Musician investigated over 'Communist sympathies'

LARRY Adler, the harmonica virtuoso who played with Elton John and Sting, was investigated by MI5 for his alleged Communist sympathies.

Intelligence officials were asked to investigate his background because of government fears the British Communist Party would exploit his popularity if he was allowed to settle in the UK.

But a senior MI5 officer rejected calls for the Home Office to take a tough line on Adler's immigration status, noting he had done nothing to arouse suspicion during 15 years of visits to Britain.

The American musician moved to the UK after he was branded a Communist and blacklisted in his native country.In 1950, he brought a $200,000 libel suit against a woman in Connecticut who accused him of Communist leanings, but the jury was hung and the case was dismissed.

In November the following year, the US embassy in London asked MI5 if Adler had come to "adverse notice" during his time in Britain. A British intelligence officer wrote back to say the harmonica player had not come to their attention, but he would keep the Americans informed if he did.

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