Neil Young wrote "War Song," a jagged rocker with a hopeful chorus, "There's a man says/he can put an end to war." Ushers at a Madison Square Garden show, which starred Simon & Garfunkel and Dionne Warwick, included Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Paul Newman and Gene Hackman. Tina Turner, "Mama" Cass Elliot and Judy Collins were among the singers at another Garden concert, "Star Spangled Women."
Lennon, who had emigrated to New York from England the year before, had been radicalized through his marriage to the artist Yoko Ono and through his friendships with Abbie Hoffman and Rubin. He was writing militant chants such as "Power to the People" and was anxious to help bring down the hated Nixon. By late 1971, he and Rubin were planning an all-star tour and voter registration drive. The idolized ex-Beatle probably could have had his pick of fellow rockers to join him.
Republican officials were worried. "If Lennon's visa were terminated, it would be a strategic counter-measure," read a memo prepared for Nixon's attorney general, John Mitchell. The administration began a long effort to deport the British native, based on a 1968 drug bust in London. Tied up in immigration proceedings, afraid that he was being followed and possibly in physical danger, Lennon called off the tour. But he remained a McGovern believer, and, Rubin would later explain, was sure that the Democrat would win as the singer and others gathered on election night.
"This is it?!" Lennon shouted as the results came in. "This is IT?!"
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