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The Beatles legend will be remembered today, the 40th anniversary of his death. John was assassinated by Mark Chapman, who fired four shots into his back as he approached his New York apartment. The singer-songwriter savoured his time in the US, as he felt he was afforded more privacy there than in the UK. This came under threat when he was put onto the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) watch list for his anti-war statements, in documents Express.co.uk can reveal.
John’s fears about being deported reemerged when a handwritten note came up for sale with Gotta Have Rock and Roll Auctions.
The to-do list, which sold for $4,393 (£3,297) on Saturday, featured a specific reference to his concerns about the FBI.
On the note addressed to John’s assistant Frederic Seaman, he asked a number of questions including if his son Julian’s had been sent away to be developed.
He requested a dozen white roses for Yoko Ono’s office “before noon”, for a Dolly Parton and Anne Peebles vinyl, and a note of more concern.
Beatles: John Lennon expressed his ‘huge concerns’ over the FBI in a handwritten note
Beatles: John Lennon was murdered by Mark Chapman (inset) 40 years ago today December 8, in New York
John instructed Mr Seaman to “Ask Y.O.”, an abbreviation for his second wife, “to ask me something RE: FBI” in the note, which was written in either 1979 or 1980.
To highlight the importance of the conversation, he added “don’t forget” in brackets, which Ed Kosinski from Gotta Have Rock and Roll Auctions felt was very significant.
He told Express.co.uk: “I think it was a huge concern for him because more than anything he wanted to stay in the United States and that was a huge concern.
“I’m sure that they were talking about that a lot, it was from that period and that must have been something that was really on John’s mind at time.”
John’s fear of deportation started in the Seventies, when he and Yoko voiced opposition to the Vietnam War.
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At anti-war rallies they sang Give Peace a Chance and voiced that the only way to achieve that goal was not to vote for President Richard Nixon.
In 2010, The Los Angeles Times reported that the Nixon White House ordered for John to be deported and was nearly able to do so due to immigration laws.
Prior to his move, the singer had pleaded guilty to one charge of cannabis possession in London and at the time, those with convictions for drug offences were not allowed into the nation.
A number of high profile celebrities, including Bob Dylan, campaigned for them to stay including musician Joseph Heller who branded him “among our valuable cultural assets”.
Legal proceedings against them continued through President Nixon’s reelection campaign and the Watergate Scandal, which led to his resignation in 1974.
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After he left the White House, three court judges ruled in John’s favour and stated that the drugs conviction in the UK didn’t meet US standards.
They added: “Lennon’s four-year battle to remain in our country is testimony to his faith in the American dream.”
John had also been put under FBI surveillance during President Nixon’s attempts to deport the singer because of his anti-war sentiments.
Mr Kosinski explained that the Beatles star’s fear about the FBI and being deported took over a large chunk of his life.
He felt that it made the auction house’s handwritten to-do list more important because it was evidence of his concerns.
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The note emerged after Mr Seaman gave it to his psychiatrist, in exchange to wipe the debts that he owed.
Mr Kosinski told Express.co.uk: “I’m sure he discussed the FBI many times but to actually have a reference that John had written about that was incredible.
“The fact that he talked about the FBI makes it very historically important because the FBI was such a relevant moment in John’s life and history.
“They made movies about him trying to become a US citizen and it’s just a very important moment.”
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