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John Lennon writes and records “Instant Karma” in a single day

John Lennon writes and records “Instant Karma” in a single day

“I wrote it for breakfast, recorded it for lunch and we’re putting it out for dinner.” That’s the way John Lennon told the story of “Instant Karma,” one of his most memorable songs as a solo artist and the third Lennon single to appear before the official breakup of the Beatles. The only exaggeration in John’s description was the part about dinner: “Instant Karma” wasn’t actually released to the public until 13 days after it was written and recorded over the course of a single Tuesday, on January 27, 1970. By any measure, it was one of the fastest pop songs ever to come to market.

“Instant Karma” came during a tumultuous time for John Lennon personally and for the band he was in the midst of leaving behind. The Beatles had spent the better part of 1969 trying to decide whether or not they were still a band, abandoning recording sessions that had just begun and canceling plans for their first live performances in more than three years. The material for both of the band’s last two albums—Abbey Road and Let it Be—was recorded that year, but Let it Be sat unreleased and without an agreed-upon producer. Lennon, meanwhile, was moving in a new direction. “Give Peace a Chance,” recorded during the famous June 1969 “bed-in,” had already come out under the name “The Plastic Ono Band,” as had “Cold Turkey,” his wrenching account of kicking heroin that same year. By January 1970, John had walked away from the Beatles, and the Plastic Ono Band was the only musical entity he considered himself part of.

The January 27 session came about spontaneously. Lennon wrote the song that morning and, as he said, “I knew I had a hit record.” What got the record finished that same day and gave it its incredible sound, however, was the unexpected appearance of Phil Spector that evening in the EMI studios. After several run-throughs under Spector’s direction, John said, “Suddenly we went in the room and heard what he’d done to it…it was fantastic. It sounded like there was [sic] fifty people playing.” John’s happiness with the results would lead directly to Spector’s taking over the dormant Let it Be project—a development that ended up driving a further wedge between Lennon and McCartney prior to the official breakup of the Beatles.


Today in Music History: John Lennon recorded "Instant Karma!"

John Lennon (Harry Benson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images, via NPR)

Today in 1970, John Lennon wrote, recorded and mixed his new single "Instant Karma!" all in one day. It ranks as one of the fastest-released songs in pop music history, recorded at London's Abbey Road Studios and arriving in stores only ten days later. The song reached the top five in the British and American singles charts, competing with the Beatles' "Let It Be" in America, where it became the first solo single by a member of the band to sell a million copies.

1956 - Elvis Presley's single, "Heartbreak Hotel" was released by RCA Records, who had just purchased Presley's contract from Sun Records for $35,000.

1958 - Little Richard entered The Oakwood Theological College in Huntsville, where he was ordained as a seventh day Adventist Minister.

1961 - Frank Sinatra played a benefit show at Carnegie Hall in New York City for Martin Luther King.

1967 - The Beatles signed a new nine-year contract with EMI Records.

1971 - David Bowie arrived in the U.S. for the first time but was not allowed to play anywhere due to work permit restrictions. However, he did manage to turn some heads when he wore a dress to a promotional event.

1973 - Stevie Wonder had his first No. 1 hit in a decade with "Superstition" from the Talking Book album.

1988 - James Brown was charged with possession of marijuana and unlawful use of a firearm when police were called to his South Carolina home.

1990 - Tom Petty Day was declared in Petty's birthplace of Gainesville, FL. Petty also peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart with "Free Fallin'" which was Petty's only top ten single as a solo artist in the U.S.

1990 - Eric Clapton peaked at number sixteen on the Billboard 200 Album Chart with Journeyman which went on to sell two million copies in the U.S. and was heralded as a return to form.

1994 - Oasis made their live debut in London at King's Cross Water Rats.

Elmore James, blues guitarist and singer, known as the King of the Slide Guitar, was born today in 1918.

Nick Mason, drummer for Pink Floyd, is 72 today.

Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, and Wikipedia.


Recording: Instant Karma! by Plastic Ono Band

The third single by Plastic Ono Band, ‘Instant Karma!’, was written, recorded and mixed on this day.

