Thursday, February 09, 2012

Sunday, February 9th, 1964

It was in Portland, Oregon. A modest two bedroom apartment in the Mt. Tabor neighborhood. A single mom and two boys, one six (me) and one nine (my big brother, Mike).

Mom propped us up in front of the TV and said, 'This is important'. I'd heard about The Beatles. Probably even a song or two on the radio. But I was fuzzy on who these guys were. Mom said that this was 'Like the first time Elvis was on television.' Even I knew Elvis. He was on all the magazine covers and was part of the culture, even for a six year old. We had a few of his albums. For some reason, G.I. Blues was the one that sticks out in my mind.

Then on that grainy black-and-white TV, they came. Opening the show with 'All My Loving'. Little did I know it would lead to a life long love affair with those four shaggy haired boys. To me, they weren't really boys. They were men. But not like the men I knew in real life. Those men were stern and mean and had short hair and no time for the kind of fun and silliness these 'Beatles' seemed to be having.

Over the next 48 years, I followed their triumphs and tragedies while I had my own ups and downs. In the 60's, thanks to a generous Mom and having an older brother, we had all their records and loads of fan magazines and saw their movies and TV appearances. When I was on my own, I kept up the obsession, buying all of the solo albums and books. No matter how down-and-out or broke I was, I could always scrape up enough dough to buy that new George Harrison album or latest 'insider' book.

Now my musical tastes are pretty eclectic. Punk, Classical, R&B, Country, Jazz...pretty much anything. I was playing a movie soundtrack the other day and it had that cornball number, 'Believe it or Not (Theme from Greatest American Hero') on it and I said to a friend, 'I love this song' and they were surprised that something so square would appeal to me. Me, the guy who loves the Dead Kennedys.

And I have The Beatles to thank. Because if they taught me anything, it was to 'do your own thing', no matter what anybody says or thinks. And they taught that to me not just with their music but with how they lived what they said.

I like what I like. Whether it's 'The Waltons' or Dawn of the Dead. Glen Campbell or The Sex Pistols. Thanks, Beatles. It's hard to imagine a world without you..


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