[ ]   [ ]   [ ]                        [ ]      [ ]   [ ]
John Lennon — Instant Karma!
Album: The John Lennon Collection
Avg rating:
8

Your rating:
Total ratings: 2607









Released: 1970
Length: 3:13
Plays (last 30 days): 3
Instant Karma's gonna get you
Gonna knock you 'round the head
You better get yourself together
Pretty soon you're gonna be dead

What in the world you thinking of?
Laughing in the face of love
What on Earth you tryin' to do?
It's up to you
Yeah, you

Instant Karma's gonna get you
Gonna look you right in the face
Better get yourself together, darling
Join the human race

How in the world you gonna see?
Laughin' at fools like me
Who on Earth d'you think you are
A superstar?
Well, right you are

Well, we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun
Well, we all shine on
Everyone, c'mon

Instant Karma's gonna get you
Gonna knock you off your feet
Better recognize your brothers
Everyone you meet

Why in the world are we here?
Surely not to live in pain and fear
Why on Earth are you there
When you're everywhere
Come and get your share

Well, we all shine on
Like the moons and the stars and the sun
Yeah, we all shine on
C'mon and on and on, on, on

Yeah, yeah
Alright
Uh-huh
Ah

Well, we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun
Yeah, we all shine on
On and on and on, on and on

Well, we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun
Yeah, we all shine on
Like the moons and the stars and the sun
Yeah, we all shine on
Like the moons and the stars and the sun
Yeah, we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun
Comments (344)add comment
 stevesaw wrote:

Lennon has some great songs, but they always seem to have way too much reverb/echo which makes it all kind of mushy. I guess that's his 'sound' but, for me, it's distracting.




Phil Spector at work!
I agree with Bill G about Spector's treatment of Let It Be but he did go on to produce several albums for John Lennon. I think they clicked in a similar way that Paul and Martin/Emerick did.
 SchoepTone wrote:

How appropriate this song is the day after George Floyd's killer is convicted!



Yeah--I wish I could rely on Karma to keep cops in line...
 kaybee wrote:

{#Drummer}  The drummer KILLS me!!  Spastic, indeed.




Alan White of Yes. 
I love hearing Bill's comments between sets. It makes the play sets even more personal.
 SchoepTone wrote:

How appropriate this song is the day after George Floyd's killer is convicted!

Sadly, his conviction is an anomaly.
c.

How appropriate this song is the day after George Floyd's killer is convicted!
 (anonymous) wrote:
Originally Posted by TheLoneIguana:
Shine on... just be careful about going into old hotels if you do...
2 DOWN --2 TA go! :moon:
 
Instant Karma's gonna get you
Gonna look you right in the face
Better get yourself together, darling
Join the human race
Lennon has some great songs, but they always seem to have way too much reverb/echo which makes it all kind of mushy. I guess that's his 'sound' but, for me, it's distracting.
 kurtster wrote:

This is one of my most favorite Lennon tracks and I recently went and ripped my 1975 US Los Angeles 1st press of Shaved Fish which is on this album.  I missed the RP playback so I don't know what BG's sounds like. But I do pop in to the comments of my favorite songs when they come up in front of me just to see what people are talking about regarding the song.

So this track was produced by Lennon and Ono, not Spector, thankfully.  I pulled out the rip and played it back full tilt to give it a serious listening to.  This is pre loudness pre remastering primo vinyl.  The drums sounded very nice all the way across with the kick getting lot's of attention and right tight with the bass. You can still hear everything else quite nicely and the cymbals are clear.  There is some weird echo reverb affect that comes in and out that maybe people are noticing and not liking.  It definitely does have the Spector Wall of Sound feel to it though and he was still influencing Lennon and Harrison a lot back then after The Beatles broke up.

Remastering is not always kind to songs and can make them worse in many cases.  Could be what happened to this that is played here.

I really ♥ vinyl and the more I go through my collection the more I appreciate the original versions.
 
I agree with everything here, except that everything I could find in an admittedly quick Google search indicates that Spector produced this.
 kaybee wrote:

{#Drummer}  The drummer KILLS me!!  Spastic, indeed.


