17 November 1974, I met John
It remains one of the greatest thrills of my life.
I was 16.
The Beatles were my first musical love and Lennon was my
favorite Beatle. Loved his solo work as well -- John
Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (aka the Mother album) as much as I enjoyed the
I loved the music of Lennon as well as his
My dad used to bring home the late edition of
the NY Post. Before turning to Sports, I used to look at Earl Wilson's
column as he would sometimes have photos of hot looking women. One night, he
wrote that John Lennon would be appearing at the opening of the play Sgt
Pepper at the Beacon theatre on Nov 17, 1974 (not to be confused with the
film of the same name).
My mother was kind enough to take the train
from Long Island to the Beacon in NYC to secure me two tix for opening
night. Once I had tix in hand, I put together a petition for Lennon. This was when the US was trying to deport him.
I spent two weekends at a mall and an additional weekend at a shopping
center and secured in excess of 2000 signatures.
John Lennon and May Pang at the Beacon
Theatre [click to enlarge].
My friend Howie and I arrived at the Beacon on
opening night. I introduced myself to a young Ron Delsner (the promoter) and
he told me I could wait in front of the rope for Lennon to arrive so I could
present the petition. As celebs arrived, I asked them to sign it as well:
David Johanssen, Johnny
Edgar Winter and even Yoko Ono.
Yoko was separated from John - at the time, I was surprised to see her. She
thanked me for my efforts.
arrived, the fans mobbed him. It was insane and I didn't get anywhere near
him. After 20 minutes, Delsner took me to Lennon's seat (about 10th row
aisle in orchestra). My friend Howie took two quick pics of John and was
told to stop -- there were to be no photographs.
I had it
in my mind not to mention the "B" word. This was four years after the
Beatles broke up and there was still quite a bit of tension. I presented
the petition to John - it was titled "help Keep John
Lennon in America".
He thanked me - seemed very genuine. I wished him good luck with his
efforts to getting a green card. I congratulated him on the success of
his then new "Walls
from his company gave me a "Listen to the Badge" promo button. He was
Pang. Finally I asked "when is Look Back
coming out" - He said "What's Look Back" - I said "your oldies album" to
which he responded "oh, it will be out in January. It's called Rock
Then he leaned over closer and thanked me again for the petition - how
much it meant to him and how badly he wished to stay in the US.
awkward moment came when my friend Howie had the following exchange with
Beatle John, Beatle John
(i was cringing) Lennon: yeah? Howie: where's Pete Best? (Best was original drummer tossed out in
favor of Ringo) Lennon: (peering at Howie above his eyeglasses) eh, he's backstage --
why don't you go look for him!
I loved his
response. It was as if he said "hey kid, go play in traffic."
walked up to Bianca Jagger and said "your husband's gay". This was 1974 and
Mick had just started wearing eye make-up..
The play was
not memorable. Took the LIRR home and couldn't sleep at all that night.
I met Paul, George twice and Ringo three times. But nothing was like meeting
John Lennon at the Beacon Theatre, 1974
[click to enlarge].
year, the documentary The United States of America vs. John Lennon came out.
Near the end, upon receiving is green card - he looks at the camera and says
"I'd like to thank everyone who supported me - and all the kids that went
around with petitions and speaking up on my behalf" I know he was talking
about thousands of us, but I also felt he was talking directly to me.......
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