Category Archives: John Lennon

John Lennon Can Stay

John Lennon Can Stay

October 7,  1975

Ballad of John and Yoko

John Lennon Can Stay

     John Lennon summed up Yoko and his life when he sang “Christ you know it ain’t easy…” in “Ballad of John and Yoko.

Their May/June 1969 bed-in which included recording “Give Peace A Chance” again put them on the front pages and in a light that the US government, particularly President Richard Nixon hated.

The oft-asked question as to why the Beatles were not at Woodstock may even have an answer related to Nixon as Lennon and Ono might well have had a difficult time getting a visa to perform had Woodstock Ventures actually invited them–which is uncertain. [Plus the fact that the Beatles were still not performing live, hadn’t been, and weren’t looking to.]

John Lennon Can Stay

War Is Over!

     At the end of 1969 John and Yoko continued to demand peace by placing “The War is Over” posters in major cities.

John Yoko Can Stay

John Lennon Can Stay

FBI Takes Notes

     On June 6, 1971  John Lennon and Yoko Ono appeared on stage for the first time since 1969 [Toronto Rock and Roll Revival] when they joined Frank Zappa for a show at the Fillmore East.

By August Lennon and Ono moved into a Greenwich Village apartment.

On December 11, Lennon headlined The John Sinclair Freedom Rally, a protest and concert in response the imprisonment of John Sinclair who was given ten years in prison for the possession of two marijuana cigarettes. The concert was held in Crisler Arena at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. [It was Sinclair whom Abbie Hoffman wanted to talk about when Hoffman charged the stage at Woodstock during the Who’s performance.]

The FBI was taking notes at the rally when Lennon sang and in January 1972 opened a file on him. Why?

The 1972 presidential election was going to be the first time that 18-year-olds could vote in such an election and Nixon was worried that Lennon could influence that youth vote against him. [Nixon’s worries, of course, extended to his authorizing the break-in at the Democratic Headquarters in Washington, DC’s Watergate Hotel, but that’s another story!]

John Lennon Can Stay

Nixon: “You’re out!”

On February 4, 1972, after reading FBI surveillance reports, US Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC) told Attorney General John Mitchell that Lennon should be deported because he consorted with known radicals such as Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman.

On March 1, the Immigration and Naturalization Service [INS] delivered a letter to the Lennon requesting that he leave the country within two weeks or face deportation hearings. They used Lennon’s 1968 conviction for marijuana possession – a misdemeanor – as the reason for the deportation.

Thus began John’s four year struggle to stay in the US. They hired Leon Wildes, a Yeshiva University law professor, to appeal the order.

On May 1, 1972, Judge Bernard J. Lasker signed a temporary order in Federal Court restraining the Immigration and Naturalization Service from holding a deportation hearing. Judge Lasker ruled that the Government must first hold a hearing on a motion made by Lennon before it takes up the matter of deportation. Lennon’s motion asked that he be classified as “aliens of distinguished merit and ability.”

John Lennon Can Stay

Long and windy road

John had planned on participating in demonstrations outside the Republican convention August 21  – 23 in Miami, but realized such an activity would hurt his chances of winning the deportation appeal.

On August 30, 1972, a memo was sent to FBI director L. Patrick Gray that the FBI was ending its surveillance of Lennon. “All advised that during the month of July 1972, that the subject has fallen out of favor of activists Jerry Rubin, Stewart Albert and Rennie Davis, due to subject’s lack of interest in committing himself to involvement in anti-war and new left activities. In view of this information, the New York division is placing this case in a pending inactive status.”

Despite Nixon’s landslide victory, the INS continued to send letters to Lennon that he must leave the country.

Many artists wrote letters of support for Lennon and Ono. Bob Dylan (“John and Yoko inspire and transcend and stimulate and help put an end to this mild dull taste of petty commercialism which is being passed off as artist art by the overpowering mass media. Let John and Yoko stay!”), Joan Baez, beat poet Gregory Corso, John Updike, Leonard Bernstein, and Joseph Heller. NYC Mayor John Lindsey wrote a letter of support.

In 1973 Yoko Ono, a Japanese citizen, was granted permanent‐resident status.

Despite the situation, Lennon remained Lennon. On April Fools Day 1973 he and Yoko held a press conference to announce that they had formed Nutopia, a “conceptual country” with “no land, no boundaries, no passports, only people.” Citizenship was granted by “declaration of your awareness to Nutopia,” and all citizens were granted ambassadorship. Therefore, they were entitled to diplomatic immunity.

John Lennon Can Stay

Leon Wildes

Leon Wildes was more pragmatic. He counter-sued and his investigation revealed Nixon’s political motives were the actual motives behind the deportation.

By 1974, Nixon was in the middle of his own possible impeachment and his administration’s energies lay there.

On October 7, 1975, in a 2 – 1 decision, a three-judge federal panel ruled in Lennon’s favor. Judge Irving R Kaufman wrote in part, “The courts will not condone selective deportation based upon secret political grounds. We have always found a place for those committed to the spirit of liberty and willing to help implement it. He added “Lennon’s four-year battle to remain in our country is testimony to his faith in the American dream.”

