May 13, 2013 14:46

John Lennon wanted to return to the UK before he was shot, says singer's friend

Joe Flannery claims The Beatles singer thought he was 'cursed' in new book

John Lennon wanted to return to the UK before he was shot, says singer's friend

Photo: PA

John Lennon wanted to return to the UK before he was shot and killed in New York, according to a new book.

Joe Flannery was a lifelong friend of The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein and also handled the band's bookings in addition to providing the Fab Four with a place to stay when they couldn't make it back to their own homes when they were starting out. According to the Daily Express, his new tome Standing In The Wings: The Beatles, Brian Epstein And Me recounts a conversation he had with Lennon shortly before he was assassinated by Mark Chapman outside his home in New York.

"We enjoyed a lengthy conversation," said Flannery. "We talked a lot of rubbish of course. He was very well and happy but he missed Liverpool, he missed the others and he missed London but he told me at one stage that he regretted getting 'too political'. He said that he had made a bit of a 'tit of himself'.

"We came to reminisce about our times eating crap pies and him wanting to go over there, meaning the United States. 'We should start talking about me coming home before that bastard Nixon gets me,' he said. I was rather taken aback and asked him to explain. John launched into a diatribe against the former president. He was convinced that evern out of office Nixon carried power and wanted him dead. He felt some kind of curse was hanging over him."

Flannery's comments relate to an attempt by then US President Richard Nixon's attempts to have Lennon deported following the anti-war sentiment expressed in his songs 'Give Peace A Chance' and 'Happy Xmas (War Is Over)'. In 1973 he was ordered to leave the US within 60 days, but the deportation order would eventually be overturned in 1975 following Nixon's resignation due to the Watergate scandal.

Flannery also claimed that Lennon had asked him to arrange a way in which he could return to the UK in a "blaze of glory", but concluded: "As one might imagine I was buzzing after this wonderful conversation with my old friend. Of course it was not to be and I was soon to lose another friend pointlessly."

Lennon, who was murdered in December 1980, was named as NME's Ultimate Musical Icon of the last 60 years in September last year. The Beatles' co-frontman topped the poll, which began with 60 nominees in March of this year, beating out the likes of David Bowie, Amy Winehouse, Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner, Morrissey, Liam Gallagher and Damon Albarn to take the crown.

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