To mark what would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday, YES have released Imagine as a single through BMG Records. The track was recorded at the Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas during the encore on the final night of their 2019 US Royal Affair Tour and will be included on The Royal Affair Tour Live From Las Vegas album due for release on 30th October 2020. John Lennon would have celebrated his 80th birthday on 9th October 2020. As one of the creative forces in The Beatles, John Lennon remains one of the most influential musicians of all time and Imagine is one his best-loved songs. It was recorded in May 1971, after The Beatles’ split, in Lennon’s studio at his home in Berkshire and featured soon-to-be YES drummer Alan White who was a member of Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band ensemble.
Yes first covered a Beatles track on their eponymous debut album, and chose to include Imagine in their set for the Royal Affair Tour in recognition of Alan White’s part in this iconic recording, almost 50 years before. As Yes played Imagine, a film was shown behind the band of John Lennon recording the song in his studio with George Harrison, Klaus Voormann and a very youthful Alan White. “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. The first time I saw it, I turned around and went, ‘Who the hell is that guy?!’” Alan laughed.
Yes are Steve Howe (guitar), Alan White (drums), Geoff Downes (keyboards), vocalist Jon Davison and Billy Sherwood (bass/vocals) with additional drums by Jay Schellen. For the final night of the Royal Affair Tour, YES were joined by John Lodge of The Moody Blues for the encore of Imagine, the recorded version, on which he shared the vocals with Jon Davison.
Recorded live at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel, Friday 26th July 2019, The Royal Affair Tour, Live From Las Vegas was mixed by Billy Sherwood and is released by BMG Records. Customers who order via the YES Store will receive their albums on 2nd October with the album on general release from 30th October.
For customers purchasing a download or physical copy of The Royal Affair Tour Live From Las Vegas album from 2nd October, Imagine is available to download and stream.
The Royal Affair Tour – Live From Las Vegas track listing:
1. No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed
2. Tempus Fugit
3. Going For The One
4. I’ve Seen All Good People
5. Siberian Khatru
10. Starship Trooper