Not one of Paul McCartney‘s finer hours 40 years ago.
Arriving with his band Wings in Tokyo this day in 1980 to kick off what would have been an 11-show tour of Japan culminating with 4 concerts at the famous Budokan Hall, he was arrested at the airport with almost half a pound of marijuana. He recalls that the security officer “looked more embarrassed than me” and says in retrospect he had no idea how stern Japanese laws regarding drugs were. He was whisked away to jail and spent over nine days in a small cell before being released and deported.
It wasn’t the first time “Mac” had troubles from his love of pot; he’d been fined in Sweden in 1972 for it and in Scotland in 1973 for growing it and his wife Linda was charged at L.A. airport in 1975 for trying to bring some into the country.
Although the Japanese didn’t press charges in the long run, they did briefly ban all of his music from their radio and TV and the Wings tour was canceled, resulting in a costly refund for over 100 000 tickets. Coupled with bad reviews for the 1979 Back to the Egg album (Rolling Stone called it “the sorriest grab bag of dreck in recent memory”) it was supposed to promote, the band got their noses out of “joint” and soon after broke up. Denny Laine, ex of the Moody Blues and Wings’ guitarist (and sometimes additional bassist to Paul as well) had put out a solo record by year’s end and soon McCartney would be doing the same.