Come Together: The Night Lennon and McCartney Reunited

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Come Together: The Night Lennon and McCartney Reunited

Postby I am the Paulrus » Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:51 pm

Come Together: The Night Lennon and McCartney Reunited

Russell Hall
Gibson.com

November 2, 2010

http://www.gibson.com/en-us/Lifestyle/F ... tney-1102/

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“Valiant Paul McCartney, I presume?” said John Lennon. “Sir Jasper Lennon, I presume,” responded Paul McCartney.

Such was the manner in which the two former Beatles greeted one another when McCartney showed up, unexpectedly, at a recording session Lennon was conducting on March 28, 1974. In the throes of his “Lost Weekend” period, Lennon was in a Los Angeles studio overseeing production of Harry Nilsson’s Pussy Cats album. Present were a number of players – including Stevie Wonder, guitarist Jesse Ed Davis, saxophonist Bobby Keys and Nilsson himself. McCartney was accompanied by his wife, Linda. Lennon’s then-girlfriend, May Pang, was there as well.

“We had no clue he was coming,” said Pang, referring to McCartney’s visit in Peter Ames Carlin’s recent McCartney biography, McCartney: A Life. “All of a sudden we turned around, and Paul was there.”

So began the only instance in which, post-Beatles, Lennon and McCartney ever joined forces in the studio. Remarkably, although Pang had made reference to the event previously, it wasn’t until May 1992 that McCartney confirmed that the studio reunion had occurred. “It’s very difficult to remember those days, because it was all a bit crazy and everyone was getting out of it,” McCartney revealed. “But yes, John was doing some recordings in Los Angeles and I showed up.”

Indeed, the night was late, the day’s “official” sessions were complete, and, by all accounts, the gathered musicians – including Lennon and McCartney – were, to varying degrees, in chemically-induced altered states of mind. Disappointed he had missed the session, McCartney edged toward the drum kit, where Ringo Starr had been sitting earlier, and picked up the sticks. “Ah, okay,” Lennon said, looking around for his guitar. “Maybe we’ll have a little jam.”

As detailed by Carlin, Linda then seated herself at the organ, Wonder manned the electric piano, Jesse Ed Davis picked up his six-string, and a musician from a session next door strapped on a bass. Lennon began ad-libbing some vocals, and Wonder launched into a gospel-style progression that evolved into a funky version of “Lucille.” “Stand By Me” came next, with Lennon, McCartney, and Nilsson sharing vocals. Pang later recalled that the ad-hoc group also pulled together a skiffle rendition of the Leadbelly classic, “Midnight Special.”

The session sputtered on into the wee hours, but technical problems were rampant, and Lennon became progressively irritable. Still, in the words of Pang, the Lennon-McCartney reunion “was like yesterday … they didn’t skip a beat, just went right into it.”

Even more enticingly, although Beatles fans never knew, the spontaneous jam session very nearly sparked a full-on Fab Four reunion. The day after the jam, at Lennon’s invitation, McCartney, Linda, and the couple’s children went to Lennon’s rented Malibu home. Gathered around the pool were Ringo, Keith Moon and a handful of others. Lennon soon joined them. McCartney sat at a piano for most of the afternoon, playing Beatles songs and some standards. Ringo seated himself on the bench next to McCartney, singing along and having a rollicking good time.

As day turned to night, Lennon and McCartney bid their adieus. “Let’s see each other again,” McCartney said. Lennon nodded in agreement. Afterwards, Pang overheard Lennon tell Nilsson, “Wouldn’t it be fun to get the guys back together again?” In the minds of Nilsson and Pang, there was no doubt which “guys” Lennon was referring to. Some might dismiss Lennon’s remarks as whimsical musing, but years later, in an interview with Earcandy magazine, Pang insisted otherwise.

“He wanted to write with Paul again,” she said. “He asked me if I thought it was a good idea. I told him I thought it was a great idea. Solo they were great, but together they were unbeatable. He thought about it and he said, ‘You know what? Let’s go down and visit Paul and Linda.’”

