This is Steve’s painting. He did it several years ago when he had an amazing commission from Sprint to paint 30 murals of musicians for one of their buildings in Nashville. It’s one of my favorites from the group.
My relationship with the Fab Four started when I was six. I don’t remember if we watched them on Ed Sullivan, or if I have seen the tape so many times I imagine I did. In fact, I don’t think we even had a TV at the time. I don’t know how they infiltrated our life so much that I would have asked for a Beatles birthday party when I was six. Themed parties weren’t “done” like they are now, and my family wasn’t exactly in the epicenter of pop culture.
But there I was, with my blue taffeta dress, holding a Beatles birthday cake, surrounded by Mary Pat, Colleen, Renee, and all of the Lauries. We played Pin The Head On The Beatle (we must have colored our own heads), and danced to my new album, Hard Days Night. Later, my mom took me to the movie. Maybe we took a friend. Maybe it was at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. I don’t remember the exact details, but I do remember that like every other girl in America, I decided to love Paul the most.
Later, their music was the music my mom and I shared. It was what we could agree on, especially while I was being “she who found everything disagreeable” (that would be my teen years).
George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass was the first “serious” album I had. I knew that was something special, something beyond the fun, sing along, dance music. Do you remember The Concert for Bangledesh? I was fourteen, and as weird as it sounds, that album expanded my world view. I still think John Lennon’s Imagine is one of the most significant songs of my life. Do you remember when he was shot? Steve and I were newlyweds in Chico.
I always kind of dug Yoko. She was wackadoodle, but I saw that she was smart and cool. I’ve appreciated how she has continued to curate John’s legacy. I loved watching her on the Grammys a few weeks ago. Uniquely Yoko.
When I met Steve, he not only loved the Beatles, he had every album and knew the words to even the later songs. I found this impressive (he also had a nice collection of Grateful Dead, John Coltrane, and Taj Mahal) and somehow it proved that he was deep and smart and a little wild. He also had long hair, a 1969 VW bug and was an art major.
But as much as we all loved the Beatles, nothing could match our daughter Alex’s devotion. I don’t recall when she hooked into them as “hers.” She has purchased all of their music, in iPod and vinyl form. She has read every book, watched every movie. She knows when, where, how and why every song was written. We visited Strawberry Fields in Central Park, NYC, when she was ten. Alex had an amazing talent for weaving the Beatles into many (as in almost every) school projects. Steve printed and framed his painting for her 16th birthday, with a personal inscription from the boys to her. She’s 20, and she’s a fan.
We saw Paul McCartney and Wings in Berkley years ago. Could it have been 24 years ago? I think so. He’s still my favorite.
I was six. Fifty years ago. That math doesn’t add up, none of us (myself, Steve, Paul and Ringo, can possible be that old). But it doesn’t matter, because we can still remember the words to all the songs.
P.S. Mom confirmed that we did indeed take a friend, or perhaps two, to see A Hard Day’s Night, but it was at a local theater. We saw Mary Poppins at Grauman’s (when I was 9, which is another story). She also remembered that I collected Beatles cards from the Helms Bakery truck, which I barely recall. The cards are long gone, but last night I told Alex that in my imagination I still have them and I would give them to her. She was thrilled with her imaginary gift.