Tuesday, 20 July 2021

JOHN LENNON : "I JAMMED WITH PAUL"

John Lennon and Paul McCartney's secret ' final recording
 
In an interview in 1975, John Lennon admitted that he and Paul actually did record after the Beatles split up in 1970. “I jammed with Paul,” Lennon confirmed, “I did actually play with Paul. We did a lot of stuff in L.A., but there were 50 other people playing—all just watching me and Paul.”

Although every member of The Beatles collaborated with one another after the split, Paul and John never appeared on an album together in earnest and frequently trashed each other in the press. The brief admission of a secret recording led many to believe that The Beatles may actually get back together someday, but what recording was he referring to?

It remained a mystery until May Pang, released her first book ‘Loving John’ in 1983 which confirmed that John and Paul actually did record together March 28, 1974, in Burbank, California. Pang remembers, “They made joyous music together that night.” So what happened to this historic recording, who are the “50 other people” and what was recorded?

In 1973, John was in the middle of his “lost weekend” in which he and Yoko split up for 18 months. John was attempting to make his album Rock ʼNʼ Roll with Phil Spector. Spector was also taking the master recordings home every night without Lennon knowing. This became problematic when Spector was in a car crash that left him in a coma, thereby halting the project altogether. 
 
John decided to produce his friend Harry Nilssonʼs album Pussy Cats while Rock ʼNʼ Roll sat in limbo. Lennon and Nilsson were partners, who were a part of the legendary ‘Hollywood Vampires’ drinking club, and at one point were allegedly tossed out of the Troubadour for heckling the Smotherʼs Brothers. Two weeks after the event, Nilsson and Lennon found themselves in Burbank studios with none other than Paul McCartney.

There were seven people in the studio that night in addition to Paul and John: Linda McCartney, May Pang, Harry Nilsson, Stevie Wonder, Jesse Ed Davis (guitar), Ed Freeman (bass), and Bobby Keys (sax). The result of the chance encounter is The bootlegged tape, A Toot and a Snore in ’74.
 
When John and Paul met up that night it was the first time they had seen each other in three years. 
Since that time, each had fired off diss tracks at the others expense. On McCartneyʼs ‘Ram,’ Paul fired the first shot with ‘Too Many People’ which attacked Johnʼs relationship with Yoko Ono, the scapegoat of Beatles fans for decades to come. John responded with ‘How do You Sleep?’ which contains the brutal dig, “The only thing you done was ‘Yesterday’ / And since you’ve gone, you’re just ‘Another Day.ʼ” 
 
But time had passed and May Pang was encouraging John to mend his relationship with Paul, and also with his estranged son Julian, which John did. Upon meeting Paul in the studio that night, it is reported that John said: “Valiant Paul McCartney, I presume?” which was a reference to a Christmas special the Beatles did in the early days. Paul responded with, “Sir Jasper Lennon, I presume?”.
 
Stevie Wonder was there to jam just seven months after releasing Innervisions.
As May Pang said in her second book ‘Instamatic Karma’: “There mustʼve been something in the California air—between the ‘Pussy Cats’ sessions and Johnʼs initial ‘Rock ʼNʼ Roll’ sessions, the studio mood was a bit more ‘Partyʼ than John was accustomed to. Things were not going as John had planned.”

This idea is evidenced by the first 20 seconds of ‘Toot’ in which Lennon says to Stevie Wonder, “You want a snort Steve? A toot? Itʼs going around.” When asked about the night Paul said the “session was hazy… for a number of reasons”.

It is difficult to know exactly how long the group was in the studio recording. Several times throughout the recording John complains about the sound in his headphones, other times he is asking for a drink. The only songs that really comes to fruition is the Little Richard classic ‘Lucille’ and the Santo & Johnny track ‘Sleepwalk’. From there it is fragments of songs and a massive struggle to get through ‘Stand By Me’.  

Now, nearly fifty years later, there is plenty of evidence of a major moment in rock history, it also provides a delicious taste of the Lennon/McCartney relationship in a post-Beatles world.  
 
 
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