John Lennon’s “anti-religious” song Imagine is to be played on the church bells of the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool, despite controversy over the content of the song.
The 1971, written by former Beatle John Lennon begins with the words “Imagine there’s no Heaven”. Lennon, who was from Liverpool, described Imagine as “anti-religious, anti-conventional and anti-capitalistic”.
An online poll of Church Times readers found that 64 per cent were against playing the song on Liverpool Cathedral’s bells.
Despite the opposition, Liverpool Cathedral said that it had considered the “sensitivities” aroused by the song’s content.
Yoko Ono, the widow of Lennon, who was shot dead in New York in 1980, said on her Facebook page that the idea was “so beautiful, it made me choke up".
The bell ringing will be lead by Sam Austin, 23, who is studying at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music.
He is leading a team of seven volunteers who began rehearsals by practising on hand bells but have moved onto the bells of Liverpool Cathedral, which are the highest and heaviest ringing peal bells in the world.
Sam said, "Bell ringing is very different from other types of musical rendition because bell ringers don't actually follow notes on a score. There is also usually a five-second delay between pulling the rope and hearing the bells which makes it hard to judge where and when to pull," reports the Press Association.
The recital of Imagine on the cathedral bells will take place on 16 May at 12:30pm and 1pm.
John Lennon's 'Imagine' to be played on Liverpool Cathedral bells
Published 09 May 2009 | Charles Boyd