While producing Harry Nilsson’s album Pussy Cats in May 1974, Lennon led the studio musicians through a demo of the song, which was always intended for Starr. They recorded several takes at Los Angeles’ Record Plant West, one of which was included on John Lennon Anthology.
The recording features two vocals by Lennon, and drums and tambourine recorded separately by Starr. The Anthology mix also features a brief solo version by Lennon and some studio talk.
Soon afterwards Lennon lifted himself out of the mire of the Lost Weekend, and returned to New York from Los Angeles to record Walls And Bridges. Upon its completion he flew back once more to California, where on 6 August 1974 he played piano on Starr’s recordings of ‘Goodnight Vienna and’ ‘Only You’ at Sunset Sound Recorders in Los Angeles.
Listed as ‘(It’s All Down To) Goodnight Vienna’ on the album, Starr’s version featured a count-in and piano by Lennon, and clavinet by Billy Preston. It was also issued as a single in the United States, reaching number 29 on the Billboard Hot 100.