The Reason John Lennon’s “Cold Turkey” Is Banned In The U.S.

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John Lennon’s “Cold Turkey,” banned from some American radio stations, was among the most divisive classic tunes of the 1970s. John continued by saying that the prohibition highlighted a bad aspect of society.

What some thought John Lennon was advocating in the verses of “Cold Turkey”

A conversation from 1980 is included in the book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. John was asked about “Cold Turkey” during the discussion. “‘Cold Turkey’ is self-explanatory,” he said. “It was banned again all over the American radio, so it never got off the ground. They were thinking I was promoting heroin, but instead … They’re so stupid about drugs!”

John spoke on the significance of narcotics in society. “They’re always arresting smugglers or kids with a few joints in their pocket,” he said. “They never face the reality.”


According to John Lennon, people aren’t raising the correct questions about drugs.

John thought the drug problem was complicated. “They’re not looking at the cause of the drug problem,” he opined. “Why is everybody taking drugs? To escape from what? Is life so terrible? Do we live in such a terrible situation that we can’t do anything about it without reinforcement from alcohol or tobacco or sleeping pills?”

John didn’t want to come across as preachy. “I’m not preaching about [drugs],” he said. “I’m just saying a drug is a drug, you know. Why we take them is important, not who’s selling it to whom on the corner.” Interestingly, when John performed the song at a London event, he stated that it was polarizing. “We did ‘Cold Turkey’ and ‘Don’t Worry, Kyoko,’ and half of the audience just walked out ’cause it got really far out,” he recalled.