Elvis Costello rips into one of his heroes on "The Other Side Of Summer," the opening track of his new album Mighty Like A Rose.
In the midst of a satiric Beach Boys-style "summer fun" tune, Costello makes a clear reference to John Lennon's 1971 song "Imagine" when he sings, "Was it a millionaire who said 'imagine no possessions'? / A poor little schoolboy who said 'we don't need no lessons'?"
"I think 'Imagine' is a dumb song," Costello said from Los Angeles last week.
"I don't have any other startling insights to make. I think the problem is there are too many insights - everybody's got a bloody opinion about everything, everybody's got a solution. I'm just making fun of it all.
"Heaven knows you can hear it on a lot of other things I've done how much I love and respect Lennon. His work was great, but that particular song I don't think he thought it out. Or maybe he did, but I'm entitled to my opinion.
"When you have nothing, you can say that you imagine nothing, and when you've got the opportunity to learn, then you've got the luxury or the privilege to say you don't need education. I'm not saying education is perfect, but it's such an inane statement, a slogan for idiocy.
"Rock 'n' roll has this inherent rebellion, but is also confuses freedom for license a lot, which is dangerous. It doesn't have any responsibility to itself. These attitudes are self-perpetuating myths and some of them are quite destructive."