John Lennon wrote the song on the morning of 27 January 1970, on an upright piano at Tittenhurst Park, his mansion in Ascot, Berkshire.

Keen to record the song as soon as possible, Abbey Road’s Studio Two was hastily booked. The session began at 7pm.

Eric Clapton, who had played on the previous Plastic Ono Band single ‘Cold Turkey’, was unable to attend the session at such short notice, so Lennon invited his Beatle bandmate George Harrison instead. Harrison suggested to Lennon that Phil Spector produce the session.

The legendary Wall Of Sound producer proved a perfect match for Lennon and Harrison, who later enlisted him to work on the Let It Be recordings. He also produced subsequent solo albums including All Things Must Pass and Imagine.

Instant Karma was recorded in 10 takes between 7pm and midnight. The basic track featured Lennon playing Harrison’s Gibson J-200 acoustic guitar, Harrison on electric guitar, Voormann playing bass, Alan White on drums, and Billy Preston playing electric piano.


From midnight until 3am a number of overdubs were added. Spector decided to omit the guitars, and instead added heavy reverberation to the drums, and various extra keyboard parts. These included Lennon and Voormann on electric piano, Harrison and White on a grand piano, and an additional Hammond organ part. Mal Evans also added chimes during the chorus.

Considerable echo was also added to Lennon’s lead vocals. It was then decided that a choir was needed for the chorus. Evans and Preston rounded up volunteers from Hatchetts nightclub in London, and three tracks of backing vocals and handclaps were recorded. The singers were conducted by Harrison Allen Klein was reportedly one of the performers.

From 3-4am the song was mixed four times in stereo. Geoff Emerick had been the balance engineer until Spector decided his presence was making him edgy and he was asked to leave. Emerick later claimed that the final version, the fourth attempt, was a rough mix which Spector had marked ‘Do not use’, but Lennon’s haste to release the song meant it was issued on the UK single regardless.

A different mix was created in Los Angeles a few days later by Spector, unknown to Lennon, and released on the US single. Emerick created three further mono mixes on 10 February 1970, removing one of Lennon’s lead vocal parts to allow the song to be used as a backing track for the Plastic Ono Band’s appearance on the BBC’s music show Top Of The Pops the following day.


Instant Karma! Written, Recorded And Mixed, All In One Day

On Jan 27th 1970, John Lennon wrote, recorded, and mixed his new single, “Instant Karma!,” all in one day. It ranks as one of the fastest-released songs in pop music history, recorded at London’s Abbey Road Studios and arriving in stores only ten days later. The single peaked at No. 3 on the US chart and No. 5 in the UK.

Lennon later stated, “I wrote it for breakfast, recorded it for lunch, and we’re putting it out for dinner.” Lennon’s makeshift band for the day was George Harrison on guitar, his old mate from the Beatles‘ Hamburg days, Klaus Voorman, on bass, Alan White on drums, and keyboard player Billy Preston.

The song’s title came from Melinde Kendall, the wife of Yoko Ono’s former husband Tony Cox. John and Yoko had stayed with them in Denmark during December of 1969 and had heard her using the phrase in conversation. “Instant Karma” came during a tumultuous time for Lennon personally and for the Beatles, who he was in the midst of leaving behind. Paul McCartney had unofficially taken leadership of the group after manager Brian Epstein’s death, and he was pushing for recording new songs and then performing a live concert (which would’ve been their first live performance in more than three years). George Harrison was totally against the idea and after a massive argument he quit the group, making him the second Beatle to leave after Ringo Starr had done the same in 1968.

The formation of the Plastic Ono Band was originally conceived as an outlet for Lennon and Ono in 1969. However, after performing at Toronto’s Rock and Roll Festival in September 1969 (where Lennon bashed out a set of rock and roll standards), he made his decision to leave the Beatles and informed Paul McCartney of his decision on 20 September 1969.

Lennon, meanwhile, was moving fast and in a new direction. The January 27 session, which started at 7pm, came about spontaneously. Lennon had written the song that morning and, as he said, “I knew I had a hit record.”

With legendary ‘wall of sound’ producer Phil Spector at the controls, it was given its incredible sound. Lennon’s happiness with the results would lead directly to Spector’s taking over the dormant Beatles Let It Be project, which became another nail in the coffin, driving a further wedge between Lennon and McCartney.

