A never before heard demo of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ has been discovered

The demo will feature on a new six-disk set that honours Lennon's most celebrated solo album

A new box set celebrating John Lennon’s most famous album, ‘Imagine’, is to be released by Universal Music on October 5 and will feature a never-before-heard demo of the title track.

‘Imagine – The Ultimate Collection’ will feature 140 remixed and remastered tracks from The Beatles‘ icon across six disks. The project was overseen at Abbey Road by the late Beatles’ wife, Yoko Ono.

Speaking about the collection, Ono said: “Imagine was created with immense love and concern for the children of the world. I hope you enjoy it.”


The collection will include new ‘Ultimate Mixes’ of the album alongside the ‘Raw Studio Mixes’ that will allow listeners to hear Lennon and the Plastic Ono’s Band’s original, unadorned performances.

The collection is also said to feature “scores of previously unheard demos, rare outtakes and isolated track elements” and will also include a new track-by-track documentary which explores the journey of the songs from demo to master recording.

Whilst working on the project, sound engineer Rob Stevens discovered a never-before-heard, undiscovered demo that had gone unnoticed in the box of original tapes.


He said: “Early 2016, during the gestation period of this project, I’m in the Lonono arrives with my people going through tape boxes that have labelling that’s unclear, misleading or missing entirely.”

“There’s a 1” 8-track that says nothing more on the Ascot sound label than John Lennon, the date and the engineer (Phil McDonald) with DEMO on the spine. [There was] no indication of what material was on the tape. One delicate transfer to digital later, the “Imagine” demo, subsequently enhanced superbly by Paul Hicks, appears within this comprehensive set. It was true serendipity.”

The original demo is a sparse home recording of Lennon on piano and vocal playing ‘Imagine’. You can listen to the demo above.

Two films by John and Yoko, ‘Imagine’ and ‘Gimme Some Truth’ will also be re-released on October 5 feating new footage, “raw” studio mixes and a new insight into a photo shoot the couple did with iconic British photographer David Bailey.

‘Imagine’ was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as one of the 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. It was also named as the second best song of all time by the Guinness World Records British Hit Singles book and number 3 on Rolling Stone’s ‘The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time’ list.

The collection will be released on October 5. You can pre-order the new collection now.