Happy Belated Birthday to Paul McCartney, who turned 64 on June 18th. I'll confess, Paul was the Beatle I had a crush on first. And come on, look at that face. That's a face a 13 year old can love. He's so...safe. And cute. ;) John was the one who I had a crush on in High School (though of course he was already dead by that point, lending him an even greater sense of tragedy and mystery). I sometimes thought, personality wise, that Paul was the Heart of the Beatles, and John was the Soul. Not sure where that leaves poor George and Ringo. I like to picture Paul strumming his guitar through the streets of a village in India, with a group of hippies following him, and everyone singing, "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da". He was very hippy-dippy-do, tea-cozy, Beatrix Potter-ish. With John, it's more "Glass Onion", North Beach beatnik type. Poetry and coffee at 2AM. If you had a crush on Paul, you liked safe guys, cute guys, Leif Garret and Sean Cassidy type guys. (And I did, in 7th grade). If you liked John, you liked the loners, the more thoughful guys. Jim Morrison, maybe. If you liked George, you were showing that you didn't fall for the trap of "Paul or John", and that you could think for yourself. If you liked Ringo, either you loved the drums, or you were destined to fall for the geeky guy in "Can't Buy Me Love", though of course, he grew up into Dr. McDreamy on Grey's Anatomy. (Though, honestly, I don't think McDreamy is as hot as ANY of the hotties on Lost. Sorry. I just can't get the picture of him as a pre-pubescent kid paying the hot chick to date him out of my mind.)
Anyway, what started me to thinking about this was a mixture of things...Paul's birthday, of course, and the fact that he's "64" now, with no one to need him or feed him (though I'm sure he won't be single long, unless it's his choice). And a few weeks ago, Ted was listening to a Public Radio International piece on PRX called, "Everything is Right" that talked about why "Revolver" is the best album ever, not just the Beatles, but ever. Because in 4 months, they grew more than most bands do in a decade. More than many do in a lifetime. I heard some of it, and it was really interesting, though I confess that I usually prefer the "White Album". But "Revolver" was my first musical love. My mom says I had a certain dance I did when I wanted to hear side two, well before I could talk. And Maya's class used to clean up to "Yellow Submarine", and they all wanted to know what the heck "She Said", because the teacher would always turn off the CD player right after the first two words of "She Said, She Said", not knowing that she was torturing the 3rd graders, who wasted countless hours when they could have been concentrating on their multiplication tables, wondering, "What DID she say?" So the PRI piece resonated with me. It IS a pretty amazing album, especially when you look at it compared with the album they put out just a few months before, Rubber Soul. Then there was the fact that my mom won tickets from a local radio station to see them at Candlestick Park. They didn't know then that it would be the last tour performance ever. She told me she couldn't really see them, because they were so small, and she couldn't hear them, because of the screaming, but she had a great time, and it wasn't completely due to the hash-laced cookies someone brought along. ;) Then, there's the "To the Best of Our Knowledge" that I recently heard on my beloved iPod, about when they recorded the White Album, all (or almost all) of which was written in India. And of course, I grew up with the Beatles, and then I discovered them for myself in the 8th grade, and my mom would help me learn which songs were sung by Paul, which by John, the occasional George...to find their voices and recognize them. All through High School, I had posters in my room, quotes that I had written, posted up on my walls and ceiling, and albums that I listened to over and over and over again. There's something about them that carries forward...they had broken up when I was 4, and still, I loved them. Maya knows their music. I hope her kids will as well.
There are groups that mean a lot to me over the years...but perhaps none so much as the Beatles. Thanks, Paul. Happy Birthday.