Lennon would also work with Spector on his first proper solo album, the stripped down John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band and the follow-up, Imagine. By January 1970, John had walked away from the Beatles, and the Plastic Ono Band was the only musical entity he considered himself part of.

Being the Beatles nut that I was at the time, I remember seeing Lennon perform the song on Top of the Pops (he became the first Beatle to have appeared on the show since 1966). John sat at an upright piano, wearing headphones, dressed in black, hair cut short, with Yoko sitting next to him, wearing a blindfold … knitting. WTF! What was she doing? Maybe making John a new hat? We didn’t care, it just added to the occasion. Sharing the stage was the drummer, two bass players, and a guitarist. The energy in that performance is amazing!

The song has since become a Lennon classic and has been covered by countless artists (including Paul Weller, U2, John Hiatt, Phish, and Regina Spektor), some of them good, some bad, and some downright ugly (yes, Duran Duran, you know who you are).

John Lennon was no longer a Beatle. After all this time of being a member of the most famous band on the planet, he was free, to go in his own direction and do what he did best—write songs and make records.


John Lennon writes and records “Instant Karma” in a single day - HISTORY

The title of the Stephen King novel The Shining, which was later made into a film starring Jack Nicholson, was inspired by the refrain in this song: "We all shine on."

At first, King called his novel The Shine, but when he found out that "Shine" was an archaic, derogatory term used to describe African-Americans (referring to shoe-shiners), he changed it to The Shining.

Instant Karma is also the title of Mark Swartz' 2002 novel.

Comments: 53

  • George from Vancouver, Canada Just heard this as the outro to Californication Season 6 first episode. Has a certain catchy 'something' to it.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, Ny On February 12th 1970, a video of John Lennon performing "Instant Karma (We All Shine On)" was aired on the BBC-TV program 'Top of the Pops' (it was taped the day before).
    Ten days later on February 22nd it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #65 and on March 22nd it peaked at #3 (for 3 weeks) and spent 13 weeks on the Top 100 (for 8 of those 13 weeks it was on the Top 10).
    For its first two weeks at #3, the #2 record was "Let It Be" by the Beatles.
    It reached #2 on the Canadian RPM Singles chart and #6 on the Australian Kent Music chart.
    R.I.P. Mr. Lennon (1940 - 1980).
  • Jim from West Palm Beach, Fl Lennon shaved his head and declared 1970 to be 'Year One' and then recorded this. Seems like the Rothschilds weren't impressed. Nothing has changed.
  • Carlos Eduardo from Santa Clara, Ca I was just hearing a song from Yes, "I've Seen All Good People" (from The Yes Album). There are two references for John Lennon in this song: the verse "Send an instant karma to me" and backing vocals singing "All we are saying is give peace a chance".
  • Gary from Logan, Australia If you listen to the beat and Bass you will be interested to note that John's old friend from the Hamburg days Klaus Voorman plays Bass on this track (Instant Karma)
  • Layton from Paris, Tx What can't John Lennon do? He's amazing.
  • Pat from Los Angeles, Ca Hmmm, speaking of instant karma, answer this question: Which Beatle got shot and which Beatle got knighted?
  • Rick from Belfast, Me I remember the 45 record said to "play Loud" on this song. the flip side said to "play soft" as it was Yoko singing something about the wind.
  • Bob from New York, Ny This song is directed at Paul. John considered his songs fluff (Laughing in the face of love). Who in the hell do you think you are, a superstar, well alright you are! We ALL(Beatles) shine on. Like the moon(John, Mr. Moonlight) and the Stars(Ringo Starr) and the Sun(George-Here comes the sun). It is a typically brilliant John song. Sounding like he was writing about some sort of cosmic, peace loving concept when he was actually taking a pot shot at Paul.
  • Breanna from Henderson, Nv John was completly right, karma wil get you, example my friend was mean to me, he fell off his seat at lunch right after I said "Instant Karmas gonna get you!"
  • John from Vancouver, Bc Thought this song was about an unfortunate meeting I had with John Lennon in the Sand Piper bar on Grand Bahama Island The Bahamas July 10, 1973 (I know the exact day as it was the Bahamas Independence day) I did not recognize him at the time but found out later who it was.
    I was happy and a little tipsy . John Lennon had come into the Sandpiper Bar at 2am and was dancing (he was not a good dancer and a little tips as well).
    He thought wrongly that I was laughing at him and came up to me with the sign of the cross made with two fingers (the hexing sign) he was mouthing the words "Who do you think you are" I found out later the song was written 3 years before . I guess I did not inspire it however I might have motivated John to do what he did, by making him angry by mistake.
    Pity as I would have enjoyed having a bear with him instaed.
  • Claire from Miller's, Md I have the John Lennon Converse:)
  • Linc from Beaumont, Tx Love to here this on the My Name is Earl show - about a man righting all the wrongs in his life - but I doubt it will get approval. :)
  • Catherine from Essex, United Kingdom Pauls songs were not 'fluff' thats utter bull. paul was the force and brains behind the revolution of music. and he likes to write fun songs as well as serious ones. yeah johns had a deeper meaning of peace but so did pauls, but not every one had to be all serious, and paul just likes to keep his opinions and beliefs to himself. his political views dont have to be put into a song to be as relevant
  • Jeff from Phoenix, Az He was just trying to put out a message of being a good person because life can be short. He did it in a cool,artistic,edgey way. That was what he did for a living and I admire it because it's smart, rocks your socks and makes most feel better about whatever.
  • Tay from San Diego, Ca I always liked it. During school i said to this mean chick," instant karma's gonna get you! its gonna get you rite in the face!" she walked away in a puff and i started laughing. Thanks john :)
  • Bill from Arlington Heights,il, Il John and paul may have been fighting at this time but the RAM album didn't come out until 1971. I read that the song on RAM 'too many people' really miffed off John Lennon cuz it mentions Yoko in a bad light. Anyway, in retrospect, it sounds like two relatively young songwriters with overactive Egos, though their music is great.
  • Cody from Janesville , Wi Lennon is the man no question, i like the part when he just makes a wierd noise, my favorite part of the song, spread the word of mr. lennon what he was trying to say.

