John Lennon’s “Imagine” — Which Pop Star Covered It Best?

October 9, 2010 would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday, and to commemorate the loss of the celebrated music icon, we’ve rounded up seven pop star covers of the the music legend’s universally beloved song, “Imagine”. After the jump, sample the various interpretations of Rolling Stone’s #3 song of all time performed by the likes of Madonna, Lady Gaga, the cast of Glee and David Archuleta and more—and tell us who did it best. (Besides John Lennon, of course.)

Lady Gaga — The pop star has not only played John Lennon’s own piano, but just this week she performed with the Plastic Ono Band. And last year, Gaga donned Lennon-shaped sunglasses (and changed some of the lyrics) for her performance of “Imagine” at the HRC, slightly tweaking the lyrics to include a reference to Matthew Shepard.

Glee — Last season, New Directions teamed up with a visiting deaf choir from Haverbrook School for the Deaf and the result was this touching performance of Lennon’s hit. The song is performed by Amber Riley and the cast.

David Archuleta gave an incredible performance of “Imagine” during Season 7 on American Idol, cementing his status as a frontrunner. (As you well know, David went on to place second in the competition, and he performed this song yet again during the Top 2.)

Avril Lavigne’s cover was part of the 2007 compilation album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur for their “Make Some Noise” initiative.

Burlesque star Christina Aguilera performed “Imagine” earlier this year at the MontBlanc John Lennon Edition Global Launch.

Madonna took on “Imagine” in January of 2005 for a televised Tsunami Aid benefit.

Last but not least, Elton John in Central Park performance for nearly 400,000 people in Central Park on September 13, 1980—just months before Lennon’s untimely death.

Take the poll below and let us know how you thought these seven pop stars measured up against the man himself.  And don’t forget—there’s still time to enter to win an autographed copy of Nic Harcourt’s Music Lust. Just head to The Live Buzz and share your ten favorite Beatles songs!

Who performed the best cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine”?

Voting on this poll has closed.


David Archuleta (51%, 41,151 votes)
Avril Lavigne (42%, 33,796 votes)
Lady Gaga (3%, 2,769 votes)
Christina Aguilera (3%, 2320 votes)
Madonna (1%, 753 votes)
‘Glee’ cast (0%, 182 votes)
Elton John, (0%, 165 votes)

Total Voters: 81,137

Thanks for voting!

  • DAlovindood

    Avril’s votes just went up by 2000 in less than 5 minutes. I wonder how they do that? Funny business.

  • http://ArchuletaPhilippines elizabeth godino

    To the IDOLATOR ADMIN: Some computer geeks are working again in behalf of Avril’s fans… Please do something about this… There is a heavy downpour of Avril votes which is again HIGHLY IMPROBABLE… PLEASE do something about this again as you had yesterday. Your actions against this wrongdoers will be highly appreciated. Thanks.

  • Mary

    When is this poll closing? It’s not normal to make a poll and not let people know how much time they have to vote.

    P.S. My vote goes to David Archuleta!

  • Avrils Brigade

    The sole purpose of these polls is to generate clicks for idolator.When the clicks dry up,they’ll close it.The rest,you’ve gotta figure out.

  • Hanne

    How Avril got so many votes? We posted it on Avril Bandaids and people started to vote. That simple xD
    btw Avrils version is much better :b

  • Idolator Staff

    Hey guys, we’ll be closing voting on this poll tonight at 5pm Pacific. (The post will stay up, so we can continue to debate in the comments, but the numbers will be the numbers). Good luck to everyone!

  • Linda

    why doesn’t my vote for David Archuleta go through? NO ONE can perform “Imagine” as well as he does!

  • Tomas Duda

    Madonna <3 BEST perfect voice

  • haha1

    hahahaha – spite work never wins. david archuleta’s version of imagine is the best, by a mile. except for the original, no one even comes close, and everyone knows it.

  • Ashley

    Go David! :D

  • Katheryn

    Thanks, Idolator, for closing the poll and posting the results. For those who cheated on Avril’s behalf, shame on you. I voted for David Archuleta, and I do not know of a single fan of David’s who holds Avril accountable for the actions of a few scumbags. However, not all fan bases are as forgiving. Keep this up, and you will end up associating her with fraud and dishonesty, which is entirely unfair to her. David is a fan of Avril’s, as are many of us. It’s just that on this particular poll for this particular song, there was no contest in our opinion.


    Thought you’d be interested in reading this article posted in MIT’s newspaper. It just goes to show how easy it is for the tech-savvy fan to hack into polls.

  • Karen

    Woo hoo! David won! And rightly so!

    Avril’s version is really nice, definitely better than any except David’s. I just am loving the passion he brings to the song. You feel like David really means it and is not just singing pretty words and melody. It’s especially impressive when you remember that he’s just barely turned 17 years old here. Way to bring it, David!

    Kudos fans, etc. for voting him the win. Well deserved!

  • Dennisarchie

    DAVID ARCHULETA of course bby C:

  • Sylvia


  • Alec

    Chris Cornell?

  • bambas munich

    When is this poll closing? It’s not normal to make a poll and not let people know how much time they have to vote.

  • Alsong
  • Diana

    This is my opinion:

    Madonna: I like the music, the voice, the arrangements, but is not the perfect cover. Only John can sing this at the perfection♥
    David Archuleta: OMG his voice!! haha, I love his voice but not the arrangements.
    Elton John: I like this, he has talent and his cover is so good.
    Glee Cast: It makes me cry! haha, but not the best :B
    Avril Lavigne: She has sweet voice but her cover is so simple.
    Lady Gaga: I don’t know, it has something xD!
    Cristina Aguilera: Excelent voice, but not the cover(: