Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Lennon & Nilsson – The Lost Weekend

The Lost Weekend seems an appropriate title for a post given my current mood, however, it is really a opportunnity to post on one of Harry Nilsson’s less commercial albums “Pussy Cats” which was one of the products of John Lennon’s infamous “lost weekend” which lasted months rather than days.

In order to set the scene you have to go back to September 1973 when Lennon travelled to LA to get away from NYC and the now estranged Yoko Ono, with him was May Pang who ironically Ono had encouraged to have an affair with Lennon to stave off other non marital experiences!

In addition Lennon was still in the midst of a big dispute with Paul McCartney and had just experienced a big drop in sales of his solo output which had initially peaked with “Imagine”.

LA was to be the scene for the wildest period of Lennon’s life (even wilder than the Hamburg days).

Whilst Lennon wasn’t broke he had little liquid assets with his monthly allowance from Apple still being paid to Ono thus after a  stay at his lawyers apartment he accepted the offer of accommodation from Harry Nilsson who had been attending some of the shambolic Phil Spector produced sessions that Lennon had been recording since his arrival in LA.

These sessions were eventually partially salvaged via the “Rock ‘n’ Roll” album.

“Ain’t That A Shame” – John Lennon

Nilsson was living in a beach house in Santa Monica rented for him by his record company and already had two house guests messers Ringo Starr and Keith Moon, who was also in the USA to pass the time away whilst The Who were off the road.

As you can imagine (sic) this was a lethal combination which, following the collapse of the Spector sessions saw Lennon agreeing to produce an album for Nilsson and the three amigos agreeing to help Moon complete his ill-advised solo album “Two Sides Of The Moon”

From the album here is a version of Nilsson’s “Together”

“Together” – Keith Moon

This being the lessor evil than posting his version of “In My Life”

The Nilsson album “Pussy Cats” had the intent of being a much more serious project, however, Nilsson was suffering from a severe throat condition which limited his vocal ability to a great extent but he wasn’t willing to let Lennon know in case he pulled the plug on the sessions.

At the end of the first day of the session a guest arrived in the form of Paul McCartney who after four years of disagreement with Lennon had perhaps heard of his current state of mind and came on some sort of mercy mission.

McCartney agreed to “jam” but only if he played the drums (he did not want this to be perceived as a Beatles reunion) the session was later bootlegged.

This is perhaps the nearest to a Nilsson standard that they recorded.

“Don’t Forget Me” – Nilsson

Here are all the four musketeers with a “version” of THE Bill Haley song

“Rock Around The Clock” – Nilsson

Lennon returned to NYC in April 1974 where he salvaged after Capital Records paid a ransom to buy back the tapes from Spector.

Lennon and Ono made the first steps to reconciliation at the end of November 1974 when Lennon made a return to the live stage with Elton John at Madison Square Garden

“Pussy Cats” was released in 1974 buy HERE

“Two Sides Of The Moon” was finally released after much more drinking and re-recording in 1975 buy HERE

“Rock ‘n’ Roll” was salvaged and released in 1975 buy HERE

For the full story on the Lost Weekend see the new issue of Q Magazine

January 3, 2010 Posted by | Old Music, Video | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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