“I wrote it for breakfast, recorded it for lunch, and we’re putting it out for dinner.”
– John Lennon
“Everybody was going on about karma … But it occurred to me that karma is instant as well as it influences your past life or your future life … I’m fascinated by commercials, as an art form … So the idea of instant karma was like the idea of instant coffee: presenting something in a new form.”
– John Lennon (Playboy Magazine, 1980)
“It was excellent. Lennon was characteristically simple and direct, but this time on a song with one of those magically catchy refrains.”
– Bob Woffinden (NME)
“Instant Karma!” – sometimes referred to as “Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)” – is a song written by English musician John Lennon, released as a single on Apple Records in February 1970. In the UK, the single was credited to “Lennon/Ono with the Plastic Ono Band”. 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.
“It was great, ’cause I wrote it in the morning on the piano, like I said many times, and I went to the office and I sang it. I thought, ‘Hell, let’s do it,’ and we booked the studio. And Phil came in, he said, ‘How do you want it?’ I said, ‘You know, 1950 but now.’ And he said ‘Right,’ and boom, I did it in just about three goes. He played it back, and there it was. I said, ‘A bit more bass,’ that’s all. And off we went. See, Phil doesn’t fuss about with fuckin’ stereo or all the bullshit. Just ‘Did it sound alright? Let’s have it.’ It doesn’t matter whether something’s prominent or not prominent. If it sounds good to you as a layman or as a human, take it. Don’t bother whether this is like that or the quality of this. That suits me fine.”
– John Lennon (1970)
“Instant Karma!” was written, recorded and released within a period of ten days, making it one of the fastest-released songs in pop music history.
John Lennon – Instant Karma (official video):