P.S. sorry if i sounded like a jerk thats just how I talk

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Chart success

Instant Karma! was released in the UK on 6 February 1970, as APPLES 1003. It entered the singles charts on 21 February, and peaked at number five. In all it spent nine weeks on the charts.

The b-side to the single was an acoustic ballad, Who Has Seen The Wind? It was written by Yoko Ono, produced by Lennon, and recorded privately. The label had ‘PLAY QUIET’ printed in large type, in contrast to the a-side’s ‘PLAY LOUD’.

Its US release came two weeks later, on 20 February. It was issued as APPLES 1818. It peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100

Instant Karma! was the first solo single by a former member of The Beatles to sell more than a million copies in America.


Jan 26 in Music History: John Lennon writes & records “Instant Karma,” Simon and Garfunkel release Bridge Over Troubled Water

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Contents

Lennon's songs and music publishing royalties were donated to Amnesty International by Yoko Ono. Amnesty International used the songs to start the "Make Some Noise" project, which later led to the subsidiary campaign "Instant Karma". Eventually, enough momentum was achieved through the project to amount to an album.

Ono said: "It's wonderful that, through this campaign, music that is so familiar to many people of my era will now be embraced by a whole new generation. John's music set out to inspire change, and in standing up for human rights, and selling more records, we really can make the world a better place." [9]

Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA, added: "We know music's power to unite and inspire people. With hundreds of thousands dead, millions driven from their burned out villages and rape being used as a tactic in the Darfur conflict, the world needs a mass mobilization demanding action and justice. The 'Instant Karma' campaign combines John Lennon's passionate desire for us to imagine a more peaceful world with Amnesty International's expertise in achieving justice. 'Instant Karma' allows ordinary people to lend their hand in saving lives – a notion we think would make John proud." [9]

"John Lennon was not just a famous Beatle, he was the social conscience of his generation," says Jeff Ayeroff, one of the album's executive producers. "By reinterpreting his music and reintroducing it to a new generation, we shine a light on the darkness that is Darfur. Yoko Ono's gift of John's music to Amnesty International, whose work points out the pain and injustice in the world, is a true beacon of light. Give peace a chance is all we are saying." [9]

Proceeds from CD and digital sales will support Amnesty International and its campaign to focus attention and mobilize activism around the urgent catastrophe in Darfur, and other human rights crises. [9] It was released in the US on June 12 and the UK on June 25, 2007.

