IMAGINATION  

Leee John in 1982

Ashley Ingram and Errol Kennedy in 1982

7 inch single

Imagination were a trio from North London which consisted of vocalist Leee John, keyboardist Ashley Ingram, and drummer Errol Kennedy. They were signed to the British label Red Bus which distributed other labels such as R&B and Excalibur, and began to work with producers Steve Jolley and Tony Swain, who came up with a song idea which Leee John liked very much. He wrote some lyrics for the demo with partner Ashley, and the song became Body Talk their debut release, which was a UK number 5 hit in June 1981. At the height of it’s popularity, the single sold in excess of 10,000 copies a day. A successive run of hits continued with In and Out of Love, and Flashback and their Body Talk LP sold half a million copies. Supposedly, their appearances on Top of the Pops often attracted viewer complaints because of the tight revealing outfits they wore. This was nothing more than the result of good public relations.

Just An Illusion, a track which Leee John co-wrote but thought would achieve only moderate success, reached number 1 in almost every territory in the world, except England; Such is the way with Murphy’s Law, it stalled at number 2 in the charts thanks to Seven Tears by the Goombay Dance Band holding onto the top spot. Other hits from their second LP In The Heat of the Night included the title track, Changes, and Music and Lights which peaked at number 5.

Their 1983 album Scandalous, contained Looking At Midnight, and State Of Love. Night Dubbing, a remix LP of previous hits, came out the next year and sold relatively well. The group decamped to the American labels MCA, and then onto Electra in 1984, after a period of diminishing sales.

Their single The Last Time helped to bring them back to the attention of UK soul fans, but eventually they decided to concentrate on their separate endeavours. Ashley Ingram went on to produce and write songs with a number of artists such as Des’ree, and currently teaches youngsters in Canada. Errol Kennedy decided to discover new artists for his own projects, whilst Leee John has taken up acting, and fundraising for a number of charities including Cancer Research, and released an album of jazz songs in 2006.

Fortunately the impact and influence of the group, is still being felt and appreaciated in the 21st century; Just An Illusion was reconstructed by producer Jermaine Dupris, for Maria Carey’s song Get Your Number which featured on her comeback album The Emacipation of Mimi in 2005. Then in 2016 Imagination reappeared with a new album and Leee John as the only original member, backed up by Steve Nichol and Mike Lindup.

Debut album on R&B records

In The Heat Of The Night 8 track LP

Third LP Scandalous from 1983