Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Son Of Tricky Dicky

Since their arrival the previous summer, John and Yoko had been living in New York from visa to visa, always receiving the extensions they applied for allowing them to remain in the US. That all changed on the final day of February 1972, when their latest visa expired.

Beginning with Senator Strom Thurmond, several elected officials had been exchanging private correspondence looking for a way to keep the publicly radical ex-Beatle out of the country in this election year. The Immigration and Naturalization Service proved to be the perfect weapon, thanks to John's 1968 guilty plea for cannabis possession in a London court.

It was that same conviction that had kept John from entering the US during his 1969 Bed-In period, so he probably wasn't too worried when on March 1st he was given 15 days to leave the country. The immediate problems were twofold: firstly, John and Yoko were currently busy recording a new LP, Some Time In New York City, with Phil Spector at the Record Plant.

More crucially, they were still trying to track down Tony Cox and Yoko's daughter Kyoko, attending a court hearing in Houston on March 3rd which granted Yoko temporary custody. During their initial appearance before New York's INS on March 16th, the couple pointed out to the assembled press how difficult it would be to find the girl if John was forcibly deported.

A return court date was set for April 18th, and the Lennons kept busy in the interim, finishing off their album, and attending (along with George and Pattie) the world premiere of Apple's Concert For Bangla Desh film on March 23rd:

Apple and 20th Century Fox also issued a radio promo disc containing two 60-second and two 30-second commercials plugging the film. The "soundtrack" LP had already been issued at the end of 1971 and spent six weeks at #2 on Billboard's chart (stuck behind Don McLean's American Pie).

Sometime around April 17th, John and Yoko were filmed in conversation with composer John Cage, a long-time acquaintance of Yoko's and their current Bank Street neighbor. The chat was part of a documentary, Birdcage - 73'20.958" For A Composer, being produced for German television's WDR. It can be seen here in full.

John and Yoko's follow-up hearing at the INS offices arrived as scheduled on April 18th, and in what would become a familiar pattern, their attorney Leon Wildes argued for an delay, and proceedings were postponed until May. By now, press interest was starting to build in the case, and both CBS and ABC sent news crews to interview the couple and their attorney outside the INS building.

WABC's Geraldo Rivera also got an exclusive interview with John and Yoko, filmed inside ABKCO's offices on Broadway. John took the opportunity to plug their new single, "Woman Is The Nigger Of The World", officially released April 24th but already banned from airplay on dozens of radio stations thanks to early promo copies. As such, the song would only reach #57 in the US chart (Apple didn't bother to release it in the UK).

1 comment:

  1. Thank you as always for these interview recordings. They are fabulous to hear. It beggars belief that the same authorities who wanted to deport John and Yoko also wanted him to become a member of various official panels warning against the pitfalls of drugs.

    The Lennons had their hands full too, with trying to find Kyoko, and yet, despite this, they were models of decorum.

    God bless them both and God bless you too JCW.

    Michael ( Northern Ireland )