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"Borrowed Time"
Single by John Lennon
from the album Milk and Honey
Released 1984
Format 7"/12" single
Genre Pop/Reggae
Length 4.30
Label Polydor Records
Writer(s) John Lennon
Producer John Lennon & Yoko Ono
John Lennon singles chronology
"Nobody Told Me" (1984) "Borrowed Time" (1984) "I'm Stepping Out" (1984)

"Borrowed Time" is the title of a song from John Lennon and Yoko Ono's last album, Milk and Honey. It charted at #32 in the UK Singles Chart.[1]

The song was written in Bermuda during Lennon's 1980 sailing holiday.[2][3] On the trip down from Newport Rhode Island to Bermuda, Lennon's yacht encountered a prolonged severe storm, due to the fatigue and severe seasickness of the crew, Lennon was eventually forced to take the yacht's wheel alone for many hours. Lennon found this terrifying but invigorating, renewing his confidence and making him contemplate the fragility of life (Lennon claimed his recovery from heroin addiction some years earlier had rendered him immune to seasickness).[2] Once he arrived in Bermuda he heard the line 'living on borrowed time' from Bob Marley's "Hallelujah Time" and was inspired by his recent experience to write the lyrics around that theme, Marley was also the inspiration for the reggae feel of the music.[2] Lennon commented that living on borrowed time was exactly what he was doing but then said "come to think of it, what we all are doing, even though most of us don't like to face it" (Seaman, 1991[2], p159).

The B-side features Ono's song "Your Hands" from the same album.

The song was covered by O.A.R. for Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur, Amnesty International's campaign to alleviate the crisis in Darfur.


  1. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 317. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ a b c d Seaman, Frederic. (1991). The Last Days of John Lennon: A Personal Memoir. Carol Publishing Group
  3. ^


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