uncredited music in Last Tango in Paris

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



39 Responses to “uncredited music in Last Tango in Paris”

  1. Pete Says:

    i Love that part in Last Tango-i saw the film at too young an age,and loved it since-
    There was a still or two in a Brando biography(circa 1981) that showed Jeanne standing and dancing around as Paul observed rather aloof and looking at the linear notes of Pop Sounds-while that track plays-I wish Bertolucci would release his supposed 4 hour cut/workprint
    Great subject ,of a great Film

  2. Fake Blood Says:

    I always used to wonder about this track too.
    You’ve been pretty thorough in your search, it seems.
    However my guess is that it’s probably a piece of library music sourced during the editing process.
    Italian studios used a lot of library stuff, and there were quite a few labels there devoted to it’s production – not to mention the copious numbers of similar labels in France, the UK, Germany etc.
    I collect these records – not everything of course, but own several hundred LPs of the good stuff – but there are literally thousands of these records, most of which are nigh on impossible to find.
    So who knows – maybe one day I or someone else will stumble upon this track. If so I will find this page and put you out of your misery / mystery!

  3. Chap Says:

    Might be worth looking into what library music companies were used by the film production company. There are a few library music fiends out there who may recognize it as a track from one of the big companies of the ’70s.

  4. guuzbourg Says:

    Hello, saw your question on Leo Blokhuis’ website. Intriguing mystery – I asked several sources (dj’s, collectors) but so far no one recognised the track. I’m afraid the music on the album in the film isn’t what we hear – an educated guess is that it’s library music (odd choice, when you have Gato at your disposal) – but to find that actual piece in the miles and miles of library music composed in the 70s is a hell of a task. Still, it might pop up. If anything does, I will post again (and check if you found it in the meantime).

  5. guuzbourg Says:

    One tiny step closer: it is probably Italian library music. An expert is looking into the matter. Keep you posted.

  6. [uzine] Says:

    Dunno but gave you some exposure here: http://uzine.posterous.com/librarians-to-the-rescue

  7. [uzine] Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR-ZAnil_Mw 😉

  8. Pete Says:

    If anything this has inspired me to do a wordpress blog about another film,Flashdance,Namely the lost Tv Spots-Youtube only has one-but its not The April 1983 ones promoting the film
    Incindentally ,Adrian Lyne-A Bertolucci admirer himself,Screened Last Tango and The Conformists for Don Peterman while prepping Flashdance-to get an idea of the Colours he wanted Peterman to try using(American Cinemotographer April 1984)

  9. roroldam Says:

    I too have wanted to find this music, and hoped it was on the record, though it couldn’t be by any of the people named on the cover.

    It looks like it’s library music.

    Incidentally, Chris Marker’s La Jetée uses library music (by Trevor Duncan) that I have always thought is exactly like the main theme to Last Tango in Paris.

    Probably just a coincidence, though.

    good luck with the search

    • frank patten Says:

      I am watching “Last Tango” now and had to Google to see if there was a connection between the music in it and in “La Jetee.” Your entry was the first hit.

  10. Fabrizo Says:

    Obviously the cover we can notice on screen has nothing to do with the music you actually hear in the film—as it usually happens with any kind of props present on sets. In addition, the piece itself reminds us so clearly of Gato Barbieri’s main title for ‘Last Tango’ that is is MOST probably just another variation of it, maybe performed and improvised during the post-prod, in absence of Gato, by the two musicians you mentioned. Best —

  11. Steve Says:

    Guess I’m the 2nd person on this planet who would like very much to know the story of this piece of music.
    Why does it matter? 1) It’s a cool piece of work I’d like to hear more of. 2) In the context of the film’s art, it tells us about Jeanne’s taste. She chose this one piece to play for Paul, of the many possible. We long to know more of Jeanne and this music gives us a clue as to her character. This sounds like 60’s “club” music – the kind of stuff played in hip Euro discos and on cool cats’ apartment stereos. It’s not standard 70s pop, for sure.
    Saw on youtube that someone identified it as by Booker T and the MGs. That is one of the bands listed on the prop album cover. They did make music something like this – ‘Green Onions’, their one 60s hit is typical, so maybe.

    Best of luck on the quest!

  12. Fake Blood Says:

    This is almost definitely a piece of library music. And in all likelihood it’ll be Italian. If the film was edited, and the sound dubbed, at Cinecitta (or any large studio) in Rome, then they probably just sourced a piece of music direct form the LPs in the studio’s sound library, for convenience. The piece of music was just incidental / background to them, as you can see from the lack of credit (and memories), so it’s doubtful they went to great lengths to source it.
    Needle / haystack.
    There were loads of these library studios and labels in Italy at the time – such as Cam and Music Scene, and even companies like Beat Recorded Music (of Rome) who licensed library catalogs from foreign labels – and a film / TV studio as large as Cinecitta would have had large catalogs of LPs from many of them, and probably ones from the UK and France also (both big countries for producing library music).
    However – if the film used a piece of music from an outside company’s library / LPs, then there has to be a record of it somewhere. It would have been logged. Good luck finding THAT little bit of paperwork!
    But – if it was a recording from a label affiliated with Cinecitta, or the studio’s archives themselves, then it may be almost impossible to track down, as it wouldn’t have needed clearing.

