Thursday, May 24, 2018

"My Old Friend" - a play about John and Paul's final, 1980, visit

New Jersey Stage has an interview with Stephen Larsen, author of "My Old Friend," a fictionalized account of John Lennon and Paul McCartney's final visit together in late 1980.

Was the November 5th meeting real or fiction for the story?  I believe it was real. According to Jack Douglas, John’s record producer on Double Fantasy – and who was working with John on the night he was shot – John and Paul had at least one writing session in the Dakota (building where Lennon lived). A follow-up session was cancelled when John was waiting for Paul to show up and was told that Paul did not show; Paul, on the other hand, was told that John was too busy to work with him that day.

Besides Douglas, others who have corroborated that John and Paul were taking initial steps to collaborate again were Linda McCartney (who told Carl Perkins about it – Carl Perkins is a key character in this play) and James McCartney (Paul and Linda’s son, born Sept. 12, 1977) who said “I know John held me as a baby… I have memories of the Dakota building, very white, lots of sunlight pouring in.” Now, since John and Paul had last seen each other before James was born, on or around April 24, 1976 (the night when they watched Lorne Michaels offer the Beatles a check for $3,000 to appear on Saturday Night Live and they joked about driving down the take Michaels’ up on the offer)… and James remembers the White Room of John’s Dakota apartment (which appears prominently in my play), I figured James was maybe around 3 years old when he was there… so that puts it in the vicinity of Sept. 1980.

Which leads us to how I decided the date of John and Paul’s détente meeting was Nov. 5, 1980. Simple. Paul was in England the fall of 1980 until Nov. 4, when he flew to NYC to oversee the final edits on the Wings concert film "Rockshow" – and he flew back home to England on Nov. 6. So I figured, Nov. 5 was the logical date that Paul would have slipped out from the editing suite and stopped by to reconnect with his old friend, John.

More here.

As to the play's title, according to Paul, John said, "Think of me every now and then, old friend" during their final meeting. Not knowing this, Carl Perkins wrote a tune containing nearly the same phrase as a thank you to Paul following his work on Macca's Tug of War LP. 

The song, featuring backup vocals, bass, guitar and drums by Paul and a string arrangement by George Martin, is included on Perkins' 1996 album, Go Cat Go!

Here's Carl and Paul:

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