John and Yoko were living in New York’s Greenwich Village for nearly a year, surrounded by the politics, protests and art coming out of the Vietnam War. The FBI was investigating Lennon, trying to figure out ways to deport him before he humiliated Nixon’s presidency any further. Mark David Chapman, who assassinated Lennon in NYC in 1980, was denied parole for the ninth time yesterday.
But before all of this, they recorded the protest album Sometime In New York City and performed a raw, underrehearsed, emotional set from this album for the “One to One” concert at Madison Square Garden. It was so rough that Lennon joked onstage, “Welcome to the rehearsal.” The concert benefitted the Willowbrook Home, a facility for learning disabled children, and also featured Stevie Wonder, Sha Na Na, and Roberta Flack, according to Concert Vault.
Lennon bought $59,000 of tickets to this festival and gave them away to fundraising volunteers. ABC bought the broadcast rights for $350,000, and the festival sold out, generating more than $1.5 million for Willowbrook. Tickets cost $5, $7.50 and $10. If One to One happened today, not even the ticketing service fees would be that cheap.