Instant Karma – John Lennon

THIS DAY IN MUSIC………………………………on January 27th of 1970 John Lennon writes, records and mixes “Instant Karma” during a nine hour session. Phil Spector produced the effort with George Harrison on guitar, Billy Preston on piano, Klaus Voormann on bass and Alan White on drums. Karma is the belief that your actions effect your future lives. Good deeds will have a positive effect while bad deeds bring negative consequences. The concept of Karma is popular in the Hindu and Buddhist religions. Lennon’s idea of “Instant Karma” refers to a more immediate concept of accountability for your actions. Basically, what comes around, goes around. John Lennon wrote and recorded this song in one day, Lennon told Rolling Stone in January 1971 about the recording of this song and its quick turnaround: “I wrote it in the morning on the piano. I went to the office and sang it many times. So I said ‘Hell, let’s do it,’ and we booked the studio, and Phil came in, and said, ‘How do you want it?’ I said, ‘You know, 1950’s.’ He said, ‘right,’ and boom, I did it in about three goes or something like that. I went in and he played it back and there it was. The only argument was that I said a bit more bass, that’s all; and off we went.” According to Philip Norman’s book John Lennon: The Life, the chorus was made up of Mal Evans, Yoko, and a small group of strangers Lennon rounded up from a West End pub called Hatchetts. This was the first of many recordings by members of the Beatles that Phil Spector produced in 1970. He helmed three albums in the same year for them, which were Let It Be for The Beatles, All Things Must Pass for George Harrison and Plastic Ono Band for John Lennon. According to the BBC book The Record Producers, John Lennon wanted Spector to produce a single before letting him take on Let It Be. “Instant Karma” proved that Spector could work with sparse instrumentation and still produce a hit, and it won over Lennon. The song was a Top Ten hit in both the US where it reached #3 and in the UK where it peaked at #5.