 
That "spastic drummer" is the legendary Alan White. Just sayin'...
 LowPhreak wrote:
 mgkiwi wrote:
That's got to be Yoko on the drums or even worse, Ringo - sounds like BBC sound effects of man falling down stairs!!  {#Drummer}

 
It's the way they engineered the sound on this track, not Alan White's doing. He's one of the best out there.
 
This is one of my most favorite Lennon tracks and I recently went and ripped my 1975 US Los Angeles 1st press of Shaved Fish which is on this album.  I missed the RP playback so I don't know what BG's sounds like. But I do pop in to the comments of my favorite songs when they come up in front of me just to see what people are talking about regarding the song.

So this track was produced by Lennon and Ono, not Spector, thankfully.  I pulled out the rip and played it back full tilt to give it a serious listening to.  This is pre loudness pre remastering primo vinyl.  The drums sounded very nice all the way across with the kick getting lot's of attention and right tight with the bass. You can still hear everything else quite nicely and the cymbals are clear.  There is some weird echo reverb affect that comes in and out that maybe people are noticing and not liking.  It definitely does have the Spector Wall of Sound feel to it though and he was still influencing Lennon and Harrison a lot back then after The Beatles broke up.

Remastering is not always kind to songs and can make them worse in many cases.  Could be what happened to this that is played here.

I really ♥ vinyl and the more I go through my collection the more I appreciate the original versions.
Instant coffee's gonna get you...
He was an accomplished 40 year old when he died 40 years ago...
 hbs47 wrote:
Tedious noise. As it says On and On and On. 
 

Obviously, the substance of the song is lost on you.  Your customized chorus should be Off and Off and Off. 
It hurts John has moved on I bet he’s having a good laugh wherever he is now We miss you
 AZJeff wrote:
GM Bill -

'instant karma' indeed after listening to 'we march on' with Yoko .  .  . keep on keepin'
 
THAT is bad ass!!!!
GM Bill -

'instant karma' indeed after listening to 'we march on' with Yoko .  .  . keep on keepin'
 kaybee wrote:

{#Drummer}  The drummer KILLS me!!  Spastic, indeed.


 
The Drummer:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_White_(Yes_drummer)
 hbs47 wrote:
Tedious noise. As it says On and On and On. 
 
And curse hbs47 he was such a stupid get!
Tedious noise. As it says On and On and On. 
John was born 78 years ago today.  R.I.P.
I prefer to remember his birthday, not the anniversary of his death.
A-freaking-mazing! What a tune! {#Notworthy}
 boontonite wrote:
This one deserves a 10 just for the drum track alone. Still sounds great!

 
I agree
 On_The_Beach wrote:
John would have been 77 today.
R.I.P.

 
Still love ya John.
John would have been 77 today.
R.I.P.
Karma... will always prevail.    luv Y'all.   123K
Magic

{#Sunny}
Well we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun
Well we all shine on
Ev'ryone come on 
 k-man wrote:


If you read up on the early Beatles journey, you'll learn that they all came from a very "modest" background. Reading how they would stack themselves on top of each other in the back of the car when driving up to gigs in the bitter cold, it's pretty impressive.

I don't look down the fact that Lennon earned a barrel money, or that he spent it on making himself comfortable. But John didn't spend money on just himself. Take a look at the charities and the causes that he supported. What seems a bit pretentious is that you, oldsaxon, hold yourself up as the judge of what somebody does with their life and earned income. 

 
Hear! Hear!
 LowPhreak wrote:

It's the way they engineered the sound on this track, not Alan White's doing. He's one of the best out there.