John Lennon Can Stay


Although the Appeals court had ruled in his favor, it was not until July 27, 1976 that immigration judge Ira Fieldsteel formally approved John Lennon’s application.

The Immigration Service lawyer said the Government no longer objected to Lennon’s presence. Judge Fieldsteel approved application for permanent residency number A17‐597‐321.

John Lennon Can Stay

John Lennon Can Stay

Plastic Ono Some Time NYC

Plastic Ono Some Time NYC

John Lennon
Released June 12, 1972
“New York City” live @ Madison Square Garden Que pasa, New York?
Plastic Ono Some Time NYC

Life after the Beatles

The last Beatle album, Let It Be, was  already more than two years old. Each of the individual Beatles had been active since the breakup. Elvis met President Nixon and asked for a badge to be a drug czar. The FBI was investigating Lennon to back up a plan to deport him.

Life for John Lennon and Yoko Ono had become political. It is no surprise that Some Time in New York City happened.

Ironically, Lennon pursued this political avenue at the same time that traditional political singers such as Joan Baez and Judy Collins had moved away. No matter.

Plastic Ono Some Time NYC

In Your Face

The album was not a subtle one and smacked us right in the face with its first track: “Woman Is Nigger of the World.” To say some stations wouldn’t play it is an understatement.  The National Organization for Women awarded Lennon and Ono a “Positive Image of Women” citation for the song’s “strong pro-feminist statement” in August 1972.

The album cover resembled a newspaper with articles reflecting the songs. I’m sure the picture of President Nixon and Chairman Mao dancing nude didn’t help get Lennon off of Nixon’s Enemies List.

Plastic Ono Some Time New York City

Plastic Ono Some Time NYC

Some Time in New York City

It was a double-album with the second disc live material. The studio tracks were the main statements. All were co-written by Lennon & Ono except where noted:

Side one
  1. “Woman Is the Nigger of the World”
  2. “Sisters, O Sisters” (Ono)
  3. “Attica State”
  4. “Born in a Prison” (Ono)
  5. “New York City” (Lennon)
Side two
  1. “Sunday Bloody Sunday”
  2. “The Luck of the Irish”
  3. “John Sinclair” (Lennon)
  4. “Angela”
  5. “We’re All Water” (Ono)

Yoko Ono’s influence, presence, and art continued to rankle some fans and critics. Even today it seems de rigueur and reflexive for many to mock and demean her at the mention of her name .

Rolling Stone magazine still held powerful sway over what fans felt. Stephen Holden’s July 20, 1972 review read in part, ““except for ‘John Sinclair’ the songs are awful. The tunes are shallow and derivative and the words little more than sloppy nursery-rhymes that patronise the issues and individuals they seek to exalt. Only a monomaniacal smugness could allow the Lennons to think that this witless doggerel wouldn’t insult the intelligence and feelings of any audience.”

Time has been kinder than Holden, but still few today think of this work as Lennon’s best. [All Music review] [Ultimate Classic Rock review]

Having said that, Lennon on a bad day is far better than nearly all of us on any day.

Plastic Ono Some Time NYC

John Yoko Tittenhurst Park

John Yoko Tittenhurst ParkJohn Yoko Tittenhurst ParkPeter Cadbury

On May 4, 1969 John and Yoko closed on the purchase of Tittenhurst Park. The cost was £145,000 ($2,543,039 in 2022 dollars).

They did not move in until August because of renovations that included a lake. The renovations reportedly cost twice the price paid for the 72-acre estate.

John and Yoko bought it from Peter Cadbury, the same Cadbury family famous for Cadbury chocolates, though Peter was not involved in the business.

By late 1969, the Beatles were a band nearly in name only. On the cusp of a final break-up, what turned out to be the last pictures taken of the four together were taken at Tittenhurst Park on on 22 August 1969. The photos, by Ethan Russell and Monte Fresco, were used for the front and back covers of their Hey Jude album.

John Yoko Tittenhurst Park

Ascot Sound Studios

John and Yoko built a recording studio in Tittenhurst called Ascot Sound Studios. Lennon and Ono recorded their next several albums in it. The cover of Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band album was taken at Tittenhurst Park.

John Yoko Tittenhurst Park
photo by John Lennon and Yoko Ono

And the famous video recording of Lennon’s Imagine was done at Tittenhurst Park.

Homeless intrusion

And it was on the 22 May 1971 that John and Yoko spoke to a homeless man who had been hiding on the estate. After speaking with him, they invited him in for something to eat.

John Yoko Tittenhurst Park

Left never to return

John and Yoko moved to New York City in  August 1971. Lennon never returned to England.

On 18 September 1973 John and Yoko sold Tittenhurst Park to Ringo , who renamed the recording facilities Startling Studios.

According to the  Beatles Bible site, “He [Ringo] made it [Startling Studios] available to other musicians, including T.Rex who filmed Born To Boogie there. Starr sold Tittenhurst in 1988…to Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the president of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Abu Dhabi.

Tittenhurst Park may not be the best known words, even among Beatles fans, but one can see from the above that it played an important part in the Beatles’ final days as a group John Lennon’s final days in his native land, and Ringo recording life.

John Yoko Tittenhurst Park