Paul McCartney once spent nine days locked up inside a Japanese jail
Given the current health crisis, as a pandemic forces music venues around the globe to close their doors amid strict social distancing guidelines, fans are looking back in time for a nostalgic piece of solstice, a period which has allowed a moment of rock and roll reflection.
With that in mind, we turn our attentions to Paul McCartney, the iconic found member of The Beatles who has enjoyed a career like no other and, barring a few negative headlines based around drug use within the swinging sixties, he has done so by maintaining a whiter than white reputation.
However, in a relatively recent revelation, Macca sat down with James Corden to detail the somewhat bizarre time he spent nine days locked in a Japanese prison. The discussion, which was taken from the famous one-hour long special of Corden’s series ‘Carpool Karaoke’, was built around McCartney’s big return to some his hometown Liverpool memories. The skit, which has become a leading feature of Corden’s Late Late Show, was brought back to Merseyside for a very special feature with the Beatles bass player.
While the feature was predominantly built around a wholesome homecoming, it did allow the Beatles founder the speak more candidly about major incidents in his long time in the spotlight. Discussing the moment he was found in possession of marijuana while travelling in 1980, he was apprehended at Tokyo airport. “I still am hazy as to how that happened but it did,” he told James Corden. “I had some marijuana in my suitcase and I ended up in jail [for] nine days. Scary.”
The incident occurred after McCartney arrived at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport on January 16, 1980, for what was his first visit to the city since the Beatles embarked on their immensely popular tour of 1966. While the plans had been set for a long 11-city tour with his band Wings, what actually ensued was nine days in Jail as a reported half a pound of marijuana was found in his baggage.
Detailing the situation further, McCartney explained how it was suggested that his ‘celebrity’ status was the reason he escaped so lightly: “The guy goes, ‘Oh! [makes an incoherent sound],’” McCartney said. “I said, ‘Well, what did he say?’ He says, ‘Seven years hard labour.’ And actually, that was the sentence for what I’d done.”
While the situation was undoubtedly terrifying, Macca began to lighten up to the idea somewhat. By the end of his time inside, the Beatle was sharing a communal bath with other inmates: “By the end, I was like, ‘Come on! In for a penny. I’m going in with the boys,’” he said.
Adding: “So we all went in there and it was fun, y’know, being in the tub with all these Japanese guys.”