The digital version of the album made it to number 1 on iTunes in Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Denmark and Luxembourg. The physical album made it to number 1 in Ireland and Mexico. As of July 13, 2007 it had certified Gold Status in Italy and Ireland. As of July 11, 2007, the album had sold 107,689 copies in the US.

US release Edit

There were two CD versions released in the United States. The primary version was a two-disc set containing 23 tracks. The second version was a two-disc set sold only at Borders retail outlets that was identical to the primary version save that disc 2 contained an additional two bonus tracks.

There was an iTunes-only expanded digital release in the United States that added 11 further tracks to the 23 tracks on the primary CD release – making for a 34-track digital set.

Disc one Edit

# Title Performer(s) Producer(s) Time
1 "Instant Karma!" U2 Larry Mullen Jr. and Tal Herzberg 3:14
2 "#9 Dream" R.E.M. David Barbe & R.E.M. 4:38
3 "Mother" Christina Aguilera (featuring Bigelf) Linda Perry 4:48
4 "Give Peace a Chance" Aerosmith featuring Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars Marti Frederiksen 4:35
5 "Cold Turkey" Lenny Kravitz Lenny Kravitz 4:43
6 "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night" Los Lonely Boys Los Lonely Boys 3:35
7 "I'm Losing You" Corinne Bailey Rae Steve Chrisanthou 4:01
8 "Gimme Some Truth" Jakob Dylan featuring Dhani Harrison Tony Berg 3:53
9 "Oh, My Love" Jackson Browne Jackson Browne 2:39
10 "Imagine" Avril Lavigne Butch Walker 3:12
11 "Nobody Told Me" Big & Rich Adam Shoenfeld 3:30
12 "Jealous Guy" Youssou N'Dour Prince N'Dour 3:59

Disc two Edit

# Title Performer(s) Producer(s) Time
1 "Working Class Hero" Green Day Green Day 4:25
2 "Power to the People" Black Eyed Peas Will.I.Am 3:35
3 "Imagine" Jack Johnson Jack Johnson & Robert Carranza 3:40
4 "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)" Ben Harper Ben Harper 3:48
5 "Isolation" Snow Patrol Garrett "Jacknife" Lee 2:36
6 "Watching the Wheels" Matisyahu & Dub Trio David Kahne 3:19
7 "Grow Old with Me" The Postal Service Jimmy Tamborello & Benjamin Gibbard 2:30
8 "Gimme Some Truth" Jaguares Saúl Hernández, Alfonso André & Adrian Belew 3:08
9 "(Just Like) Starting Over" The Flaming Lips The Flaming Lips 3:36
10 "God" Jack's Mannequin featuring Mick Fleetwood Jim Wirt, Andrew McMahon & Robert "Raw" Anderson 4:20
11 "Real Love" Regina Spektor Regina Spektor & Joe Mendelson 3:57
Borders exclusive bonus tracks Edit

(Only available on the special edition of the album courtesy of Borders on Disc Two)

# Title Performer(s) Time
12 "Imagine" Willie Nelson 3:33
13 "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" Angelique Kidjo 3:04

ITunes bonus tracks Edit

(Only available for download on the expanded iTunes edition of the album)

# Title Performer(s) Time
1 "Instant Karma!" Duran Duran 3:56
2 "Jealous Guy" Deftones 4:07
3 "Mind Games" Gavin Rossdale 4:13
4 "Oh My Love" Yellowcard 3:20
5 "Crippled Inside" Widespread Panic 4:06
6 "Borrowed Time" O.A.R. 5:55
7 "Woman" Ben Jelen 3:41
8 "Imagine" Me'Shell NdegéOcello 3:16
9 "Well Well Well" Rocky Dawuni 5:00
10 "Mother" Emmanuel Jal 6:03
11 "I Don't Wanna Face It" The Fab Faux 2:49

All songs written by Lennon except "Imagine", "Oh, My Love" and "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" written by Lennon–Ono

International release (outside the United States) Edit

The CD version released outside the United States was a two-disc set containing 28 tracks.

