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  • John Lennon moved to New York City partly because of the way he was treated in the British press.
  • He ignored a friend’s advice not to move to the United States.
  • John revealed what he thought about the country.

John Lennon lived in New York City for years. Notably, a communist activist tried to prevent him from moving there. Subsequently, the activist imagined what would have happened if John had stayed in England.

John Lennon moved to New York City partially because Yoko Ono hated Britain

John became friends with Tariq Ali, a communist author and activist from England. During a 2020 interview with Jacobin, Ali discussed John’s move to the U.S. “I told him, ‘Don’t move to the States,'” Ali recalled. “He said, ‘Why? Yoko hates it here, the British press is racist, the attacks on her had been disgusting.’ I said, ‘We are used to them.’

“And he said, ‘Why shouldn’t I go to the States?'” Ali added. “I said, ‘There are too many kooky people there.’ He said, ‘Even in Manhattan?’ So I said, ‘No, probably in the rest of the country, but I don’t like it.’ I said, ‘My instinct is against it.'” Ali said John was “shaken” by his comments, but that didn’t stop the former Beatle from relocating.

Tariq Ali said the former Beatle’s death in New York City was ‘unnecessary’

Ali discussed the political impact John could have had if he had lived longer. “I’ve kept in touch with Yoko for all these years, and let’s say that it was an unnecessary death,” he said. “We needed him so much. During the Iraq War, Palestine. He was very good in Ireland.

Mick Jagger did some good songs on the Iraq War, too, after having gone through his Tory phase,” Ali said. “But John would never have gone in that direction.” For context, the Tories are members of the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party. In British terminology, “Toryism” is interchangeable with “conservatism.”


The Cover of John Lennon’s Album ‘Some Time in New York City’ Was Censored

John Lennon disliked some aspects of America but said ‘America’s where it’s at’

The book Lennon Remembers is a 1970 interview with John. In it, he was asked his thoughts on the United States. He said he had a love-hate relationship with the nation. On one level, he felt that New Yorkers could get overly aggressive. That aggressiveness frightened John. In addition, he missed English gardens and felt the air in the U.S. was dirty.

On the other hand, he wished he had been born in the U.S., specifically Greenwich Village. He compared Greenwich Village to 19th-century Paris, which allowed artists like Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw to flourish. “America is where it’s at,” John opined.

John paid tribute to the city with the title of the album Some Time in New York City. In addition, his track “I’m Stepping Out” is about New York City as well. The tune appeared on his posthumous album Milk and Honey.

John didn’t think America was perfect, but he liked it too much to leave.