More than 40 years after the release of one of John Lennon’s most famous songs, Yoko Ono is on her way to receiving the co-writing credit her husband thought she deserved. Variety reports that on Wednesday, National Music Publishers Association CEO David Israelite announced that the process is underway to add Ono as a co-writer on Lennon's 1971 hit single "Imagine." Israelite made the announcement at the association’s annual meeting in New York, which Ono and her son Sean attended to accept a Centennial Song award for "Imagine." During the ceremony, Israelite played a 1980 video in which Lennon said the song "should be credited as a Lennon-Ono song because a lot of it—the lyric and the concept—came from Ono," reports the Washington Post.
Since Ono is already the beneficiary of Lennon’s estate, it’s unlikely the NMPA's move will have major implications on royalties, but it will add considerably to the amount of time those royalties exist—meaning it's possible the credit-altering process won't be entirely smooth sailing, notes Variety. A song only enters the public domain 70 years after the death of its last creator. In Lennon's case, that was 1980; Ono is now 84. The BBC reports that in the interview clip Israelite played, Lennon admits he was too "selfish" and "macho" at the time to acknowledge Ono's contribution. "But it was right out of Grapefruit [Ono's 1964 conceptual art book]," Lennon said. "There’s a whole pile of pieces about 'Imagine this' and 'Imagine that.'" (A single photo exists of Lennon and his killer.)