Disc one Edit

# Title Performer(s) Producer(s) Time
1 "Instant Karma!" U2 Tal Herzberg additional production by Larry Mullen Jr. & The Edge 3:14
2 "#9 Dream" R.E.M. David Barbe & R.E.M. 4:38
3 "Mother" Christina Aguilera (featuring Bigelf) Linda Perry 4:48
4 "Give Peace a Chance" Aerosmith featuring Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars Marti Frederiksen 4:35
5 "Cold Turkey" Lenny Kravitz Lenny Kravitz 4:43
6 "Love" The Cure The Cure 3:16
7 "I'm Losing You" Corinne Bailey Rae Steve Chrisanthou 4:01
8 "Gimme Some Truth" Jakob Dylan featuring Dhani Harrison Tony Berg 3:53
9 "Oh, My Love" Jackson Browne Jackson Browne 2:39
10 "One Day At A Time" The Raveonettes Richard Gottehrer 3:22
11 "Imagine" Avril Lavigne Butch Walker 3:12
12 "Nobody Told Me" Big & Rich Adam Shoenfeld 3:30
13 "Mind Games" Eskimo Joe Matt Lovell, Eskimo Joe 4:04
14 "Jealous Guy" Youssou N'Dour Prince N'Dour 3:59

Disc two Edit

# Title Performer(s) Producer(s) Time
1 "Working Class Hero" Green Day Green Day 4:24
2 "Power to the People" Black Eyed Peas Will.I.Am 3:35
3 "Imagine" Jack Johnson Jack Johnson & Robert Carranza 3:40
4 "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)" Ben Harper Ben Harper 3:48
5 "Isolation" Snow Patrol Garrett "Jacknife" Lee 2:36
6 "Watching the Wheels" Matisyahu David Kahne 3:19
7 "Grow Old With Me" The Postal Service Jimmy Tamborello & Benjamin Gibbard 2:30
8 "Gimme Some Truth" Jaguares Saúl Hernández, Alfonso André & Adrian Belew 3:08
9 "(Just Like) Starting Over" The Flaming Lips The Flaming Lips 3:36
10 "God" Jack's Mannequin featuring Mick Fleetwood Jim Wirt, Andrew McMahon & Robert "Raw" Anderson 4:20
11 "Instant Karma!" Duran Duran Duran Duran and Paul Logus 3:55
12 "#9 Dream" a-ha a-ha 4:06
13 "Instant Karma!" Tokio Hotel Dave Roth, Peter Hoffman, Pat Benzer & David Jost 3:09
14 "Real Love" Regina Spektor Regina Spektor & Joe Mendelson 3:57

Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur (The Complete Recordings) Edit

On October 8, 2007, iTunes released a collection of 61 recordings, including 23 previously unreleased tracks contributed to the project.

Notwithstanding the title The Complete Recordings there were some other tracks prepared for the project that were not included on this digital release. (See below).

This is the listing of the 61 tracks that comprise the iTunes digital release The Complete Recordings:

