Lennon was officially still a Beatles member when he performed his hit single on BBC
In 1970 John Lennon becomes the first solo Beatle to appear on Top Of The Pops when he performs his single “Instant Karma!”
Released while John Lennon was still officially a member of The Beatles, on February 6, 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. The recording was produced by Phil Spector, marking a comeback for the American producer after his self-imposed retirement in 1966, and leading to him being offered the producer’s role on the 1970 Beatles’ “Let It Be” album. Having privately announced his departure from The Beatles in September 1969, he was now comfortable to issue “Instant Karma!” immediately as a single, the third under his and Ono’s Plastic Ono Band moniker. The recording session took place with “Beatles Family” fellow musicians George Harrison, Klaus Voormann, Alan White and Billy Preston, all of whom had performed at the December 1969 Peace for Christmas Concert, as part of the Plastic Ono Supergroup. “Instant Karma!” was commercially successful, peaking at number 3 on America’s Billboard Hot 100 chart, number 2 in Canada, and number 5 on the UK Singles Chart. The single also reached the top ten in several other European countries and in Australia.The release took place two months before Paul McCartney announced the break-up of the Beatles, whose penultimate single, the George Martin-produced “Let It Be”, Lennon’s record competed with on the US charts. “Instant Karma!” went on to become the first single by a solo Beatle to achieve US sales of 1 million. On February 12, 1970, a short hair Lennon performed the song on BBC TV’s Top Of The Pops, becoming the first Beatle to have appeared on the show since 1966 as well as the first solo Beatle to perform on it.
Watch the John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band performing “Instant Karma!” on BBC’s Top Of The Pops in 1970
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