220px-Instantk#3– John Lennon – “Instant Karma!” – (1970)

Pretentious alert! This is John Lennon’s best solo work, but it’s still reeks of that whole “artistry” thing that irritates me about him so much. Here’s why: in the U.K. the song was titled “Instant Karma” and was credited to Lennon/Ono with the Plastic Ono Band. In the U.S., the song was called “Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)” (because U.S. audiences apparently need their titles dumbed down, and it was credited to John Ono Lennon. I can see why people hate Yoko so much. Despite all of this, this remains an incredible song.

220px-ImagineCover#16 – John Lennon – “Imagine” – (1971)

No, this is not our #1 song for 1971. It’s good, but like with everything John Lennon touched (and Yoko was there instead of another Beatle to bring it back to reality) it kind of reeks of pretension. It’s an amazing, beautiful song. It peaked at #3 in the U.S. and is the definitive John Lennon song – and that includes everything he did with the Beatles.

#4 – John Lennon – “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” – (1971)

The second Beatles entry on this list. And yeah, I know the album cover says “John & Yoko & The Plastic Ono Band” but the words “Yoko” or “Ono” don’t register on my list of recognizable words. But I will give credit to the Harlem Community Choir for their very well done backing vocals. John Lennon’s big songs had a tendency to either insult or demand answers to questions (depending on the way you view it), and this is no different, quickly asking “What have you done?” It reminds me a lot of “Instant Karma!” but, well, more Christmas-y. And of course he has to talk about war or something controversial (like his use of “Xmas”).