  1. Nobody Told Me – Abdel Wright
  2. Give Peace a Chance – Aerosmith featuring Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars
  3. Imagine – Afroreggae
  4. No. 9 Dream – a-ha
  5. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – Angelique Kidlo with Naima
  6. Love – Audrey de Montigny
  7. Imagine – Avril Lavigne
  8. Oh Yoko – Barenaked Ladies
  9. Beautiful Boy – Ben Harper
  10. Woman – Ben Jelen
  11. Nobody Told Me – Big & Rich
  12. Power to the People – Black Eyed Peas
  13. Mother – Christina Aguilera featuring Bigelf
  14. I'm Losing You – Corinne Bailey Rae
  15. Watching the Wheels – David Usher
  16. Jealous Guy – Deftones
  17. Power to the People – Dj Emjay & The Atari Babies
  18. Hold On – DobaCaracol
  19. Instant Karma – Duran Duran
  20. Oh My Love – Elvira Nikolaisen
  21. Mother – Emmanuel Jal
  22. Mind Games – Eskimo Joe
  23. I Don't Want to Face It – The Fab Faux
  24. Look At Me – Finger Eleven
  25. (Just Like) Starting Over – The Flaming Lips
  26. Beautiful Boy – Freshly Ground
  27. Mind Games – Gavin Rossdale
  28. Working Class Hero – Green Day
  29. Imagine – Jack Johnson
  30. God – Jack's Mannequin featuring Mick Fleetwood
  31. Oh, My Love – Jackson Browne
  32. Gimme Some Truth – Jaguares
  33. Gimme Some Truth (Spanish) – Jaguares
  34. Gimme Some Truth – Jakob Dylan featuring Dhani Harrison
  35. Imagine – James Stewart
  36. Bless You – Leeroy
  37. Cold Turkey – Lenny Kravitz
  38. Whatever Gets You Thru the Night (Peu Importe Si tu Passe la Nuit) – Les Trois Accords
  39. Whatever Gets You Thru the Night – Los Lonely Boys
  40. I'm Losing You – Madrugada
  41. Watching the Wheels – Matisyahu
  42. Imagine – Me'Shell Ndegeocello
  43. Borrowed Time – O.A.R.
  44. Woman – Paddy Casey
  45. Grow Old With Me – The Postal Service
  46. Real Love – Regina Spektor
  47. No.9 Dream – R.E.M.
  48. Well Well Well – Rocky Dawuni
  49. Isolation – Snow Patrol
  50. Love – The Cure
  51. One Day at a Time – The Raveonettes
  52. Instant Karma – The Waking Eyes
  53. Working Class Hero – Tina Dickow
  54. Instant Karma – Tokio Hotel
  55. John Sinclair – Trevor Menear
  56. Instant Karma – U2
  57. Give Peace a Chance – The Voices of Asia
  58. Crippled Inside – Widespread Panic
  59. Imagine – Willie Nelson
  60. Oh, My Love – Yellowcard
  61. Jealous Guy – Youssou N'Dour

The Instant Karma project and the Make Some Noise initiative that preceded it stimulated a desire by many artists to contribute recordings. In addition to the 61 tracks released through the various CD and digital configurations of Instant Karma there were 8 tracks created for the project that did not get included in any format. One track was released subsequently by Amnesty as a separate high-profile project. (Detailed below). These are the 7 tracks created for the Instant Karma project that have not to date been released by Amnesty:

In 2007, Ozzy Osbourne recorded a version of "How?" specially for the Instant Karma produced by Mark Hudson. For reasons never publicly disclosed the recording was not incorporated in any of the released versions of the album.

In 2010, Osbourne was working on an unrelated TV project with longtime Amnesty producer Martin Lewis, who three decades earlier had instigated Amnesty's outreach to rock musicians by recruiting and producing Pete Townshend, Sting, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Bob Geldof and others for Amnesty. [10]

Lewis encouraged Osbourne to re-purpose his unused Lennon recording for a new project saluting Lennon. Osbourne agreed to donate his track for a special iTunes charity single benefiting Amnesty to be released in October 2010 in conjunction with multiple celebrations of the 70th anniversary of Lennon's birth including an all-star concert for Amnesty in New York City. [11] [12] [13]

Osbourne then made a special music video shot in Manhattan paying his very personal tribute to Lennon, produced by Lewis and directed by filmmaker Ernie Fritz. [14]

The charity release was blessed by Yoko Ono who stated "John's spirit and influence is stronger than ever. John shared a common purpose with Amnesty International - shining a light on wrongs and campaigning to protect people's rights. We all shine on!" [15]


List of songs recorded by John Lennon

John Lennon (1940–1980) was an English musician who gained prominence as a member of the Beatles. His songwriting partnership with bandmate Paul McCartney was one of the most celebrated in music history. [1] After their break-up, Lennon recorded over 150 songs as a solo artist. Between 1968 and 1969, Lennon released three avant-garde experimental albums with wife Yoko Ono, [a] as well as a live album and two singles, "Give Peace a Chance" and "Cold Turkey", with the Plastic Ono Band. [5] [6] His debut single before the Beatles' break-up was "Instant Karma!" [6]

