Earlier this week, Sir Paul McCartney turned 70 years old. Yep, you thought your work week got off to a terrible start-he celebrated his 70th birthday Monday, and considering the alternative was probably pretty happy about it. In the interest of full disclosure I should note I was sixty in April and he and I decided years ago, independently of one another, to never exchange cards so this is as close as I'm allowed to get, per the restraining order.
As someone who grew up and then old with The Beatles it breaks my heart two of them, John Lennon and George Harrison, never had the chance to do that themselves for/with their loved ones. And yet Justin Bieber is alive and well; giving me some terrific openers when I see Peter the Greeter at the Pearly Gates. For the longest time, Sir Paul looked like a man half his age but time and tide catch up with us all and wherever he's been storing that oil portrait, he might want to reconsider that location again.
I assume as a child I listened to music-whatever my father played in the car on the radio was what I would hear, though I have no recollection of it. Nor can I recall how it was we might have happened to have the car radio on seventy-seven W-A-B-C, a Top 40 AM radio station (a bollocks understatement-THE radio station in NYC that broadcast up and down the Eastern Seaboard when all there was was AM radio) that even now I have difficulty believing Dad would have ever willingly tuned to. And yet, there it was...
I had no idea what The Beatles were or who was signing or what the lyrics were though I think it was She Loves You and then later I caught up on the hand holding and loving me do stuff. The moment my brain processed what my ears had found, I knew I was home. The Beatles and the rock and roll music they created and influenced saved my life and the lives of I have no idea how many other people. As over the top as it sounds, I cannot imagine what our culture would be like, without the Fab Four.
I'm grateful I never had to try. There's a statistic someplace, actually right here, about how Yesterday has more cover versions than any other song in music to include Happy Birthday which, in light of the aforementioned Natal Anniversary observances Monday past, is both fitting and ironic. I am proud of myself for choosing to NOT say anything about Yoko Ono; well, except for that and now that. Oh dear.
Sir Paul McCartney has been part of the soundtrack, perhaps, of three billion lives. At least. Don't be so quick to dismiss that number! I feel pretty good about it having thought seriously about researching the total, and then talking myself out of it (I can be quite persuasive). I'll bet if anything I've understated his impact. Tell you what. Let's agree to disagree, if necessary and get together on Macca's 80th and compare notes, if we can still hit 'em. I'll bet he can, and will.