’s thoughtfully poignant lyrics made it his most successful solo single, and one of the most influential and inspiring songs of the 1960s and 1970s counter-culture movement.
The Instrument Behind The Magical Song
The piano behind Lennon’s musical passions is a Steinway & Sons Baby Grand, with a distinct white finish. However, this beauty can’t hog all of the glory. Lennon actually composed Imagine on a Steinway & Sons Model Z upright piano, but to record he used the white piano in his home studio, aided by renowned producer Phil Spector.
The Legacy Continues
Following John’s tragic death in 1980, the pianos parted ways in the near future. The upright piano was owned by musician and singer George Michael, who purchased it in a 2000 auction for 1.67 million pounds. However, in 2001 Michael returned the instrument to a Liverpool museum. He must have taken the ‘no possessions’ message of Imagine to heart!
As for the white baby grand, it is still owned by Yoko Ono in her New York residence! In 2010 Steinway & Sons released an “Imagine” model piano and part of the proceeds from the sale of each one go to the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus project, a mobile recording studio on wheels which is available to underprivileged children from public schools and community groups. This act of charity encapsulates the very foundation of John Lennon’s vision as both a musician and person of the world.
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