Friday, August 10, 2012

40 Year Itch: McCartneys Busted!


    The Wings Over Europe tour nearly got grounded in Gothenberg.

    When Wings finished their concert at Gothenburg's Scandanavian Hall on August 10, 1972, there were more than autograph hounds waiting to see them. Earlier that day customs officials intercepted a package from London containing 5 to 7 ounces of marijuana allegedlly addressed to Paul. Now Swedish police were waiting in the dressing room. As tour photographer Joe Stevens shot photographs, the police tool Paul, Linda, drummer Danny Seiwell and Paul's secretary Rebecca Hinds to police headquarters for questioning.

   In a press conference that followed a police spokesman said at first the McCartneys lied about the drugs:

 "We told them we had found the cannabis in a letter and at first they said they knew nothing about it. But after we had questioned them for about three hours they confessed and told the truth. McCartney, his wife and Seiwell told us they smoked hash every day. They said they were almost addicted to it. They said they had made arrangements to have drugs posted to them each day they played in different countries so they wouldn't have to take any drugs through the customs themselves."

 Tour organizer John Morris disputed the "official" account of how the McCartneys got the pot, telling reporters:

"Paul, Linda and Dennis did admit to the Swedish police that they used hash. At first they denied it but the police gave them a rough time and started threatening all sorts of things. The police said they would bar the group from leaving the country unless they confessed. The drugs were found in a parcel addressed to Paul by customs men. Lots of people send drugs to the band. They think they are doing them some kind of favor. Instead it causes all this sort of trouble. I'm not prepared to say whether Paul has been posted hash before during this tour or whether he smokes the stuff. It was simply a case of pleading guilty, paying the fine and getting out of the city. As far as we are concerned the whole business is finished."

After paying a fine of about  ₤1000 ($1530) the band were free to leave the country. But the sensational bust , which made news around the world, would cost Paul McCartney more than he thought. Back home in Scotland, police searched the McCartney farm and ordered Paul to appear before court to face charges of "cultivating" cannabis plants. The video below is actually from March of 1973.

There was another cost. The bust meant that Wings would not be allowed in either Japan or the United States where they had originally planned to tour next.

Wings released "Hi Hi Hi" December 1, 1972. Their third single of the year ( after "Give Ireland Back to the  Irish" and "Mary Had A Little Lamb") was the second to be banned by the BBC. Not because of the drug references apparently. The BBC didn't like sexual imagery of the line 'I want you to lie on the bed and get you ready for my body gun and do it, do it, do it to you."

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