 

These drums are much better than the thumpa-thumpa of too many bands.
{#Bananapiano}
 mgkiwi wrote:
That's got to be Yoko on the drums or even worse, Ringo - sounds like BBC sound effects of man falling down stairs!!  {#Drummer}

 
It's the way they engineered the sound on this track, not Alan White's doing. He's one of the best out there.
 mgkiwi wrote:
That's got to be Yoko on the drums or even worse, Ringo - sounds like BBC sound effects of man falling down stairs!!  {#Drummer}

 
drums by Alan White, one of those prog guys
Instant karma can be a bitch.
That's got to be Yoko on the drums or even worse, Ringo - sounds like BBC sound effects of man falling down stairs!!  {#Drummer}
This one deserves a 10 just for the drum track alone. Still sounds great!
I remember when it first came out and I felt the over all sound was what made the record.
Very un-Beatles funky but it also has the same vibe as "Cold Turkey and "Come Together"
 LawrenceSheppard wrote:
I grew up with the Beatles and love so many of their songs. Lennon and McCartney were a songwriting juggernaut! That said, once Lennon went on his own, things changed. Just because it's him doesn't mean it's any good. I can't even listen to it ...

 
Agree.
 themusicroob wrote:
I always wondered about these vocals. It seems like John didn't like his voice enough and felt the need to obscure it.

 
Even on Double Fantasy, he had the slight echo going. (Left over from Spectre influence perhaps?) He did state in an interview that he wasn't happy with his voice. 
 She should have always stayed that way!
you ever see the video of this
Yoko with a blindfold on and knitting behind Lennon

 

 


I always wondered about these vocals. It seems like John didn't like his voice enough and felt the need to obscure it.
 MrsTom wrote:
Sounds like it was recorded in a bucket, in a barrel, floating in a swimming Pool with a load of kids hitting the barrel with wet fish

 
Pretty close, but it wasn't a bucket, it was a pail, but as "El Condor Pasa" goes: "I'd rather be a bucket than a pail".
 MrsTom wrote:
Sounds like it was recorded in a bucket, in a barrel, floating in a swimming Pool with a load of kids hitting the barrel with wet fish

 
Catmaven?
you ever see the video of this
Yoko with a blindfold on and knitting behind Lennon

 
 MrsTom wrote:
Sounds like it was recorded in a bucket, in a barrel, floating in a swimming Pool with a load of kids hitting the barrel with wet fish

 
{#Roflol}
But it sounds great to me.
I love when songs aren't overly focused on hifi tech/quality/details.
Substance, essence, energy, feeling.
I grew up with the Beatles and love so many of their songs. Lennon and McCartney were a songwriting juggernaut! That said, once Lennon went on his own, things changed. Just because it's him doesn't mean it's any good. I can't even listen to it ...
what goes around comes around
I think maybe his karma ran over his dogma!  Cheers!  {#Cheers}

kingart wrote:
Mojo's dogma ran over his karma

MojoJojo wrote:
The only concept more ridiculous than karma is instant karma.

  
Look out MojoJojo — it's gonna get you.....

 


Sounds like it was recorded in a bucket, in a barrel, floating in a swimming Pool with a load of kids hitting the barrel with wet fish
Mojo's dogma ran over his karma

MojoJojo wrote:
The only concept more ridiculous than karma is instant karma.

  
Look out MojoJojo — it's gonna get you.....
10 to these ears, except for the weird attacks the drummer keeps getting.  Hence only 9 from my office.
Happy 75th!  John, miss you
Yeah man! Today's the day.
 aspicer wrote:
Genius in song - brilliant!

Tip of the day:  If you ever go to Scottsdale, AZ a MUST visit is The Musical Instrument Museum.  Quite amazing and they have the original piano John used to create "Imagine".  

 
haha..i if you ever go to Tokyo, you must also visit the John Lennon Museum, they also have the original piano John used to create 'Imagine'  

Anyway, you can also get into this brilliant gob-smacking, life-changing piece of genius there...
 oldsaxon wrote:

Well at least it's not as pretentious as sitting in your million dollar flat in New York playing your fabulous white piano in your thousand dollar suit and imagining how cool it would be if everything was wonderfully equal.

 

If you read up on the early Beatles journey, you'll learn that they all came from a very "modest" background. Reading how they would stack themselves on top of each other in the back of the car when driving up to gigs in the bitter cold, it's pretty impressive.