Lennon's debut solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, was released in late 1970. [7] Influenced by primal scream therapy, its songs are noted for their intense nature and "raw" sound, [8] containing personal lyrics dealing with themes of loss, abandonment, and suffering. [7] [9] Its follow-up, Imagine, was released in 1971. [10] Co-produced by Phil Spector and featuring appearances by former Beatle George Harrison, Imagine features songs with calmer and elaborate arrangements compared to its predecessor, with lyrics discussing peace, love, and notably, an attack on former bandmate Paul McCartney in the song "How Do You Sleep?" [10] Its title track, in particular, is regarded as one of Lennon's finest songs. [11] Also recorded during this time was the Christmas song "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)". [6] Some Time in New York City (1972), a part-studio, part-live album with Yoko Ono and Elephant's Memory, contained songs by both Lennon and Ono, with lyrics discussing political and social issues and topics such as sexism, incarceration, colonialism and racism. [12] Mind Games (1973), Lennon's first self-produced album, marked a return to introspective songwriting, featuring love songs, hard rockers, and bouts of humour. [13] [14] Walls and Bridges (1974), recorded during his 18-month separation from Ono, features rock and pop songs that reflected Lennon's feelings at the time, as well as contributions from Elton John. [15] Rock 'n' Roll (1975), a covers album of late 1950s and early 1960s rock songs, included songs such as "Stand by Me", "Peggy Sue" and "You Can't Catch Me". [16] After Rock 'n' Roll, Lennon took a five-year hiatus from the music industry to raise his son Sean, [17] aside from occasional demos. [b]

Lennon returned to music in 1980 with Ono on the album Double Fantasy. [6] Co-produced by Jack Douglas, the album's songs primarily focus on the couple's relationship, emphasising their love for each other and their son, Sean, with some songs discussing Lennon's hiatus. [18] Lennon was murdered outside his apartment in New York City three weeks after the album's release. [6] In the years following his death, many previously unissued songs have seen release on other albums, including Milk and Honey (1984), [19] Menlove Ave. (1986), [20] and Anthology (1998). [6] [21] In 2020, to celebrate what would have been Lennon's 80th birthday, Ono and his son Sean released the box set Gimme Some Truth. The Ultimate Mixes, which contained newly remixed versions of 36 of Lennon's songs. [22]


Instant Karma

This single by the Beatles' John Lennon has an interesting history with several relevant facts about Lennon's solo recording career. The song was recorded on January 27, 1970 and released on February 6, 1970, only ten days after the track was laid down. "Instant Karma" was, almost literally, an instant record. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, it was produced by Phil Spector and issued under the Apple label, with "Who Has Seen the Wind" on the B Side. The A Side had the words "Play Loud" stamped near the spindle hole, while Side B had "Play Soft" stamped in the same place.

Some biographers believe Lennon used Spector as the producer for this track in order to gauge how he worked since the band was considering giving the Let It Be tapes to Spector to remix. Ultimately, Spector's work would not pass muster with the Beatles, especially McCartney, and the band's final response came with the issue of Let It Be Naked over twenty-five years later, with a different mix of the album.

Recorded the very same day it was written, "Instant Karma" featured an impressive group of musicians backing Lennon. Klaus Voorman played bass, Billy Preston piano, Alan White drums, and George Harrison lead guitar. (Harrison was naturally interested in promoting the idea of karma.) Harrison and Yoko Ono provided backing vocals, and former Beatles roadie Mal Evans provided handclaps. Lennon sang lead vocal and played the electric piano, the latter instrument giving the track its now-famous and distinctive opening two chords.

"Instant Karma" is one of Rolling Stone magazine's Top 500 Records of all time. Covers for the song were done by many artists, including Duran Duran, U2, John Hiatt, and The Rascals. The title of Stephen King's The Shining derives from the song's lyric "We all shine on." The song has been featured in many movies, and it also prompted a sketch on the cult TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000.


Watch the video: John Lennon:..just rattle your jewelry + Twist and shout (January 2022).