The eldest Lennon performed the song as part of the Global Citizen’s social media rally, Stand Up For Ukraine. The performance ended the 59-year-old’s previous vow to never perform his dad’s famous work, according to USA Today.
Lennon explained his decision in a YouTube post, saying the “unimaginable tragedy” going on in Ukraine compelled him to respond “in the most significant way I could.”
“So today, for the first time ever, I publicly performed my Dad’s song, IMAGINE,” he wrote.
“I had always said, that the only time I would ever consider singing ‘IMAGINE’ would be if it was the ‘End of the World’… But also because his lyrics reflect our collective desire for peace worldwide. Because within this song, we’re transported to a space, where love and togetherness become our reality, if but for a moment in time…”
Julian Lennon, the son of John Lennon and his first wife, Cynthia Lennon, also called on world leaders to stand up for Ukrainian refugees.
“As a result of the ongoing murderous violence, millions of innocent families, have been forced to leave the comfort of their homes, to seek asylum elsewhere,” he wrote.
The social media rally, a lead-up event to a governmental pledging event Saturday in Warsaw, Poland, also featured celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, Bruce Springsteen and Billie Eilish.
The event followed the announcement by the U.S. last week that it would accept up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees as the war continues.