I don't look down the fact that Lennon earned a barrel money, or that he spent it on making himself comfortable. But John didn't spend money on just himself. Take a look at the charities and the causes that he supported. What seems a bit pretentious is that you, oldsaxon, hold yourself up as the judge of what somebody does with their life and earned income. 
Genius in song - brilliant!

Tip of the day:  If you ever go to Scottsdale, AZ a MUST visit is The Musical Instrument Museum.  Quite amazing and they have the original piano John used to create "Imagine".  
 MojoJojo wrote:
The only concept more ridiculous than karma is instant karma.

 
Look out MojoJojo — it's gonna get you.....
John fucking Lennon. {#Notworthy}  Gawd I miss him still.

Birthday Boy!

Instant Recognition on that 1st note..
Fantastic song.

One drawback of Lennon's post Beatle output was that sometimes just wanted to get the record out there rather than spend time on getting it perfect. A reaction in part from working with Paul (Maxwell's Silver Hammer anyone). The other problem was Phil Spector.  

I still rate this a 10 but it could have been a 12. We all shine on.        
In his brief 40 years, this man had a profound impact on popular music and culture.
miss you john. 
Why on earth are we here? Surely not to live in pain and fear...

{#Yes}  {#Meditate}   {#Group-hug} 
This is another of those distinctive songs which can be identified from the opening note. I'd get this on a 'beat the intro' comp within a second, maybe less. Which in this case prompted a leap to PSD...
 oldsaxon wrote:
Well at least it's not as pretentious as sitting in your million dollar flat in New York playing your fabulous white piano in your thousand dollar suit and imagining how cool it would be if everything was wonderfully equal.
 
He earned it by being very talented and lucky…up until that one day.
 moodfood wrote:
so profound and provocative no doubt, classic Lennon

 
Well at least it's not as pretentious as sitting in your million dollar flat in New York playing your fabulous white piano in your thousand dollar suit and imagining how cool it would be if everything was wonderfully equal.
so profound and provocative no doubt, classic Lennon
I think of John Lennon as quite a useful, powerful teacher.  So that his words continue to affect me, karma-like.  Peace! 
 PopKombo wrote:

by this time in his life the recording arts had greatly improved over earlier beatles recordings.  i believe this recording sounds the way it does because of artistic choices  it sounds this way because he wanted it to sound like this

 
I was thinking the same thing.
 Stratocaster wrote:
John Lennon was an incredible talent, and one of the best songwriters in the history of music.

That said, this is not one of his better efforts.

The production could have been so much better.  WAAAAY too much slapback echo, muddy bass, and the drums are too far forward in the mix.

I still gave it a 7, though I may knock it down a peg next time I hear it. 

 

Have always loved the tune but abhorred the production. Just horrible...
 Stratocaster wrote:
John Lennon was an incredible talent, and one of the best songwriters in the history of music.

That said, this is not one of his better efforts.

The production could have been so much better.  WAAAAY too much slapback echo, muddy bass, and the drums are too far forward in the mix.

I still gave it a 7, though I may knock it down a peg next time I hear it. 

 
by this time in his life the recording arts had greatly improved over earlier beatles recordings.  i believe this recording sounds the way it does because of artistic choices  it sounds this way because he wanted it to sound like this
The only concept more ridiculous than karma is instant karma.
 Lazarus wrote:

This song is incredible...

 
........ only incredible
 Carl wrote:

Totally agree.
Re production: I've felt the same for all of the Beatles and their individual output, with possible exception of George Harrison's solo work, which seems to have been engineered better than the others. Of course, there is the evolution of recording art at play, but I have older (than Beatles) records of early Patsy Cline that sound *much* better on a good "hi-fi" than any of the Beatles' stuff—even their Mono Remaster Box Set. Don't know if it was the recording equipment or engineering or what, but the Beatles have never had the great sonic quality that was possible back then.

 
John had skill, no doubt about that, and he never did better than when he was working against Paul's foil. I think they both did their best just after the break when they could both hear the other without worrying too much... my two cents.
 Stratocaster wrote:
John Lennon was an incredible talent, and one of the best songwriters in the history of music.

