Recently I got perhaps the nicest comment that I've ever gotten on my site. It was from a comparatively new member of this little corner of the Inter Tubes, brought to us from Very Yosie (I'm pronouncing it with a soft J today). It was Cranky, Caregiver and Storage Warrior, who read my most recent "The Beatles are Gods" post and said the following:
Cranky: Gary - great Beatles vignettes. I'm 55 and the Beatles were a very important part of my growing up which I think explains why I still love them. However, you look much younger than me in your photo. How is it you came to be such an emphatic fan?
Well Cranky, firstly thanks for reading and for your comment - welcome aboard and please feel free to comment at any time. Secondly, you're correct in that I'm younger than you (and also younger than Yosie. She's older than me, have I mentioned?). I turned 43 this past September. When I made my appearance, Hey Jude was the #1 song on the charts but that's not what did it. It was actually two things.
The first thing was, of all things, the "Paul is dead" rumor that gripped soft minds in the early '70's. One night, I couldn't have been more than 8 or 9, our friends from across the street, the Blackstones, were over our house and we scared ourselves silly with a bunch of Paul Is Dead palaver. I remember it freaking us out to the extent that the Blackstones ran, not jogged, back home because it was dark and they were completely spooked.
Anyway, the next time I was at the music store I wanted to buy a Beatles album that had lots of P is D clues. Not having any idea what to buy I took a shot and bought Abbey Road. I remember being disappointed that the album wasn't as clue-laden as I'd have liked. But eventually I got around to playing the album and I remember never having heard anything like it before. Song after song just blew me away. Being young and susceptible to a catchy hook I gravitated a bit more towards the Paul tunes than the John ones but eventually, as I wore the grooves down on the album (kids, look it up), I grew to love the album as a whole. I remember specifically how the Beatles made clever use of silence on each side of the album - how side one ended so abruptly, how side two gave us Her Majesty after almost 30 seconds of silence after the previous song. I was impressed.
The second thing was that my brother Ross, the idiot fucktard scumbag genius who beats me in Scrabble more often than I'm comfortable discussing, had a cassette of Sgt. Pepper and wouldn't let me listen to it. So naturally I listened to it all the time, and heard an entirely different side of the Beatles - psychedelic, trippy, fun, four young men at the very height of their creative powers doing things that no-one had done before.
And after that - well, I just listened to nothing else. My brother can attest, if he wishes, to the extent of my personal case of Beatlemania. Posters on the wall, book covers, pretty much you name it, it was Beatles-themed. I became their biggest fan, period. When I heard of John Lennon's death I cried like I lost a member of my family, which in a way I guess I did
When I decide I like something, I really, REALLY like it. And when I love something, that something occupies a place in my heart forever and ever. And I loved the Beatles. I committed every song to memory. I read book after book after book. I learned everything there was to know about them. And though in the years since I've opened up my musical horizons somewhat, I still haven't found a better band.
Cranky, I hope this answers your question. And since fish gotta swim, I'll close with another little Beatles vignette: In 1995, the Beatles released three, two-disc CD's of alternate takes and unreleased tunes, Anthology I, II, and III. All three went to #1; before they were made available to iTunes, they had collectively sold 15,000,000 copies - of double albums. A band having three double albums in a row going to number one had only happened once before, to Donna Summer in the '70s.
Thus 25 years after they played music together for the final time, the Beatles became the highest-selling musical group of 1995. Paul was quoted as saying "I always wondered what band would sell better than the Beatles. Turns out it was the Beatles."
Yosie: you can wake up now.