Skip to main content

Fragmentary Beatles-related memories (#1152)

Topics/tags: Autobiographical, music, disjoint

This coming Sunday, the amazing and incomparable Danika and the Jeb are playing their first-ever Beatles cover show. It’s not that they haven’t covered the Beatles before. In fact, their cover of While My Guitar Gently Weeps was a hit on Sirius XM radio (or something like that).

I love Danika and the Jeb’s originals. But I also like their covers. And Jeb’s solos [1] on While My Guitar Gently Weeps are always amazing and always different [2,3]. I’m still waiting for them to just do that song for one of the whole 45-minute StageIt shows [4].

In any case, in preparation for the show, Danika wrote to their Patreon community asking about Beatles-related memories. My muse decided that I should respond in this form. Most of my memories are comparatively small and relatively fragmentary. Let’s go.

My earliest memory of the Beatles is probably when mom came home from school one day with a stack of Beatles records which one of her students gave her to give me [5]. I’m not sure I recall why. But I suddenly had copies of Something Else, Yesterday and Today [6], and a bunch of other albums, most on the wonderful old Capitol rainbow label. I must have been a bit five. I listened to them a lot on one of our old KLH record players. I’m pretty sure I still have them buried in the vinyl room in the basement.

I’m not sure why, but I remember when I bought Let It Be [7]. For some reason, I most recall listening to it at my friend Erik Klauber’s house. As I said, these are fragments.

I don’t remember when the Beatles broke up. Or maybe I heard about it when I was at Erik’s house. The memories are jumbled. Although I don’t remember the break-up, I do remember talking to friends about what a replacement Beatles would look like.

I remember the whole Paul is Dead craze. And yes, I did play Revolution Number 9 backwards on my stereo and heard Turn me on dead man. I may even have a tape recording of it somewhere. It’s amazing how much easier that is now. I guess it would have been easier then if I’d had a reel-to-reel to play with; I’m pretty sure that’s what the Beatles did.

I remember the day John died. We were sitting in the lounge in the Village [8]. Friends cried. And then the Beatles were on the radio, nonstop. I think another five years passed before I could listen to the Beatles again [9].

I remember when my oldest friend [10], [Andy], gave me a copy of Meaty, Beaty, Big, and Bouncy. No, it’s not a Beatles album; it’s the Who. But I remember it because of my response: It’s a greatest hits album, and it’s still not as good as the average Beatles alum. I’m not sure I still feel the same way today. I wonder if Andy still plays a Rickenbacker [11].

I’m not sure why, but I remember getting copies of the Red Album and the Blue Album at that record store in Newton Center. How old was I? I’m not sure; I think it was in junior high.

I remember when Eldest Son was born, and for some reason, I kept singing I Saw [Him] Standing There to him. My heart definitely went Boom meeting him here. I’m glad that he coped with my out-of-tune voice and my choice of music. I’m pretty sure the other songs I sang to him regularly were [Eldest] is a Punk Rocker and probably I Wanna Be Sedated. There may have been a Clash song in there, too. But I sang them to him in Michelle’s room in the hospital, in the second-floor apartment in Maine, and maybe even in Hanover.

Strangely enough, even though I saw Paul McCartney live in Des Moines, I have no memories of that show. Memories from childhood, though fragmentary, seem more powerful.

In any case, those are my primary Beatles-related memories. I’m sure others will spring to the surface soon after I post this musing.

[1] Should that be The Jeb’s solos?

[2] There’s a snowflake joke there, somewhere.

[3] I have not heard all of them; I can’t guarantee that they are all different. But I’ve certainly seen and heard a lot of different solos.

[4] Hint, hint.

[5] I think mom regularly asked her students for music advice. I recall one birthday she took their advice to get me the Who’s Tommy and Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show’s Sloppy Seconds. I’ve always wondered whether they were trying to pull her leg. A rock opera that begins with a murder and an album about sex and drugs. Great gifts for the seven-or-so-year-old kid I was. Strangely enough, Michelle also got Sloppy Seconds at a relatively young age. And we played it for our kids, to continue the tradition.

[6] No, not the butcher cover.

[7] Yes, I’m old enough to remember it from when it came out.

[8] No, not the location from The Prisoner; the hippy-dippy learning community for some subset of advanced students at Newton North.

[9] It wasn’t sadness about John; it was overexposure. I wouldn’t have guessed such a thing was possible.

[10] Perhaps Longest Serving. We don’t see each other much, but I’ve known Andy since, um, before I was five. Strangely enough, I recently had a dream about seeing him in his parents’ house. Are we still friends? I still think of him as one; I hope he thinks the same of me. But as I check out his website, I realize that I haven’t been paying attention to what he’s been doing for far too long.

[11] Andy was the lead guitarist of the Wishniaks [12] and the Trolleyvox, among other things.

[12] Jangle pop!

Version 1.0 of 2021-05-25.