It was more than 25 years ago today, when The Beatles I began to play.
I remember Dad washing our car in Merced, California back in 1969 or ’70 and having his old record player outside and playing the two surviving original 45s we have on Swan Records of She Loves You and I’ll Get You. (One of them, even in those days of The Beatles has a strange message on it: Don’t Drop Out.) Of school, the 45 sleeve? I have no idea, but that day in time, whenever it was, is burned into my mind’s eye in a place from which it will not pass until I am no more.
When I got into seventh and eighth grade, (we were back out in California again) I got hit with my Beatles stage.
I wanted to be the sixth Beatle.
One of my life mentors, who I’ve mentioned here before, Marc Bringman, turned me on to The Red Album. Then I got The Blue Album. Then McCartney came out with Back to the Egg. Then Double Fantasy came out. And then as you know, John Lennon got murdered.
I’ll never forget the call from my friend, Derek Kubacki, who called to tell me. I was stunned. Yes, John Lennon was not a great role model as far as the drugs and weirdness went, but the music he made in his lifetime, even affects mine today.
It was not long afterward that I called my late Grandma Joyce Sheptak and asked her to help me get the rest of the collection. I’d bought several more of the albums, but she helped round out the collection and then later sent me a note, “Okay Kid, Mission Accomplished. Enjoy.”
And did I ever. With the National Electric guitar that Marc had sold me that summer from delivering the Merced Sun-Star, I had made enough money to buy the guitar from him. Marc was like that. He’d had a hard go of life but so long as you weren’t weird or “a jerk like Howard Cosell,” he liked you.
The local radio station, Y-92 FM, in Fresno got into it that summer, too, when they did a trivia contest about Beatle songs. The song of the contest was All My Loving, a song Paul wrote or got the inspiration from while shaving.
I learned how to play the correct version of Yesterday on the acoustic. I can still play it. Marc taught me the main riff for I Feel Fine. I got The Complete Beatles Song Book for my birthday or saved up my money, one.
And of course, in those days, I wanted to have Beatle hair, but alas, with my naturally curly hair, it never was going to be straight. Not to say I didn’t try though.
I made scrap books of Beatles clips. We had a rock band that called themselves, “High Street” living next to us and I’d go over there from time-to-time and see if Mike could teach me a chord or riff or two. And his younger brother gave me a couple of bootleg album covers from the Let It Be Sessions. He also gave me some 8mm movies of them, too.
I was all Beatles. And there’s probably not a song today that I couldn’t recite most or all of the lyrics to.
So Monday when Apple put up their message on Apple.com saying that things were going to change, I really expected it to be the OS update for the iPad and iPhone.
But instead it was the announcement that after almost a decade of existence, The Beatles now are for sale on iTunes. (Previously I remarked that the announcement could have been done in a couple different ways–There is an English release of Beatles For Sale….)
My reaction to seeing that The Beatles were on iTunes was kinda like Paul’s about John’s death. Instead of calling it a drag, I said, which is largely true, Apple, I’ve already digitized most of the collection myself.
But I’ve been exploring the pages on iTunes. They have videos and documentary information I’d like to see and hear. And after a few events of this week, I’ve had to download “And Your Bird Can Sing,” “I’m Only Sleeping,” and “She Said She Said” off of Revolver. There are a few more I want to get but I’m trying to be conservative.
So if you’re like me and were thinking that this really wasn’t that big of a deal, it really is in so many ways. Apple working with Apple Records? Who would have guessed? Apparently someone decided for real that We Can Work It Out.
And then there’s the affect it’s having stirring memories of the past, of youth dreams left unfulfilled, of the power that these songs have had on my life.
I still think you should have embedded the last piano note from A Day In The Life on the Apple.com announcement page. Now that would have been cool.