The proposed visit was to take place in early 1975, in New Orleans, where McCartney was working on Wings’ Venus and Mars album. Lennon was back in New York by then, still living with Pang. Just before the trip was to be arranged, Yoko Ono phoned Lennon, insisting the stars were aligned for him to undergo a smoking cessation program. The trip to New Orleans was postponed, and was ultimately abandoned altogether.

Following Lennon’s death, Pang told McCartney about the planned visit that never happened.

“I said to [Paul], ‘For what it’s worth I just want you to know that John really loved you,’” said Pang. “He said, ‘Oh, I know that.’ Then I said, ‘You know, we were going to come down to New Orleans because he wanted to write with you again.’ Paul looked at me and said, ‘Oh yeah … that would have been great.’ I could tell he thought I was just being nice.”

Pang went on to say that McCartney seemed not to want to entertain the thought, perhaps because the idea of such a missed opportunity was too painful. A year later, however, at McCartney’s annual Buddy Holly tribute party in New York, the former Beatle rushed over to Pang as she was talking with Linda McCartney. “Tell her!” McCartney said. “Tell me what?” said Pang. “One of Derek Taylor’s postcards from John fell into our hands,” McCartney said. “John had written, ‘Thinking of visiting the Macs in New Orleans.’”

The postcard was evidence to McCartney that Lennon had wanted, perhaps only briefly, to try and rekindle the greatest songwriting partnership of the century.

Red lights, green lights, strawberry wine

A good friend of mine follows the stars

Venus and Mars are alright tonight

– “Venus and Mars,” 1975
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Re: Come Together: The Night Lennon and McCartney Reunited

Postby chris » Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:55 pm

thanks paulrus. great story. one i may have read before...but great story.
I want to tell her that I love her a lot, but I got to get a belly full of wine.
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Re: Come Together: The Night Lennon and McCartney Reunited

Postby jgkojak » Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:00 pm

Unfortunately - they were all too out of their minds on coke to do a decent job -

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Re: Come Together: The Night Lennon and McCartney Reunited

Postby Jeff in Ohio » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:22 pm

This recording reminds me very much of the January 1969 Twickenham sessions which appear on many bootlegs. I think if the Beatles had actually re-united for an album in 1974, it would have been a letdown. It's best in my opinion that Abbey Road was their crowning conclusion, they went out on top of their game. Anything after that, especially after listening to this recording, might have been a letdown.
I'm painting a room in a colorful way, and when my mind is wandering, there I will go.
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Re: Come Together: The Night Lennon and McCartney Reunited

Postby jgkojak » Fri Nov 05, 2010 2:20 pm

Yes - I think it would have been disappointing.

Put it in the context of what we KNOW was sort of a collaboration- FAAB and RL. Now - I'm sure Paul working with John directly could have significantly improved FAAB, and a proper collaborative recording of RL would have been even more spectacular - but I am sure had these come out in, say, 1979, people would have been underwhelmed.

We forget that Double Fantasy received mixed reviews (including John's stuff) and it was stalled at #11 on the LP charts until the tragedy and that at the same time Paul had just released the lackluster McII.

I think its good they stopped when they did.
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Re: Come Together: The Night Lennon and McCartney Reunited

Postby mr h atom » Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:25 am

very nice post, paulrus....wistful...

can't say i totally agree kj & jeff: while the 'session' is far more true that even very talented musicians should not doodle about a 3-4 in the morning after imbibing too much whatever...i prefer to think of that moment more like two great baseball/football players, meeting up (still in the prime of their lives/abilities) on the lawn of a mutual friend...their just tossing the ball about, getting a feel for if they can even stand to be near each other...

who knows what they might have come up with, if they actually worked at working together...

i got to believe that it, at the very least, it could be at least as succesful as other bands/bandmates who have gotten together after years/decades
lift up your head...and remember what your life is !
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