uncredited music in Last Tango in Paris

March 18, 2010

The sole purpose of this site was to find an answer to the following question:
What uncredited song is played on the record player following the butter scene in Last Tango in Paris?

Thanks to Marc, Phillip, Ed and all the others (see comments) we are very close to disclosure!
The theme of the song is the same as Gato Barbieri’s Maté, which appears on his double-album Latino America; which is not to say that he composed it, nor that Maté was the original title… One of the performers of the recording used in the film (the organ-player) is identified by Marc Sarrazy as Joachim Kühn. Kühn doesn’t remember, but it’s likely recorded by the Kühn brother’s Bloody Rockers or Mad Rockers (Joachim Kühn, Rolf Kühn, Günter Lenz, Stu Martin, Volker Kriegel) and then used in the film.

I had Joachim on the phone, and he told me he listened to the extract, but doesn’t remember what it is… But I’m not sure he watched the right extract… From my point of view, Jean Francois Jenny-Clarke and Daniel Humair were part of the recording session for the movie, but not for that extract; that’s not Humair drumming… I’m pretty sure they needed a kind of free-pop track and they took one from Joachim’s unreleased material with the Mad Rockers from 1969… Listen, it will take months before I’ll visit him, but I plan a journey this year (2013) to see him. At that time, we’ll watch it together, and I’ll be sure! I’ll let you know! Marc

In June 2015 Karla Adebowale noted that a longer version of the piece is released on the ‘definitive edition‘ of the soundtrack, released in 2009. The movie only features a part of it: 1:32 to 2:11 min. However, there is no more information about the performing artists; liner notes just mention Barbieri.

Read the comments to this post to keep informed about this issue of utmost importance!


The music for the film was composed by Gato Barbieri, and conducted by Oliver Nelson, as is mentioned in the credits; no references are made to other music used in the film. One instance of music appearing in the film however is not listed in the credits. It is heard at 1hr17min in the movie, in/after the scene where Jeanne (Maria Schneider) wants to play a record, and asks Paul (Marlon Brando) to take a look at the record player because it does not seem to work:

Jeanne: “I’ve got a surprise for you!”
Paul: “That’s good. I like surprises. What is it?”
Jeanne: “Music. But I don’t know how to work it.”
While getting the player to work Paul gets an electric shock.
Paul: “Do you enjoy that?”

And then there is this funky music with guitar and organ…

Of course not many people know this movie by heart.
So I’ve put the music on Youtube so you can listen to it:

I myself have been trying to figure out what music (band & song) this is for years already.
What have I tried sofar?

– I listened to the soundtrack of the movie: not on there.
– I searched on the web for musical contributors other than the 2 mentioned in the credits: nothing.
– I tried looking at the label on the record, while watching the movie, to read bands/tracks: resolution to vague.
– Virunga08 also tried this (the stills on this site are his), and suggested I should try to find a copy of the album (Pop Sounds Vol.4, LP Polydor 2480, 082 FR, label: Polydor/Elektra) that is played on the reord player, and of which Paul is holding the sleeve in the film (see below).
– I tracked down a 2nd-hand copy of the album at VinylManiak: According to the owner Patrick Oster the song from the movie is not on that album (altough he admitted he didn’t listen to the whole record). They could however very well have used other music for the film than the actual record used on the set.
– I downloaded music from bands (for instance Brian Auger, Mandrill and Booker T. & the M.G.’s) that appeared on the sleeve: nothing yet.
– I had the music analysed by some cell phones and online music recognizers: not recognized.
– I posted the music on Youtube:
response from Kate Gover: “I sent a letter to Bertolucci’s PR company but never got a response. I have the full score on CD, with all the snippets released and it isn’t on that at all. So, not part of Barbieri’s work for the film. Stuck for ideas at this point.”
– I posted the question on WebAnswers
– I posted the question on WikiAnswers
– I posted the question on YahooAnswers
– I posted the question on Marktplaats (Dutch version of eBay)
Response from a dude named Jaap: Searched with Shazam on his iPhone and searched the internet: nothing. Also e-mailed 2 DJ’s (David Holmes en Norman Cook), but hasn’t heared from them.
– I incorperated the problem in the Wikipedia-article
– I posted the question on MirrorMundo’s Blog
– I asked around among DJ’s: not a clue or no response.
– I searched for contact details of the producer and the sound technicians of the film (Antoine Bonfanti, Michael Billingsley, Fausto Ancillai), and only found a phone number of a Michael Billingsley in Vermont. This person indeed turned out to be a sound engineer, but not the one who worked on Last Tango in Paris in 1972.
– I wrote an email to Drew, who posted the entire scritp of the movie on his Script-O-Rama site: he didn’t have a clue.
– I wrote an email to the VPRO broadcast station to mobilize all DJ’s to sort this out. Agnes van der Weijden replied she informed the DJ’s about this matter of utmost importance.
– I wrote an email to the Dutch popmusic guru Leo Blokhuis: waiting for reply.
– I went to Hollywood, but realized that I wouldn’t find any clues there, since the film is not a Hollywood production.
– So then I created this site dedicated to getting to the bottom of this…
– I posted the question on the MySpace-page of Gato Barbieri, the composer of the music for the film: no reply.
– A friend of mine tracked down the email-adress of Laura Barbieri, his wife, and posed the question…
The answer was that Joakim/Joachim Kühn/Kuhn (organ) and J.F. (Jean-François?) Jenny-Clark (bass) were 2 musicians that contributed to te soundtrack. I listened to music of these people, and their jazz is nothing like the music in the record scene. So I mailed her again and suggested we might have to ask Bertolucci himself. Her answer:

Bertolucci has nothing to do with the music.
He has made so many films…
The music director, writer, arranger does all this.
Gato, I am sorry to say, does not remember. I will ask again.
We do not understand what is the big quest to find this out.
It is a beautiful piece of music and the mystery should remain.
“Music is a Mystery” Gato Barbieri has said in many interviews.
To dissect is to kill the art form.
Sorry we can’t assist you any further.
Laura Barbieri

So… the mystery should remain?
Then she sent me a 2nd mail right after:

This is the last reply!
The album in the film is a PROP for the film .
It has nothing to do with the pop music on the film.
Gato said that there were three players,
Jokim Kuhn – organ
Danielle Umer, sp? – drums
Jeff Jenny Clark(e) – bass
there is no guitar!
Gato does not write pop music,
these musicuans wrote this music in Rome…
That is the final answer.
Please do not request any furthur definition.
Appreciate the music/movie as it is.
I understand that this has become a work in itself,
to figure out the answer,
10 or 12 years is too long to be wondering about this Gato thinks,
buen dia,

Clearly they didn’t listen to the song on Youtube, otherwise they would have concluded that this is not part of what Barbieri composed, and not played by Joachim Kühn, Daniel Humair, and J.F. Jenny-Clark, who play free-jazz.
As suggested in one of the comments the song is probably a piece of (Italian?) library music. My best bet now is on Michael Billingsley, the sound-editor, who should know what other music, not composed by Barbieri, was added to the film. Question is: how to contact him? Maybe Federico Amati, at the AMIT orchestra (Accademia Musicale Italiana) in Rome, knows his whereabouts…


Last Tango in Paris #1
pop sounds vol 4
Last Tango in Paris #2

Last Tango in Paris #3