The Beatles were the music of our lives . . . Hundreds of memory episodes from my life, late elementary school through high school, come complete with Beatles music. And so do many memories of my life with my kids, who learned the same songs as children, and gave me Beatles CDs as gifts.
First memory: A girl from our class ~ we must have been in 5th or 6th grade ~ came running out to the playground during recess to tell us that the Beatles had made a song about prostitution. Little Greek chorus that we were, we all cried breathlessly, “What is prostitution?” I don’t recall the answer, but I’m sure that our classmate didn’t know the answer any more than the rest of us did. (The song was “Can’t Buy Me Love.”)
In sixth grade, four of us lip-synched our way through “Eight Days a Week” for a PTA variety show. I was, of course, John ~ the intellectual one. Not that I knew that word, either. But he wrote poetry and made funny drawings, and that was good enough for me.
In seventh grade, I went off to a convent boarding school. On our very first night, we had some sort of event which conflicted with a Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Paul McCartney would be singing “Yesterday.” I was heartbroken. Later I learned that some of the eighth grade girls had skipped the event — a meeting? chapel? — and slipped down to the lounge to watch. Clearly I had some work to do in terms of learning how to manage boarding school life. (I learned quickly.) On FB, I dedicated last night’s rendition of “Yesterday” to one of those eighth grade girls.
Yes, last night my daughter and I went to Paul MacCartney’s second concert here in Cleveland. It took me 50 years, but I got to hear Paul in person.
My daughter asked which was my favorite Beatles album. That would have to be Rubber Soul, associated with evenings in the dorm in Catholic School.
In 11th grade ((different boarding school), a group of us found ourselves “campused” (that’s like being grounded) during our long fall week-end, due to some middle-of-the-night exploits on the boys’ campus the preceding semester. We took a turntable and the White Album down to the pool and swam all afternoon to the sound of the Beatles.
That same year, Abbey Road was released. That one’s associations include long late nights in one of the seniors’ room, talking over and around those very strange songs.
In the spring of 1970, both Let It Be, the Beatles’ final album, and McCartney, Paul’s first solo album, were released. I worked on Cape Cod that summer, and came down with mono on my birthday at the end of July. Those songs are all burned into my mind as a result of long August afternoons spent doing nothing beyond listening, draping myself over living room furniture and pondering my tragically dashed end-of-season plans.
That concert last night? Fantastic. Leaving aside the obvious ~ the 74-year-old Paul McCartney delivering nearly three hours of nonstop rock ‘n roll, from the hard-driving “Hard Day’s Night” to love songs like “Here, There, and Everywhere,” with a hefty dose of Wings music, new music, and Beatles anecdotes ~ it was a night filled with energy, memories, and 18,000 people singing along to “Hey, Jude.”
I wish that I could have seen all the Beatles in concert. But the 50-year wait for Paul was worth it!