John Ono Lennon (With The Plastic Ono Band): “Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)” (1970)

Stop war, stop doing heroin and stop fooling yourself sum up John’s first three singles, with this being the best of them.

Kronomyth 2.5: Mother Goose, you had me but I never had you.

The idea has been advanced, not without merit, that both “All You Need Is Love” and “Instant Karma!” are based on the nursery rhyme, “Three Blind Mice.” When my musical elitism gets the better of me, I remind myself that I (apparently) have the same musical tastes as a two-year-old.

This song has always held a special place in my heart and head. After four albums and two singles, John Lennon finally got serious. “Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)” is the first work from the man that actually holds up against the legacy of The Beatles. No hippy chants, no primal scream therapy, this is rock & roll magic at its finest. Alan White also hands in an inspired performance on the drums. Yoko delivers a lovely, complementary song on the B side, “Who Has Seen The Wind?” Featuring flute and harpsichord accompaniment, it’s a nearly beguiling number that presents Yoko as the antithesis of Nico.

Original 7-inch single version

A1. Instant Karma! (We All Shine On) (John Lennon) (3:18)
B1. Who Has Seen The Wind? (Yoko Ono) (2:02)

7-inch single reissue (1992)
A1. Instant Karma!
B1. Oh My Love

CD single reissue (1992)
1. Instant Karma!
2. Oh My Love
3. Mother
4. Bless You

The Players

John Lennon (vocals, acoustic guitar, piano), John Barham (harpsichord), Mal Evans (chimes, handclaps, backing vocals), George Harrison (electric guitar, piano, backing vocals), Yoko Ono (vocals, flute, backing vocals), Billy Preston (Hammond organ, backing vocals), Klaus Voormann (bass guitar, electric piano, backing vocals), Alan White (drums, piano, backing vocals). Produced by Phil Spector (A1), John Lennon (B1).

The Plastic

Released on 7-inch single on February 6, 1970 in the UK and Greece (Apple, 1003), on February 20, 1970 in the US (Apple, 1818), and in 1970 in France (Apple, C006 91149M) and Japan (EMI Odeon, EAS-17122) with picture sleeve; reached #5 on the UK charts and #3 on the US charts (charted on February 28, 1970 for 13 weeks) (RIAA-certified gold record).

  1. Released on 7-inch and compact disc single in 1992 in Australia, Germany and the Netherlands (EMI, 880044).

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