Jam session with John Lennon & friends

Thursday, March 28, 1974
Studio:
The Record Plant West, Los Angeles, USA

Some songs from this session appear on:


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About

In March 1974, John Lennon began producing Harry Nilsson’s “Pussy Cats” album in Los Angeles. Considering the poor drinking habits of both Lennon and Nilsson, Lennon thought it would be a good idea for the musicians to live under one roof to ensure they would get to the studio on time, so May Pang (John’s girlfriend at the time) rented a beach house in Santa Monica for her, Lennon, Nilsson, Ringo Starr and Keith Moon to live. Mal Evans, the roadie of The Beatles in the 60s, was appointed assistant producer.

After the first night of recording, on March 28, special guests showed up at the Record Plant Studios: Paul and Linda McCartney and Stevie Wonder. Bootleg recordings from the session were later released as the album A Toot and a Snore in ’74. It is the only known instance of Lennon and McCartney recording together since the break-up of the Beatles.

The following day, Paul, Linda and their daughters Heather, Mary and Stella, showed up at the Santa Monica Beach house. Mal managed to take the last known picture of Paul and John together.

For Mal, the album achieved its zenith on March 28. In many ways, that evening alone should have given Strange Pussies the kick in the ass it sorely needed. But the players simply weren’t up to it. That night, none other than Paul and Linda had strolled into the Record Plant. Ever the sentimentalist, Mal was overcome by emotion at the sight of John and Paul together for the first time since [George Harrison’s wife] Pattie’s March 1970 birthday celebration at Friar Park. Unfortunately, the music they made that night was a different matter altogether. In truth, Mal couldn’t have asked for a more talented assemblage of musicians under a single roof. The great Lennon and McCartney were on hand, of course, along with Nilsson, Davis, and Keys. Better yet, they had been joined that evening by Stevie Wonder, who chipped in on keyboards. With nary a drummer in sight, Paul strode behind Ringo’s empty drum kit, joining John and a series of ragged lead vocals on such chestnuts as “Lucille” and “Stand by Me.” For their part, Mal and May made half-hearted efforts at percussion. After several sloppy attempts at finding a groove, the musicians mercifully called it quits. What might have been an unexpected Lennon-McCartney triumph had ended in an amateurish, desultory jam.

For Mal, the sunny afternoon of March 29 would bring pure magic in contrast with the previous evening’s lackluster proceedings. The McCartney clan showed up [at the Santa Monica beach house] out of the blue, this time with daughters Heather, Mary, and Stella in tow, and Mal was thrilled at the prospect of seeing John and Paul together again—twice in the span of two days, no less. And he was by no means disappointed, observing the two old friends reclining on the patio together and, later, walking along the beach, with May, Linda, and the McCartney brood trailing along behind them. “Nice to see him and John together,” Mal scribbled in his diary later that month.

At one point that afternoon, Evans reached for his camera and snapped a photo of the two old friends lounging at the beach house — flanked by their partners, Linda and May Pang, and Harry Nilsson. May would also take some Polaroids of the meeting at some point this day, but there’s a very real possibility that Evans’ picture is the last photo ever taken of the 20th Century’s greatest songwriting duo.

From Last Photo of Lennon and McCartney Uncovered for Beatles Roadie Bio (Exclusive) (people.com)

While in L.A., on April 9th they were guests of honour at a luncheon held at the Capitol Records Tower where they were presented with a platinum album representing the sale of one million copies of ‘Band on The Run’ …. They also went to the studios where Harry Nilsson was recording his next album, which features both John Lennon and Ringo. George Harrison was also in town ….. 

From Wings Fun Club newsletter N°1, 1974

From Rolling Stone:

We were stoned. I don’t think there was anyone in that room who wasn’t stoned. For some ungodly reason, I decided to get on drums. It was just a party, you know. To use the word ‘disorganized’ is completely understating it. I might have made a feeble attempt to restore order – “guys, you know, let’s think of a song, that would be a good idea’ – but I can’t remember if I did or not.

Paul McCartney

It’s very difficult to remember those days because it was all a bit crazy and every was getting out if it. But yes, John was doing some recordings in L.A. and I showed up. lt was a strange session. The thing that I recall, apart from the fact that Stevie Wonder was there, is that someone said, “what songs shall we do – I don’t know anything after ’63”, which I understood because the songs from your formative years are the ones that you tend to use to jam. I ended up on drums for some reason. And no, I don’t have a tape of it!

Paul McCartney, from The Beatles Monthly Book N°255, July 1997

Although this photograph has now been seen quite a bit, I can claim some part in the chain of events that established its historical significance. It was taken on or around April 1, 1974, at 625 Palisades Beach Road, Santa Monica, and it is important because, as far as I have been able to establish, it is the last ever photo of John Lennon and Paul McCartney in the same frame. True to his nature, and in one of the many bizarre happenstances that visited his short life, Keith Moon, also a house-guest at 625, happened to be in the middle while Linda, on the left, looks like she’s about to bash him over the head with a pool cue.  

