Monday, February 4, 2013

Before "Toot and a Snore"

The act you've known for
all these years
Here are some photos from Retronaut—the last known shots of John with Paul—at Peter Lawford's old beach house here in Santa Monica. Whenever I want to bask in some ghosts (Marilyn and Jack! Marilyn and Bobby! Nilsson and Baron Von Moon!) I bike down six blocks; the house is right on the PCH. It's surprisingly small; glamour required less square-footage back in those days.

Anyway, according to Retronaut these were taken in March 1974, at the time of the infamous "A Toot And a Snore" bootleg. I love Stevie, and obviously John and Paul, but have been warned off by all the bad reviews. Anybody heard it?

Harry, Paul, John, Linda's head

John, Keith Moon, Paul, Linda


8 comments:

Nancy Carr said...

I've heard it, and the photos posted here are much, much better than the recordings, sadly. "Toot and a Snore" is only too apt as a title. Haphazard playing and random chatter fueled by drug use = terminally boring, even though the players include Lennon & McCartney.

But it could have been a beginning. The ice is being broken, the old resentments are losing their grip, and next time around could have -- should have -- been better, not merely musically, but personally and emotionally. Damn, I hate that the past can't be changed.

Great track-by-track description, and interesting comment thread, here: http://www.bootlegzone.com/album.php?name=mm9225&section=2

matt m said...

If you've ever been very close friends with someone, fallen out with them, and later reunited as acquaintances in a stilted facsimile of your prior relationship, then you already know what this sounds like. I've got it if you want it.

I always thought it was funny that John offers Stevie blow. He must have skipped "Too High" when listening to Innervisions.

Anonymous said...


I think in this case, it's best to just look at the pictures. Then, rather than thinking about what might have been musically, you can instead focus on wondering why Linda ever let Paul out of the house with that pedo-moustache. :)

-- Drew

Alex said...

Yes, it's a complete mess... but hearing Paul McCartney echoing John's lines and trying to harmonize on the third take of "Stand By Me" is just amazing. It's a small hint into the magic of what still good have been...

Nancy's right, though. I also hate that the past can't be changed.

Anonymous said...

"If you've ever been very close friends with someone, fallen out with them, and later reunited as acquaintances in a stilted facsimile of your prior relationship, then you already know what this sounds like. I've got it if you want it."

This. Sadly.

Nancy's right that it might have laid the groundwork, but what this sounds like, to me, is the awkward, drug-fueled reunion of two men who have both outgrown their friendship as it once was and who are living lives too different to pick things back up again in a single evening.

At some level, I don't doubt that Lennon and McCartney were always psychically connected—how could they be otherwise—but considering that, from about 1967 onward, they lived increasingly drastically different lives, with Lennon's mind quite dramatically altered by his drug use and his psychological problems, it's not like they would have been able to recapture the old camaraderie that easily. Part of the key to the partnership's success was that they weren't just complementary artists, they were also great (if competitive) friends.

Michael Gerber said...

To me the tragedy of John and Paul never hooking up again isn't that they didn't recapture the friendship they'd had pre-1968. It's that both never had a better, closer non-sexual friend in their lives and, despite our hypersexualized culture's blindspot in this regard, that's a really important thing for people.

Both guys loved music, loved writing music, and generally loved each other's music. They could've had a less-intense, more respectful, less "living-out-of-each-other's-pockets" adult friendship. The only thing stopping that were courtiers who never had either man's best interests at heart. Having Paul around would've kept John from believing he was this unique being untouchable by normal people therapy and rehab. And having John around would've kept Paul from coasting and pleasing at the expense of his talent.

John and Paul were, in the end, the only two people who really understood what the other was going through. That was hugely important. John and Paul could call bullshit on each other, and did. Whether they were working together or not, the lack of a friendship was a real tragedy for both of them.

girl said...

but what this sounds like, to me, is the awkward, drug-fueled reunion of two men who have both outgrown their friendship as it once was and who are living lives too different to pick things back up again in a single evening.

Anonymous, I agree for the most part, but I don't think that from 1967 onwards they were living drastically different lives. From what I've read they were still really close in 1967 first of all. And their lives then were still very similar. They were still buddies, both of them into the avant gaard scene and the drug scene together. True John may have been dropping more acid (partly because of his crumbling marriage perhaps?)but I think that Paul's drug use and inevitable psychological problems have been downplayed while John's have been emphasised. True though I think their lives did take different turns in the 70's but I was surprised to read that after Sean was born they had a lot more in common than people seem to think.

Anonymous said...

There's this bootleg of a song Paul recorded around Tug of War sessions called "Seems Like Old Times". Do you think he could have been writing about his moment when he saw John again?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opWTXPG6uJU

Some of the lyrics that made me think about this:

The other day I met someone I had known in another lifetime.
Old puzzle pieces lost without a trace
Fell into place in my mind.
But we both knew what we were getting into.
And we didn't want to stop.
We wouldn't want to miss it.

Cause it seems like old times
So like long ago that I hardly even know who's who anymore
What's new anymore
So like long ago that it seems like old times.

Familiar music man singing me a song from another lifetime.
When urgent letter waiting for the post where uppermost in my mind.
But he got through and then before we knew it...

When you reappeared and the moment I had always feared is upon me
I felt slightly weird
That's for sure.
Now life is good to me
Though I don't see who I used to see
No it's not quite what it used to be anymore.