Fifty years ago today, a rock and roll band from Liverpool, England called the Beatles arrived in New York City. Their arrival ushered in a new wave of hope for a country that so recently before that was shattered by the assassination of their charismatic young president, John F. Kennedy.
I wasn’t around when the Beatles arrived in America. In fact, I wasn’t born until almost twenty years after the band had broken up. But they have had a profound effect on my life, both musically and personally.
So today, I figured I’d write a little bit about what the Beatles have meant to me: quotes I’ve connected with, lyrics I love, memories I possess. These are (a small few of) the ways a 1960’s band from England influenced a 1990’s girl from New Jersey.
· “This is my story both humble and true / Take it to pieces and mend it with glue” – John Lennon. I’ve always loved this line from John’s poetry. It makes me feel inspired the second I read it.
· I remember sitting on my dad’s lap in the rocking chair in my bedroom singing “I Saw Her Standing There” as a toddler. The start of my life as a singer!
· “You see? You just write what you feel even if you don’t know where it’ll take you” – John Lennon. One of the best lessons for a writer of any medium to learn!
· My sister and two friends of ours used to play “Beatles” when we were in grade school. I was John (he’s always been my favorite), our friends were Paul and George, and Meg was Ringo. And we’d sit in my room and sing and play air guitar and air drums to cassette’s on my boom box and pretend we were the Beatles. Haha!
· “But if I see a great artist, I love ‘em. I just love ‘em. I go fanatical about them for a short period, and then I get over it. And if they wear green socks, I’m liable to wear green socks for a period, too” – John Lennon. One of my recent musical obsessions is Kacey Musgraves, and I bought a dress the other day that looks very much like something she’d wear. Green socks!
· “And in her eyes you see nothing / No sign of love behind the tears / Cried for no one / A love that should have lasted years” – “For No One,” my favorite Paul McCartney song. It’s so simple, yet you can see the whole thing as it happens, like a play in your mind.
· I took a Beatles class in college. And even though I knew soooo much about them before, I learned an incredible amount about the songs themselves and the way they were put together musically. One of the best classes, and teachers, I had in college. Thanks, Mr. Byrd!
· “I get by with a little help from my friends, with a little help from my FRIEEEEEEEEENDS!” – “With a Little Help From My Friends.” My Beatle class professor said that if felt as if Ringo’s entire career had led up to giving everything he had to this line, and it really does! Of all the songs Ringo sings on Beatles records, I can’t picture any of the other members singing this one. This is his song, for sure.
· When the Beatles Cirque Du Soleil show, Love, came out when I was in high school, I never imagined I’d get to see it. Little did I know, years later the show would still be going on and I would get tickets from my boyfriend for Christmas! The show was incredible. I’d see it again in a heartbeat. AND the sound was awesome. It really felt like the closest I’ll be able to come to experiencing the Beatles live.
· “I read the news today, oh boy” – “A Day in the Life.” Sometimes, I can’t even listen to this song. I have to be in the right mood for the weight of the story and the intensity of the music. But it’s my favorite Beatles song. And that’s saying a lot!
I can’t wait to watch all the TV specials that will be running this week on the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles coming to America, but I couldn’t resist adding some memories of my own to the mix!
Another of my favorite Beatle memories involves recording my own version of one of my favorites of theirs, “Dear Prudence.” It was both exhilarating and intimidating, but I’m very proud of the final product. Listen below!