On Saturday, Julian Lennon gave a public performance of his father's iconic hit "Imagine" for the first time ever. Accompanied by guitarist Nuno Bettencourt and a host of candles, the 59-year-old son of John Lennon and first wife Cynthia "presented the cover version of his father's ode to peace" during the Stand Up for Ukraine fundraiser, per the New York Post. Although he once said he would never sing the song unless it was the "end of the world," Lennon wrote in notes accompanying the performance that "the War on Ukraine is an unimaginable tragedy. As a human, and as an artist, I felt compelled to respond in the most significant way I could."
It was a "stunning" performance, according to NBC's Today, which adds that Lennon wrote that as a "result of the ongoing murderous violence" and the plight of refugees, he is "calling on world leaders and everyone who believes in the sentiment of IMAGINE to stand up for refugees everywhere!" The performance, available on YouTube, was part of a wider social media rally by Global Citizen to provide "accommodation and economic security" for displaced Ukrainians. The organization says the campaign has netted over $10 billion in pledges and loans. (Pink Floyd has also done its part for Ukraine, releasing its first original music in 28 years.)