Deborah Bonham among musicians on new recording of John Lennon's Imagine

Woodmancote-based singer Deborah Bonham has joined a host of other artists on a new cover of John Lennon’s classic Imagine.

Monday, 18th May 2020, 11:39 pm
Deborah on the Imagine video

Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono described Imagine as “just what John believed: that we are all one country, one world, one people.”

The new version, instigated by Nathan James (Inglorious) and also featuring Paul Rodgers, of Free and Bad Company fame, was launched with full approval: on John Lennon’s Facebook and website.

It comes in the year which sees the 40th anniversary of John Lennon’s murder in New York City; it also comes in the year which sees the 40th anniversary of the death (September 25 1980) of Deborah’s brother, 14 years her senior, Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.

“My John was a huge fan of The Beatles, and that’s how I got into The Beatles,” Deborah said. “When John was 13 or 14 my mum took him and my other brother to see The Beatles. John just loved them so much. They got front-row tickets. Mum took the two boys and they said they just couldn’t hear the band there was so much screaming. But mum said there was just a look on John’s face… and John said ‘That’s what I am going to do one day!’”

The new version of the song, with all the performers filming their contributions in isolation, started with Nathan James (Inglorious) who then called his friends and contacts including Geoff Downes, Paul Rodgers and Dave Kilminster, asking if they wanted to be a part of an all rock cover of one of the greatest songs of all time.

“For me it all started with Paul at the Albert Hall on the Free Spirit tour where my band was backing Paul. I was a special guest. That was 2017. And there was this guy in the audience who was Nathan. I didn’t meet him. It was full on back stage, but he got in touch with me and said he loved my singing and he loved my performance. He was very complimentary, and we got a bit of a friendship going, and that was that.

“And then in 2018 we had the same line-up out in America. We went across America with Paul which was fantastic, and Nathan still kept in touch.

“And then out of the blue I got an email from him saying he wanted to do something special, that he wanted to record John Lennon’s Imagine and was I interested.”

Deborah’s response wasn’t an instant yes: “I had to think about it. The song has been covered so many times, and it is such an iconic song. It really is. John Lennon’s version is totally amazing. More than amazing. I just thought ‘Good grief. You would really have to bring this home if you are going to do it.’ It is a really special song. It is one of the most inspiring songs ever, but it seemed such a great idea. The words are so poignant, especially at the moment. I said ‘Send me the track.’ And then I heard Geoff Downes’ piano playing, and I just thought ‘Yes!’ You hear covers that just haven’t got the soul, but Geoff absolutely had the soul.”

Deborah was then told which bit to sing: “I am not technical at all. I haven’t got a clue. But with (my husband) Pete we set something up, and it really worked.”

You can hear the end product at https://youtu.be/0bRjYA1lT0IThe Lennon estate have shared the video at https://www.facebook.com/johnlennon/Nathan said: “We are not asking for money as we all understand how tight money is right now. We have however made a list of charities that are close to Inglorious’ heart. If you enjoyed the video and can afford to give even a small donation, please do. This is about helping people whatever way you can. If you cannot give, please just enjoy and share the video.”

Support:

Dots – Dogs on the streets – https://www.dogsonthestreets.org/Video

Produced & Directed - Nathan James

Mixed & Produced - Josiah J

Video Editing - Jamie Scott Smith

Musical Direction - Geoff Downes

Project Manager - Maria Lundy (QEDG Management)

Those who took part are:-

Paul Rodgers (Bad Company/Free)

Nathan James (Inglorious/Jeff Wayne's - The War of the Worlds) Geoff Downes (Asia/Yes/DBA)

Dave Kilminster (Roger Waters/Steven Wilson)

Jeff Scott Soto (Journey/Yngwie Malmsteen)

Michael Sweet (Stryper/Boston)

Andrew Freeman (Last in Line/The Offspring)

Deborah Bonham (Solo artist)

Calum Ingram (Sandi Thom)

Caleb Johnson (American Idol Winner)

Toby Jepson (Wayward Sons)

Danny Vaughan (Tyketto)

Jasmine Rodgers (Solo artist/Paul's Daughter)

Oliver Lewis (Jeff Wayne's – The War of the Worlds)

Olivia Jageurs (Jeff Wayne's – The War of the Worlds)

Phil Beaver (Inglorious)

Danny Dela Cruz (Inglorious)

Wyatt Wendels (Planet Rock Radio DJ)

Cormac Neeson (The Answer)

Dino Jelusić (Animal Drive/Trans-Siberian Orchestra) Chloe Lowery (Yanni/Trans-Siberian Orchestra)

Vinnie Colla (Inglorious)

Sophie Burrell (Instagram guitarist)

Dan Stevens (Inglorious)

Kris Barras (Kris Barras Band)

Dan Byrne (Revival Black)

Heather Leoni (The Novahawks)

Rob Baynes (The Howling tides)

Shaun Richards (Liberty Lies)