Watch The Avett Brothers Perform Rock’s Greatest Peace Anthem On Colbert

Whenever people in difficult times are looking for a song of Peace to rally behind, John Lennon’s “Imagine” is usually the first song to come up on the playlist. That song is an institution unto itself. Yet I’ve always maintained that George Harrison’s “Give Me Love, Give Me Peace On Earth” is a better plea for Peace, and a better song, too.

I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’ve heard “Imagine” too many times, and its magic has worn off on me. But I would argue that “Give Me Love” is more nuanced, more soulful, and more relatable than “Imagine”. To be fair, Lennon was aiming for simplicity, and the song derives its haunting power from the child-like words and melody.

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But in times like these, when there’s a greater hunger for truth than ever before, Lennon’s anthem falls on the pollyanna side of inspiration. I mean, no religions or countries would be nice, I suppose, but who are we kidding? And no possessions? Hey Mister Lennon, I wouldn’t be able to listen to music or speak out for Peace if I had no possessions. I would be scrounging my next meal. C’mon man, I need some of this stuff.

Harrison’s song, on the other hand, is a much more realistic plea for peace, and more relatable on a personal level. I’m not looking to get rid of countries or religions, I am looking for peace, love, light and freedom. “Give Me Love” recognizes the burdens that we all face on a daily basis. “Give me hope, help me cope with this heavy load” – is there a human being anywhere who cannot relate to this? Real Peace can only happen in a real world with real people who have real problems.

“Give Me Love” also trumps “Imagine”, if you pardon the expression, because it provides a concrete action to help achieve Peace other than just dreaming about it. Harrison reminds us that Peace happens when people reach out to one another with heart and soul. It is the mechanism of Peace, a re-working of the Golden Rule. On the big scale as well as the small, this is as true as anything can be.

So needless to say, I was thrilled to see the Avett Brothers perform the song on Colbert last Friday night. It brought a tear to my eye, hope to my heart, and strength to my soul. Such is the power of song. Please watch it and share if you can.



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