  13. avalodya Says:

    I’m very impressed with the investigative work here!!! I, too, am GREATLY interested in finding that song. Any updates from anyone? This seems like one of the greatest mysteries of cinema that has yet to be solved. Good luck to the song seekers.

  14. Phillip jones Says:

    I think I can clear up part of the mystery about this music. Its definitely Gato’s. If you can find his cd “Latino America” their is a different version of this song called “Mate”(disc 2 track 7). Its credited to GATO so my guess is that he wrote the music for that scene and Bertolucci (or someone) had some pop musicians record it so it didnt sound like the rest of the music in the film.As for who actually played on the song I couldn’t guess! I hope this helps you with your quest!

  15. Matthew Says:

    Thank you so much for all your hard work in researching this matter. I too, have wondered who composed/performed this beautiful song. Please let me know if you ever figure it out. All the best-Matt

  16. Karl Says:

    This may sound Ridic but get a specialist to listen to it, take it through a special software and make the rest of the song up according to the previous notes. I know it’s possible to definitely do that. It may seem like the easy way but you’ve done all you can.

  17. Geetar646 Says:

    Your fight to pay homage to this great work is nothing short of heroic. In my view the relentless pursuit of film preservation here is better than anything done by AFI in the past 25 years. In Chelsea around 23 street there was a guy named Jerry Ohlinger. You remind me of him, don’t stop, because what you are doing is the real deep hard work, the artistic masturbation, which makes film preservation great. The quote from Barbieri’s wife namely “you will kill the art” is bullshit. In fact the greatest essays on film were written in this capacity of thick description. And then the student of the Frenchman who wrote these essays said “movie lovers people who see the same film over and over again are sick people”. Because to really love something is to be obsessed by it. I have watched this scene too myself over and over again. How and why does this scene encapsulate the spirit of this film in less than two minutes. Remember that it then cuts to a fall scene autumnal over one of the many bridges over the seine. This film integrates itself as its own living and breathing entity in ones own life.

  18. Roroldam Says:

    I agree with Geetar646 on everything except that the bridge in the following scene is over the Canal Saint Martin, not the Seine: very near the Hôtel du Nord though the scene is a homage not to Carné’s film of that name but to Vigo’s L’Atalante.

    • Geetar646 Says:

      I want to thank you for the correction as well as again to the author of this website. This is a great way to think creatively. Not only about this great film but also about others. I appreciate also that this author is a great defender of American free speech for which our hero stood for in this film, and it is said that if this gift from the French has any chance left in the world it will rest only with the French. I think this correction is well taken because you have mentioned Vigo, and perhaps the homage is to the latalante but would you agree that the spirit itself is more a homage to apropros a Nice? I think this is also a good question because this film itself is revolutionary. I would also like to present this question in character method and only this film in my memory challenges these theories which to his last breath the great American tragic, the lover of the boy consort Giton, continue to explore as a real tragic. In death men return to that which they most loved, he is in a round theater in Pompeii or in Roma and like Alexander he lives and reigns, there never will be another like him. He is the embodiment of the actors preparation. My question is could youcast this film today and if so how? I have suggested this woman, Morganne Matis, as Jeanne because this picture http://star-ac-forever.skyrock.mobi/459965400-Morganne-Matis.html would suggest not only the hairiness of Jeanne’s vagina, but the authenticity which could be derived by inserting into her rectum if she were given only the barest sketch of this scene. Thank you for the opportunity to discuss this film without reserve or fear of censor.

  19. [uzine] - since 1999 Says:


  20. Fernandita97 Says:

    ok, the track have name??????????

  21. Karla Says:


  22. Karla Says:

    It’s the definitive digitally remastered version last tango in paris #4
    the 19th track

  23. mirrormundo Says:

    no it’s not…

  24. Karla Says:

    Dear mirrormundo,
    Give me your email and I’ll send the piece of music to you.
    I’ll take it off my ipod, I have senuti.
    I HAVE THE PIECE, I won’t take no for an answer. I’ll send you it just to end your trek/quest

  25. Matt Vig Says:

    Thanks once again for the effort you have out into this amazing and mysterious track. I had contacted you about this a few years ago and you were nice enough to reply. I had forgotten all about this until I recently heard a remarkable track from the jazz composer Oliver Nelson. The track is called Skull Session and it is anomalous to his usual body of work. At any rate it fits right in to the style and ambiance of the Last Tango mystery song. Lo and behold, his Wikipedia page says he did some work on Bertolucci’s soundtrack. You probably know all this. But, if anything else I thought you would appreciate this song, if you haven’t heard it already. All the best! -Matt

  26. Snaporaz Says:

    So where are we now, 2016-02? Is this correct and complete? https://uzine.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/librarians-to-the-rescue/

  27. Snaporaz Says:

    Perhaps the people of the Quartet label can help you, as they’ve just compiled and documented an 2cd edition of the soundtrack: http://www.quartetrecords.com/last-tango-in-paris.html

  28. Sam Says:

    Last Tango :
    Of course I like it. Listen, you
    know… I don’t know. You have
    changed, and yet you haven’t. I can
    see the shot now.

    He twirls around, setting up the shot between his hands and
    his MINDS EYE…

    TOM (CONT’D)
    The camera is up high. It descends
    slowly and follows you. You come
    forward, and it moves in on you.
    There’s music, too. It gets closer
    and closer to you.

    What is that MUSIC ?
    that tom Played ?

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