In all the hoo-haa this week with Paul's son, James' comments about a son of the Beatles band (clearly this is never going to happen) the much more interesting quote that came from James has been somewhat overlooked. James said:
"I know John held me as a baby. Then I have memories of the Dakota building, very white, lots of sunlight pouring in" See it all here
Now, James was born in September 1977. So the generally accepted last meeting could not have been April 1976.
So, what has gone on here? I think the Dakota quotes can be related to later visits after John's death, probably when Paul and Linda visited Yoko in early 1981 after John's death. However, the first part is fascinating.
Has Paul got mixed up (never great with dates) and innocently misinformed James? Has James got confused and thinks he did, but didn't? Did James meet John, and Paul was not present? Or was there a meeting that we don't know about that happened sometime after September 1977? It would be nice if that was the case.
The best thing about the 1976 meeting is that the date can be confirmed to the date of the 'Saturday Night Live' broadcast in which John mentions in the Playboy interview. See below:
PLAYBOY: "Aside from the millions you've been offered for a reunion concert, how did you feel about producer Lorne Michaels' generous offer of $3200 for appearing together on 'Saturday Night Live' a few years ago?"
LENNON: "Oh, yeah. Paul and I were together watching that show. He was visiting us at our place in the Dakota. We were watching it and almost went down to the studio, just as a gag. We nearly got into a cab, but we were actually too tired."
PLAYBOY: "How did you and Paul happen to be watching TV together?"
LENNON: "That was a period when Paul just kept turning up at our door with a guitar. I would let him in, but finally I said to him, 'Please call before you come over. It's not 1956 and turning up at the door isn't the same anymore. You know, just give me a ring.' He was upset by that, but I didn't mean it badly. I just meant that I was taking care of a baby all day and some guy turns up at the door... But, anyway, back on that night, he and Linda walked in and he and I were just sitting there, watching the show, and we went, 'Ha-ha, wouldn't it be funny if we went down?' but we didn't."
PLAYBOY: "Was that the last time you saw Paul?"
LENNON: "Yes, but I didn't mean it like that."
So, they did meet on 24 April 1976. That was the night they considered going to the SNL studios but were too tired to show. The following day, 25 April, seems to be accepted as the day that he turned up with his guitar and got the reaction about 'taking care of baby' So was this was the last time they saw each other?
Although John says 'Yes' it does not sound that convincing and later on states in the same interview 'I haven't seen any of the Beatles for I don't know how much time'. It is clear that he can't have seen him recently from that, but he did see quite a bit of Ringo, so it is not 100% truthful.
Anyway, back to the question. It is common knowledge that from 76 until mid 1980 John did not see that many people and became largely a recluse. I seem to remember Jagger stating that he has given up trying to make contact with him. He seemed to spend alot of time with Yoko and Eliot Mintz and a handful of others, but those from his past were mainly ignored. Much of this would be down to raising a child and just life being what happens when you are busy making other plans.
So, it is very likely that John and Paul would not have met or hardly met during this period. Paul was busy being a pop star and raising a family. They did keep good contact on the phone it seems.
It has been stated that Paul was in NY in Jan 1980 and called John asking if he wanted to smoke some great weed that he had? Strange thing to do if they had not met for 4 years. Yoko took the call and Paul never spoke to John and dismissed the idea. Paul then took this weed to Japan...
Paul was in NY in November 1980 for 'Rockshow' which would have been after the Playboy interview. They could have met then. I am sure Paul would have mentioned that he saw John a few weeks ago when the tragic events that followed happened. There is the story from Carl Perkins that Paul's last meeting with John was shortly before his death and that John said "Think of me every now and then, my old friend' However, my understanding is that this was in their last phone conversation on John's birthday October 9th 1980.
So, do James' comments point to a possible meeting between 78-79 ?. I have heard of a rumour of a 1978 meeting, but can't remember where from. This would tie in with all comments on record as a meeting in 1980 would surely have been mentioned by someone. 18 months to 2 years prior would be far enough back to be harder to date in recollection.
So, has James revealed a little gem here which should be getting more coverage or is it none of our business anyway?
I have always thought that there might have been more meetings than is generally accepted. Remember these are days before camera phones, internet, texting, Twitter etc. I'm sure Linda must have some pictures of John and Paul too after the split. The one above from May Pang from 1974 might not be the last photo either!
So, what are others' views?