Paul McCartney is one of the most recognizable faces in the world. He created music that defined a generation as a member of two prolific bands, The Beatles and Wings. However, his fame did not prevent him from being arrested in Japan in January 1980 for possession of marijuana and sent to prison.
The story of Paul McCartney’s arrest
Paul McCartney arrived at Tokyo Narita International Airport on January 16, 1980, with his wife Linda to begin an 11-city concert tour with his band Wings. It was his first visit to the country since 1966, when he was on tour with The Beatles.
According to History, McCartney had half a pound of marijuana in his bag when he arrived at the airport. Customs officers found the drugs during a search of his belongings.
The amount of marijuana was large enough to warrant a charge of smuggling into the country and risked a seven-year prison sentence. McCartney was held at the Tokyo Narcotics Detention Center for nine days, and Wings’ tour was subsequently canceled.
McCartney claimed the drug was intended for his personal use only.
“We were about to fly to Japan, and I knew I couldn’t smoke anything there,” McCartney said in 2004, History reported.
“It was too good to be flushed down the toilet, so I thought I would take it with me,” he said.
Paul McCartney’s fame helped him avoid jail
In an interview with James Corden, McCartney opened up about his infamous arrest and time in prison during a memorable 2018 segment of Carpool Karaoke title When Corden met McCartney live from Liverpool.
“I still don’t know how it happened, but it happened,” said McCartney. “There was marijuana in the suitcase, and I ended up in jail [for] nine days. Anguishing! “
“Seven years of forced labor was worth it for what I had done,” he recalls, saying he waited to learn of his fate in a four-by-eight-foot cell.
McCartney had to do one thing before he left the Japanese detention center
McCartney reminded Corden that the guards told him to share a common bath with his fellow inmates before he could leave the detention center.
“At the end, I said to myself: ‘Come on! For a penny. I go with the boys, ”he explained.
“So we all went, and it was fun, you know, being in the tub with all these Japanese people,” McCartney concluded.
McCartney admitted to Corden that he was released because of his “fame”. He returned to England and dissolved Wings.
In the book Paul McCartney: Life by Philip Norman, the author wrote that on his return home, the former Beatles bassist reportedly wrote a 20,000-word account of his ordeal titled “Japanese Jailbird”.
McCartney reportedly had a copy printed privately for himself and locked up the manuscript to give to his four children when they were older.
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