… The production could have been so much better.  …
 
Totally agree.
Re production: I've felt the same for all of the Beatles and their individual output, with possible exception of George Harrison's solo work, which seems to have been engineered better than the others. Of course, there is the evolution of recording art at play, but I have older (than Beatles) records of early Patsy Cline that sound *much* better on a good "hi-fi" than any of the Beatles' stuff—even their Mono Remaster Box Set. Don't know if it was the recording equipment or engineering or what, but the Beatles have never had the great sonic quality that was possible back then.
Always thinking about the combination of songs and thought the Broken Bells/instant Karma fairly harsh but after a few stanzas  nice touch 
As terrific as a singer as McCartney was (and still is, given that age has caught up him), I've always thought Lennon was the better singer of the two.
Time to turn to KUSC for 'something different'.  The last 20 PSD punches just kept giving me things I've heard on RP several times fairly recently. New music?  I guess this means that I'm spending too much time here.
John Lennon was an incredible talent, and one of the best songwriters in the history of music.

That said, this is not one of his better efforts.

The production could have been so much better.  WAAAAY too much slapback echo, muddy bass, and the drums are too far forward in the mix.

I still gave it a 7, though I may knock it down a peg next time I hear it. 
 SuperWeh wrote:
Instant karma certainly got him,...
 
That's a pretty callous, asinine thing to say.
Maybe not more popular than Jesus, but definitely more real. 10.
Instant karma certainly got him, but don't think self reflection was his strongest point anyway.

This song is incredible...

marvelous...

 
The fact that this is John Lennon...lends this to the score it has. As a song...it's junky, clunky and uneven. Though I do like...
 cShaggy wrote:
Why in the world are we here?
Surely not to live in pain and fear
Why on Earth are you there
When you're everywhere
Gonna get your share


..lyrics alone make it worth a replay, often even..

 
Just a slight correction to the lyrics, last line:

Come and get your share.  

Everybody in my church loves this song...
Why in the world are we here?
Surely not to live in pain and fear
Why on Earth are you there
When you're everywhere
Gonna get your share


..lyrics alone make it worth a replay, often even..

Noise.
 Jollyra wrote:
I understand that old songs like this need air-time in order to keep RP afloat, but the experience would be improved if more unexplored-and-not-beaten-to-death songs were played. I don't listen to RP to be reminded of what was once really good but is now dated. I listen to find new favourites.
 



It has more to do w age and experience. My sense is that you are a young person and have not built up several decades of connection to songs/artists based on synaptic links. Many years from now you'll have a bright younger person telling you what you've stated to us older listeners. May you have many wonderful adventures filled w an excellent soundtrack.
 Jollyra wrote:
I understand that old songs like this need air-time in order to keep RP afloat, but the experience would be improved if more unexplored-and-not-beaten-to-death songs were played. I don't listen to RP to be reminded of what was once really good but is now dated. I listen to find new favourites.
 
Great rock'n'roll is timeless—like all great music. If you're annoyed by Bill's mix, you might try internet stations like WXPN and KEXP, both of which emphasize current and breaking artists.
 Jollyra wrote:
I understand that old songs like this need air-time in order to keep RP afloat, but the experience would be improved if more unexplored-and-not-beaten-to-death songs were played. I don't listen to RP to be reminded of what was once really good but is now dated. I listen to find new favourites.
 
To this I can only note that not everyone who listens has your history with this or any piece. Over time one notices that magazines publish the same articles that they published earlier (National Geographic must hold the record for repeatedly mining the same trough). There are indeed songs played here that grate for me, but in general I manage to work past them, realizing that there are listeners who probably share some of my tastes but not all.
Being a Real Old School guy, I loved John Lennon when he was part of Lennon & McCartney.  But he became a pontificating, fatuous ass during his solo career.  "Instant Karma" is one of the better solo tunes, but NOT as good as anything the Beatles did.
This song is ok - kinda of a solid 7 - but it's a real letdown after that fabulous and chilling Erik Satie piano piece, Gnossienne #1. 
 Jollyra wrote:
I understand that old songs like this need air-time in order to keep RP afloat, but the experience would be improved if more unexplored-and-not-beaten-to-death songs were played. I don't listen to RP to be reminded of what was once really good but is now dated. I listen to find new favourites.
 
