Thursday, December 31, 2009

John Lennon - Instant Karma!

(Apple, 1970)

Golly gee! Good for John Lennon, directly following up his best-ever ROCK single with his best-ever POP single in a nifty display of quick-pivot versatility (and speaking of versatility, Yoko contributes a medieval-sounding harpsichord-and-flute ditty on the B this time out!). With a big joyous chorus, bouncy piano, passionate vocal, silly drum fills, and echo up the wazoo, “Instant Karma” absolutely SOUNDS like a smash the first time you hear it, thanks to that unit-shifting combo of Lennon’s rhythmic, gut-punch popwrite and Phil Spector’s huge production. Aside from the fact that this was John’s biggest solo hit to date, Spector’s involvement on here is actually quite important in a larger historical sense. This was the first time he’d worked with any of the Beatles, and Lennon and Harrison (who plays guitar on “Instant Karma”) were pleased enough with the results that they both brought him onboard for their next solo albums – Plastic Ono Band and the VERY Spector-esque All Things Must Pass, respectively. But, perhaps more significantly, this session also led to our murderous producer friend being drafted to salvage the Let it Be tapes, a move that ultimately convinced Paul to publically put a bullet in the Beatles’ head – Spector-style, zing! – a few months later. Yes, there were obviously a number of other issues that led to the breakup (and Lennon had effectively quit by now anyway), but it’s amusing to realize that a song as simple and cosmically uplifting as “Instant Karma” played such a big role in what ended up being a decade-plus of sniping and acrimony between the ex-Beatles.

1 comment:

Donald Brown said...

yes, Instant Karma was more interesting than the Beatles releases from Let It Be, which did not bode well for the 'future' of the band (which there wasn't, but the public wasn't sure about that, yet). And Maybe I'm Amazed was a great McC sans Beatles tune. It looked like they were off and running, solo-wise, but...