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JOHN LENNON ‘IMAGINE’ TRIBUTE SCULPTURE TO WELCOME EVERYONE TO CARNABY STREET
A life-size sculpture of John Lennon entitled ‘Imagine’, after one of the famous singer/songwriter’s signature songs, is set to grace the top end of Carnaby Street this Saturday, 9 October, on what would have been his 81st birthday.
Created in 2009 by acclaimed American/British sculptor, poet, playwright, lyricist, novelist and actor, Lawrence Holofcener, who sadly passed away in 2017 aged 91, the sculpture is being brought to its new location - outside of the world famous Liberty London store - by his widow, Julia Holofcener, in partnership with Shaftesbury.
The stunning bronze statue of Lennon, with his arms outstretched, head tilted up and legs crossed on a bench, could not be more fitting for Carnaby Street – a place where The Beatles often went to get kitted out at the likes of Lord John in the Swinging Sixties and frequented iconic clubs such as The Bag O’ Nails, where Paul McCartney met his future wife Linda Eastman.
Simon Quayle, Executive Director at Shaftesbury says: “We are delighted to welcome this fantastic sculpture to Carnaby, adding to the rich musical heritage of the area going back as far as the 1920s. The sculpture will give visitors a great photo opportunity with one of the world’s most iconic British musicians”.
Holofcener’s other sculpture is ‘Allies’ on Bond Street, which features war-time US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and our very own Winston Churchill, on a bench in conversation. It was unveiled by Princess Margaret in 1995 and has become a London landmark, as well as a poignant symbol of long-lasting alliance between America and Britain.
‘Imagine’ was Lennon’s second solo album – released 50 years ago this year, on 9 September, 1971, following the break-up of The Beatles. The opening title track, with the famous lyrics “imagine all the people living life in peace”, is still as powerful now as it was then.
Holofcener led a colourful life and his acting career began in a nightclub revue in New York at the ‘Upstairs at the Downstairs’. His first theatre job was in ‘Stop the World – I Want to Get Off’ on Broadway. Then, in 1964, he played Cornelius in ‘Hello, Dolly!’, first with Carol Channing, then with Ginger Rogers.
Julia Holofcener, who describes her late husband as a “true 20th Century Renaissance man”, much like singer, songwriter, musician and peace activist Lennon, has developed and produced events both in the United States and England through her public relations and event production firms.
She said: “My husband was a lyricist on Broadway in the 1950s and 60s and he wanted to pay tribute to Lennon’s music, but particularly to the concept of world peace, and he therefore named the piece ‘Imagine’ after Lennon’s song. For the unveiling of the first casting of the sculpture on Lennon’s 70th birthday in 2010, he also wrote ‘Can’t We Have Peace’, which was performed at the unveiling in Mount Dora, Florida.
“He was a great environmentalist as well, and he wrote ‘Day of Change’ in the 1970s in the hope that the world would understand the importance of climate change. He also proposed a ‘Terra Carta’ for the world’s countries to adhere to.”
With sustainability and climate change never talked about as much as now, Lawrence Holofcener was also a true visionary. His ‘Can’t We Have Peace’ song contains the lyrics ‘You get your fill by spreading goodwill’, and the new Lennon statue will be there to do exactly that from this Saturday.
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Shaftesbury owns and manages a 16 acre property portfolio in the liveliest parts of London's West End. The portfolio comprises of restaurants, cafés, pubs and shops, extending to apartments and offices in the highly popular, sought-after and prosperous locations of Carnaby, Seven Dials and Chinatown, together with substantial ownerships in East and West Covent Garden, Soho and Fitzrovia.
All our properties are close to the main West End Underground stations, and within ten minutes’ walk of the two West End transport hubs for the Elizabeth Line, at Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street.
Carnaby is in the heart of London’s West End, where over 100 retail brands of quality and distinction and over 60 independent restaurants, cafes and bars can be found across 14 streets, including the world famous Carnaby Street. Carnaby is a unique and iconic experiential shopping, dining and leisure destination.
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