Could not an old, potentially trend-setting classic tune become a new favorite for someone?
I understand that old songs like this need air-time in order to keep RP afloat, but the experience would be improved if more unexplored-and-not-beaten-to-death songs were played. I don't listen to RP to be reminded of what was once really good but is now dated. I listen to find new favourites.
Sure, but I sort of like the granular, gritty sound of the all natural sing along style.  There is passion and not just production. 

tulfan wrote:

Agreed. I love the song but always felt the production left much to be desired...
 


 Stratocaster wrote:
I have always had a love-hate relationship with this song.

I think it is a really really good song...however, I am not a fan of the production.  Too much slapback echo on the vocals and the drums.

So, what I'm saying is, I think it could have been recorded better.

Still gets a 7 from me due to the song itself. 
 
Well said, Straocaster (better than I could have said myself).  Agreed, and similar rating for similar reasons.
 Stratocaster wrote:
I have always had a love-hate relationship with this song.

I think it is a really really good song...however, I am not a fan of the production.  Too much slapback echo on the vocals and the drums.

So, what I'm saying is, I think it could have been recorded better.

Still gets a 7 from me due to the song itself. 
 


Agreed. I love the song but always felt the production left much to be desired...
 e_b wrote:

Yeah, I'm not sure why they put 1970 there.  I thought this came out a couple of years after he passed (early 80's) since I remember borrowing the cassette tape from the library.
 
in Feb 20, 1970 exactly, a single (i have !!!)
https://www.allmusic.com/album/instant-karma-we-all-shine-on-r242310 
 Bleyfusz wrote:
Did he really look this old in 1970?

Edit:
now I see: Collection, kind of retrospective.

 
Yeah, I'm not sure why they put 1970 there.  I thought this came out a couple of years after he passed (early 80's) since I remember borrowing the cassette tape from the library.
Probably in the minority on this one.  Might be my favorite JL song.  So many to choose from..Miss him!
quite likeable, like instant coffee
I have always had a love-hate relationship with this song.

I think it is a really really good song...however, I am not a fan of the production.  Too much slapback echo on the vocals and the drums.

So, what I'm saying is, I think it could have been recorded better.

Still gets a 7 from me due to the song itself. 
Did he really look this old in 1970?

Edit:
now I see: Collection, kind of retrospective.

I find it interesting that the negative comments are usually misspelled. Oh well, no accounting for taste or schooling. {#Naughty} 
Yes indeed we all shine on!  {#Sunny}
Thank you!
 kaybee wrote:

{#Drummer}  The drummer KILLS me!!  Spastic, indeed.
 

btw. that's Yes's Alan White (who also played piano on this)...

 justin4kick wrote:
The spastic attacks of the drummer make the song even better. 
 
{#Drummer}  The drummer KILLS me!!  Spastic, indeed.


 laozilover wrote:
Don't look now, but I think romeotuma LIKEs this song!
 

ME TOO!!!!!{#Clap}{#Good-vibes}
The spastic attacks of the drummer make the song even better. 
Words I try to live by:

Why on earth are we hear
Surely not to live in pain and fear
Why on earth are you there
When you're everywhere
Come and get your share
'Cause we all shine on
Like the moon, and the stars and the sun
Don't look now, but I think romeotuma LIKEs this song!


Shine on  {#Yes}
So many words of wisdom in the form of a great rock song.

My favorites

Why in the world are we here.  Surely not to live in pain and fear.
Why on earth are you there, when you're everywhere, come and get your share.
was about to grab a bite to eat, run the the restroom etc...but had to hear the rest of this one today!
I need water!!!!   I was gona get up at the next crap song... it has been an hour!
Wow a John Lennon solo song that I can actually tolerate!!