Tag 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

Official

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
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John Lennon George Harrison David Frost

John Lennon George Harrison David Frost

September 29, 1967

John Lennon George Harrison David Frost

George Harrison Sitar

The path that led the Beatles to transcendental meditation was mainly through George Harrison’s use of the sitar, the Indian instrument he used on Rubber Soul’s “Norwegian Wood.” Harrison used the sitar simply because he liked its sound, but he wanted to learn more.

Harrison first met master sitarist Ravi Shankar in June 1966 in the UK and Shankar gave a couple of lessons to Harrison.

On September 14, 1966, a Mr and Mrs Sam Wells, aka George and Pattie Harrison, flew to Mumbai.  The main reason was to take sitar lessons from Shankar. Because the sitting position was so difficult for Harrison, Shankar had a yoga instructor help him.

The following year Pattie attended a lecture on Transcendental Meditation at Caxton Hall, London, where she received her mantra.

John Lennon George Harrison David Frost

see Beatles meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for more

Encouraged by Pattie Harrison’s interest and enthusiasm, on August 24, 1967  the Beatles met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at a lecture in London. All except Ringo and his wife Maureen (she had just given birth to to their son) attended. While there, they found out that he was giving a series of classes. They all decided to attend.

Of course if the Beatles found something interesting, fans followed suit. Ravi Shankar became part of the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and famously played in the rain at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

John Lennon George Harrison David Frost

The Frost Programme

On September 29, 1967 John Lennon and George Harrison were guests on David Frost’s The Frost Programme.

Among the comments were:

Lennon: “Buddha was a groove, Jesus was all right.”

Harrison: “I believe in reincarnation. Life and death are still only relative to thought. I believe in rebirth. You keep coming back until you have got it straight. The ultimate thing is to manifest divinity, and become one with The Creator.”

Because viewers found that  program so interesting, John and George returned for another interview a week later.

Again, the subject of the 45-minute show was Transcendental Meditation. Lennon and Harrison answered questions that Frost and studio guests asked as well as from letters sent in. There was also a pro- and con- discussion about meditation.

John Lennon George Harrison David Frost

No Mas Maharishi

The interest continued and on February 16, 1968 John and Cynthia Lennon, and George and Pattie Harrison flew to India for further study with the Maharishi. Paul McCartney, Jane Asher, Ringo and Maureen Starr followed on the 20th. The plan was to stay at least six weeks.

Ringo found the food there too difficult and he and Maureen returned to England less than two weeks after their arrival. Paul and Jane returned on March 20.

The stay for the others came to an abrupt end when one of the members of the Beatle party told John and George that the Maharishi was sexually inappropriate with one of the female guests.

John and George confronted the Yogi, but he didn’t take the accusation seriously which convinced John, George, and the others that he was guilty.

John left, but George, rather than return straightaway to England, went to visit Ravi Shankar and didn’t return until April 28.

The accusations were likely untrue.

John Lennon George Harrison David Frost
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1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

The narrator above refers to August 30, but it was…

August 28, 1964

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

She Loves You

The Beatles initial successes were great pop songs that many youth fell in love with at the same time they themselves were looking to fall in love. She Loves You, I Want to Hold Your Hand, Please Please Me, I Feel Fine, She’s a Woman, and We Can Work It Out are all loves songs. Some happier than others.

Someone once told me, if it’s a happy Beatle song, Paul wrote it; a sad one, John. While a generalization, it’s more often true than not.

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

Maggie’s Farm

When I first heard Bob Dylan’s “I Ain’t Gonna’ Work on Maggie’s Farm No More” I was only a touch less confused about its lyrics than “Gates of Eden,” a song I had no idea what was happening other than Dylan was trying to harmonize with songs the lonesome sparrow sang.

Maggie’s Farm? Well there’s a guy obviously praying for rain, getting terribly underpaid, and whose boss is putting out his cigar on the guy’s face. I’d quit too.

Of course, that’s not what Dylan was saying. He was saying he wasn’t going to be the acoustic-folk-protest song-singer too many expected him to permanently be. Quitting. He was going  electric. And on July 25, 1965 he did just that at the Newport Folk Festival.

Many were displeased.

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

August 28, 1964

The Beatles had begun their first full American tour on August 18 at the San Francisco Cow Palace. Ten days later they played for 16,000 fans at the Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, New York City. They would do the same the next night.

It was what happened in between that changed history.

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

Al Aronowitz

Al Aronowitz was a writer who knew Bob Dylan and arranged for him to meet the Beatles at their hotel the night after that first concert.

Aronowitz later wrote: “The Beatles’ magic was in their sound,…Bob’s magic was in his words. After they met, the Beatles’ words got grittier, and Bob invented folk-rock.”

Cannabis may have been the source of all that musical cross pollination at that meeting. Beatles supposed unfamiliarity with the herb apparently surprised the already familiar Mr Dylan. [The four had tried it in Germany, but it did not impress them.]

Evidently, Ringo was unfamiliar with the not-Bogarting-that-joint protocol and kept things to himself. John, Paul, and George soon learned the etiquette.

1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles

1965

  • March 27,  Dylan released Bringing It All Back Home on which “Maggie’s Farm” appears.
  • The Byrds’ covering of Dylan, particularly “Mr Tambourine Man” opened the door for folk-rock.
  • July 25, 1965 Dylan played Newport Folk Festival. Many in audience booed his performance for playing electric set with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band.
  • August 30, 1965,  Dylan released Highway 61 Revisited. More electric.
  • August 28, 1965 Dylan played at NYC’s Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. More boos during his electric set.
  • December 3, 1965 the Beatles released Rubber Soul. The course of pop music changed.
1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles
1964 Bob Dylan Introduced Beatles
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