..Jon Simonds..

Instant Karma

There's a scene in the movie, Stoned, when Brian Jones, (the founding member of The Rolling Stones) says, "The Beatles are Christ. We are the anti-Christ." They were a significant part of a decade of utter chaos. A time when Martin Luther King led an army through the streets of America in a peaceful battle for change, while Malcolm X preached the fisted Power of the Panther. It was a decade in which a New York Senator won the Democratic National Convention on the very day he was fatally shot by an assassin of the Muslim faith.

On June 25, 1967 — long before the internet connected the world — in what was allegedly the first world-wide satellite broadcast, the Beatles sang "All You Need Is Love" to a reported 300 million people in 26 different countries.

"Love is all you need," went the chorus, while war tore a nation in half, because Americans weren't afraid to exercise their freedom to question authority, rather than follow it blindly down a path chosen by unopposed leaders, like a Hitler with warped dreams of one world, one race. Did a generation fill the fields of a farm in New York in a massive peaceful gathering, only to watch it lay in ruins at a racetrack in Altamont?

The Beatles broke up and gave us three times as much of the Beatles. Paul went pop while George sang spiritual and John became the crusader for peace and love. He was such a thorn in a President's side they fought to deport him and may have even seriously toyed with the idea of his assassination. His crime? He was politically incorrect, long before the two words were even dating. He echoed the dreams of Dr. King and spoke out against an unjust war. He was, for all intents and purposes, an enemy combatant. He was also a father who may have finally found peace in the sanctuary of the family he and Yoko shared. And then, of course, he died in the back of a New York City Police car, the homicide victim of a crazed fan.

The Rolling Stones are now an institution, an online corporation with designer jackets and caps and shoulder bags and jewelry, all featuring the pre-desktop icon of the cherry red lips and that tongue. Keith does Disney and the band agrees not to sing the politically incorrect, "Sweet Neo-con," during a superbowl half-time appearance. An Irish singer, Bono, refers to the Englishman, Lennon, and how the Plastic Ono Band's first album helped him cope with the sudden loss of his mother. He meets with G-8 leaders in an effort to stamp out world poverty, hunger and the diseases science has conquered, but are still allowed to thrive because there is no health care in the poorest countries of the world. What would Dr. King dream today?

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

In a week when Paul McCartney has released his finest work in 20 years, The Amnesty International Campaign To Save Darfur, has released Instant Karma. It is a 34 song compilation of the music of John Lennon. All proceeds are going to battle the Human Rights Crisis in Darfur. Some of the many artists on the album, include Bono's U2 with a rendition of "Instant Karma." Christine Aguilera does a haunting version of "Mother." Green Day explodes on "Working Class Hero" and there is, of course "Power to the People," beautifully performed by the Black Eyed Peas. Bob Dylan's' son, Jakob, and George Harrison's son, Dhani, collaborate on "Gimme Some Truth" — "I've had enough of reading things by neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians./All I want is the truth/Just gimme some truth/No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky/Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me/With just a pocketful of hope/Money for dope/Money for rope..."

The majority of the people of Darfur have probably never even heard of John Lennon. The human suffering is beyond comprehension. They don't want his music, they want food to save them from starvation. They want medicine to fight the dilapidating effects of simple bacteria. They want the international community to intervene in the senseless slaughter wrought by religious differences. The Instant Karma Project may not solve all of these problems, but it will begin to help.

Just 24 hours after it's release, Apple I-Tunes showed it at number 8 on it's list of best selling albums. This, forty years after the first world-wide broadcast featuring the Beatles singing, "All You Need Is Love" in a time when a NY Senator ran for the Democratic nomination, in a nation that survived a war people weren't afraid to oppose.