Listen to Yes’ Cover of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’
The classic song - originally released by Lennon in 1971 - has a connection with Yes. Before his stint with the band, drummer Alan White was a member of the Plastic Ono Band and played on the Imagine album, as well as Lennon's 1969's Live Peace in Toronto, the 1970 single "Instant Karma!" and 1972's Some Time in New York City album.
The new cover was recorded during the encore on the final night of Yes’ 2019 tour, a performance that included a guest appearance by John Lodge of the Moody Blues. The track will be included on Yes’ upcoming album, The Royal Affair Tour: Live From Las Vegas, which is due for release on Oct. 30.
You can listen to Yes’ version of “Imagine” below.
During their Royal Affair Tour, Yes made special note of White’s role in “Imagine,” performing their cover while archival footage of the drummer working alongside Lennon and George Harrison played in the background.
“They put a special film together with footage from that time. We played ‘Imagine’ on the Yes tour, and they’d run it behind me,” White recalled, joking that he barely recognized his younger self. “The first time I saw it, I turned around and went, ‘Who the hell is that guy?’”
“Imagine” is one of two covers found on The Royal Affair Tour: Live From Las Vegas; the other is a rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s “America.” The rest of the live album is filled with Yes classics, including “Starship Trooper,” “I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Roundabout.”
“Having the opportunity to bring together the band members in the development of a well-refined set of songs that captures the band's true potential is simply an honor for me," declared guitarist Steve Howe, adding that the new album will be “a welcome new chapter in the wide expanse of Yes live recordings."