A Toot and a Snore

I’ve got something a little different today. Something you can’t just push play on, and walk away while it hums in the background. Myself, I had to put on headphones and give this a careful listen.

The John Lennon / Paul McCartney boot A Toot and a Snore in ‘74 has something of an infamous reputation. I’d read or heard about it somewhere and thought it sounded sort of interesting in a bizarre way. I didn’t expect to find it and be able to listen to it anytime soon, so I just moved on. A couple of weeks ago, I found the recording. As an acquaintance of mine has said, it’s amazing what people leave laying around the Internet.

I’m going to turn the mic over to Wikipedia at this point for a description of what A Toot and a Snore is all about:
A Toot and a Snore in '74 is a rare bootleg album of the final recording session in which John Lennon and Paul McCartney played together, which gained wider prominence when McCartney made reference to the session in a 1997 interview. Lennon did the same in a 1975 interview. The story is corroborated by biographies such as Christopher Sandford's 2006 “McCartney.” Also present, though possibly not playing, at the star-studded session were Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, and Klaus Voorman. Lennon was in his “lost weekend,” kicked out of the house by Yoko for a year; thus he was with his girlfriend May Pang. Sandford paints the scene very vividly, as the room froze when Paul walked in, and remained perfectly silent until John said, “Valiant Paul McCartney, I presume?” Paul responded: “Sir Jasper Lennon [a character John played during an early TV appearance skit], I presume?” Paul extended a hand, John shook it, and the mood was pleasant but subdued, cordial but not especially warm (at least initially). Paul may (says Sandford) have encouraged John to repair his marriage with Yoko, possibly at Yoko’s request.

Lennon had been producing Harry Nilsson's latest album,
Pussy Cats, when Paul and Linda McCartney visited on Mar. 28, 1974. On March 31, they were joined by Stevie Wonder, Harry Nilsson, Jesse Ed Davis and Bobby Keys for a jam session at Lennon’s Los Angeles beach house.

What followed was not very productive. Lennon sounds to be on cocaine – he can be heard offering Wonder a snort on the first track, and on the fifth, asks someone to give him a snort. This is also the origin of the album name, where John Lennon clearly asks: “You wanna snort, Steve? A toot? It's goin’ round.” Whether the snore/snort discrepancy is intentional or not is not known. In addition, Lennon seems to be having trouble with his microphone and headphones. However, it does offer insight into Lennon’s “lost weekend,” and as the only known post-Beatles recording of Lennon and McCartney, it has become something of a collector’s item.

For the most part, Lennon is on lead with his guitar, while McCartney sings harmony and plays drums. Stevie Wonder sings and plays electric piano, Harry Nilsson provides vocals, Jesse Ed Davis is on guitar, and Bobby Keyes plays the saxophone.
Bootleg Zone has an excellent transcript of the recordings if you care to follow along. Listening with headphones, the sound was clear – even if the musicians didn’t seem to be.

The entire recording is about half an hour.

A Toot and a Snore.mp3
Bluesy Jam.mp3
Studio Talk.mp3
Nightmares (aka Midnight).mp3
Stand By Me.mp3
Stand By Me II.mp3
Stand By Me III.mp3
Cupid/Working for the Chain Gang/Take this Hammer.mp3


June 2008 update: If you're interested, I've reposted this as a zip file, so you can get it all at once.

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At 12:33 PM , Blogger johnarama said...

Great tunes, thanks!

Just discovered this site, reminds me of when I was a kid and I bought my first album (Men at Work: Business as Usual) at Licorice Pizza in Pasadena, a $5.99 cassette, those were the days!

www.gigatribe.com (encrypted file-sharing between friends)

At 1:10 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Very cool and yet, very sad.

At 2:11 PM , Blogger london cokehead said...

Nightmare session, would not like to have engineered that mate?

Actually...I retract that statement.

At 10:02 PM , Blogger Marina said...

The John Lennon / Paul McCartney boot A Toot and a Snore in ‘74 last playing together... One of the most fun and beautifully written posts for the last time, thank you.

If interested, can visit the blog with useful information on minneapolis car insurance.

At 12:49 AM , Blogger Jxxx said...

fuck you jerks, this is brilliance. no one is as funny as fucking Lennon. Can you imagine where he is at this moment? Can you imagine a year like his? No you can't because you're a fucking slave and he was a king.

At 9:08 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1:51 AM , Blogger Jeff said...

Wow, this is amazing. Thanks for the post.

At 1:28 AM , Blogger Raf M said...

These songs are priceless, and i spose the only way to keep them from being lost and unappreciated is to keep on passing on word about em!
Nyway, if you want ideas on mp3
archiving and sharing (forget
zshare!!), check out archive.org. i got my bossa nova and indie rock fix from there!
Two candidates for 2nd best mp3

At 10:46 PM , Blogger Lil ol' me... said...

Hearing this stuff proves further that John Lennon was living in a musical wasteland in the mid-70s, having totally lost any artistic direction he might have had. A truly uninspiring bunch of music here.

At 6:45 PM , Blogger - said...

Lennon isn't in the greatest form here, but then again, it was never meant for release. Nice to hear them jamming, and there's apparently more tracks, like "Midnight Special," still unheard.

At 10:01 AM , Blogger Dave said...

Never heard about Toot and a snore and I am a Beatles fan

Stop Snoring Tips

At 9:35 PM , Blogger Timeshare Jake said...

Thanks for posting. I am listening to this for the first time. I had been hearing Mancow talk about it a few times now.

At 6:14 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Hello Buddy! Never had I heard about Toot and Snore…….this is my 1st time when I knew about Toot and Snore. Just I had listen the 1st track……..this is cool. Thanks for this blog.


At 3:12 AM , Blogger SoloForge said...

Never seen a blog post like this

stop snoring naturally

At 1:51 PM , Blogger Struggles said...

Holy Shit, I worked at Licorice Pizza on wilshire from 1977-1979. It was some of the best times of my life. Doors did an instore apperance and I got to hang out with Ray Manzarek all afternoon.
Whip cream fights and lots of good fun.

At 6:18 PM , Blogger Paul said...

Interestingly, this could well be not the only time that Lennon and McCartney played together after the breakup of The Beatles in 1970. I used to have a book called Loving John, which was written by John's mistress May Pang. In the book she clearly states that they recorded the song Midnight Special together in 1973, saying that John asked her to 'grab a tambourine' and join in the recording. She also went on to say that the recording sounded 'wonderful' and that the tape of Midnight Special still exists.


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