Friday, July 9, 2010

The One and Only Billy Shears

Richie was seventy on Wednesday. That is to say, Richard Starkey, Ringo Starr, was seventy earlier this week. On the face of it, that's completely nuts, because it would mean that I Want to Hold Your Hand, the song that was their first #1 in the USA, would be forty-six years old....WTFO? Nearly everyone I work with wasn't even alive yet when that happened. How is this possible?

I'm trying and failing to imagine popular music without The Beatles--and the drummer in the band who created a significant piece of the soundtrack to my growing up years, is now eligible for the Early Bird Breakfast Special at Mike's in Long Branch? The guy who was talking 'bout Boys (hey hey, bop shuop, m'bop, bop shuop) and who had a matchbox holding his clothes is S-E-V-E-N-T-Y! Is nothing sacred?

I watched A Hard Day's Night not that long ago-and, yeah, my age is showing, it was brilliant. It's all on line now, right here, and you're welcome. It is a quaint postcard from another time when we all were a lot less complicated in a world that disappeared and was replaced by one with sharpened elbows and a kick drum mixed with static. And while I'm aware of what we've lost through the years, I'm less sure of what we've gained.

Ringo saw two of his former band mates die-one murdered by a crazed fan and the other by cancer from a lifetime of cigarettes. He snagged a Bond Girl and has watched as Cirque du Soleil has introduced another generation to the Magical Mystery Tour that was The Beatles.

Those who listened then are now older than our old men who growled at us to 'turn that crap down' when the Beatles/Stones/Dave Clark Five/Byrds/and ten thousand other long haired bands came blasting out of the three inch speaker in that transistor radio we each had. We thought those days would last forever. Ringo celebrated his 70th birthday on stage at Radio City Music Hall in the Capital of the World, New York City, and on behalf of all of us no longer twelve year olds from back then, here's to many more.
-bill kenny

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