The photographer, using his Polaroid camera, was my friend Peter ‘Dougal’ Butler, Moon’s long-suffering PA, and the original has long since been lost. It first appeared in his book Moon The Loon, published by Star books in March 1981, but the caption beneath it did not draw attention to its importance which suggests that neither the publishers nor Dougal had any idea of its significance at the time nor, indeed, for many years afterwards.

It wasn’t until Dougal asked me to help with his second book Keith Moon – A Personal Portrait in 2001 that it began to dawn on me what the picture represented. Before I went public with my discovery (by sending it to Mojo magazine with an accompanying story) I checked out the two photographers most likely to have taken pictures of John and Paul together in the seventies – Bob Gruen (John’s favourite New York photographer) and Linda McCartney. Bob told me he’d never photographed them together and Mary, Paul and Linda’s daughter, who nowadays curates her mother’s archives, said Linda hadn’t either, at least not after The Beatles disbanded.

So I put two and two together and decided this was, indeed, the final photograph of John and Paul together. I should add that John’s friend May Pang, another house-guest at number 625, also took pix of J&P together around this time but Dougal reckons this was before he snapped his shot.

Chris Charlesworth – From Just Backdated: JOHN, PAUL & KEITH, Santa Monica, 1974
Last know picture of #JohnLennon and #PaulMcCartney together, Los Angeles, March 1974
Photo by May Pang
From Just Backdated: JOHN, PAUL & KEITH, Santa Monica, 1974
From Facebook – Hitherto unseen photo of John and Paul from that day in LA in 1974, unearthed from Mal Evans’ archives. May Pang, John, Paul, Linda McCartney and Harry Nilsson.
From Disc – April 13, 1974
From Facebook – Newly unearthed photo taken of John Lennon and Paul McCartney together on March 29, 1974. MALCOLM FREDERICK EVANS ARCHIVES

Last updated on June 8, 2024

Songs recorded


1.

Jam

Recording

Album Released on bootleg A Toot And A Snore In '74


2.

Jam

Recording

Album Released on bootleg A Toot And A Snore In '74


3.


4.

Jam

Recording

Album Released on bootleg A Toot And A Snore In '74


5.

Stand By Me

Written by Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Ben E. King

Recording

Album Released on bootleg A Toot And A Snore In '74


6.

Stand By Me

Written by Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Ben E. King

Recording

Album Released on bootleg A Toot And A Snore In '74


7.

Stand By Me

Written by Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Ben E. King

Recording

Album Released on bootleg A Toot And A Snore In '74


8.

Cupid

Written by Sam Cooke

Recording

Album Released on bootleg A Toot And A Snore In '74


9.

Chain Gang

Written by Sam Cooke

Recording

Album Released on bootleg A Toot And A Snore In '74


10.

Take This Hammer

Written by Traditional

Recording

Album Released on bootleg A Toot And A Snore In '74

Staff

Musicians

Paul McCartney:
drums
Stevie Wonder:
keyboards
John Lennon:
piano
Harry Nilsson:
vocals
Bobby Keys:
sax
Jesse Ed Davis:
guitar

Going further


Paul McCartney: Music Is Ideas. The Stories Behind the Songs (Vol. 1) 1970-1989

With 25 albums of pop music, 5 of classical – a total of around 500 songs – released over the course of more than half a century, Paul McCartney's career, on his own and with Wings, boasts an incredible catalogue that's always striving to free itself from the shadow of The Beatles. The stories behind the songs, demos and studio recordings, unreleased tracks, recording dates, musicians, live performances and tours, covers, events: Music Is Ideas Volume 1 traces McCartney's post-Beatles output from 1970 to 1989 in the form of 346 song sheets, filled with details of the recordings and stories behind the sessions. Accompanied by photos, and drawing on interviews and contemporary reviews, this reference book draws the portrait of a musical craftsman who has elevated popular song to an art-form.

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Eight Arms to Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium

We owe a lot to Chip Madinger and Mark Easter for the creation of those session pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details!

Eight Arms To Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium is the ultimate look at the careers of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr beyond the Beatles. Every aspect of their professional careers as solo artists is explored, from recording sessions, record releases and tours, to television, film and music videos, including everything in between. From their early film soundtrack work to the officially released retrospectives, all solo efforts by the four men are exhaustively examined.

As the paperback version is out of print, you can buy a PDF version on the authors' website

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Chris Bourgeois (@ChrisBourgeois) 7 years ago

you rock :)


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