Last night I sat in my house with my old pal Brian and discussed at great lengths the intricacies of Joni Mitchell?s music. Yes, this is what musos get up to when the sun has gone down and the nights are closing in.
This morning I got out of bed, turned on my computer and learnt that George Harrison had died. My heart took a dip and tears filled my eyes but it was hardly a shock, the waves have been filled with rumours of his illness for months.
As I sadly made my breakfast I realised that last night?s discussion and this morning?s news are umbilically linked together for me. Quite simply without the Beatles I might never have become a musician, have abandoned traditional job opportunities and made my way to America. For those of you who weren?t there in those ground zero months of ?64 when the Beatles first appeared they swept across the public consciousness like a fast moving plague of teenage joy and bravado. The western world had seen nothing like it and their sudden power to captivate all who encountered them was so awesome that it nearly overwhelmed the remarkable freshness and agility of their music.
For the first time since it exploded their music is frankly starting to sound a little dated now. So many subsequent fads have come and gone and the arrival of computer assisted recording and a thousand other sonic breakthroughs have finally placed their music into history rather than something that is entirely now. This has always been inevitable but its a tribute to their brilliance that it has taken so very long to happen. But if you look at the footage of them playing onstage their energy, enthusiasm, rebelliousness, joy and sex remains undimmed and is just as captivating, if not more so, than this week?s lively Strokes video.
John was my favourite Beatle, he was the one whose bubble gum card I cherished as an 11 year old. I still have that card tucked into the corner of an original Dezo Hoffman Beatles print in my office. For me George was just the smiling one who played his Gretsch somewhere up by his chin and played those extraordinary guitar solos – check out Can?t Buy Me Love – Phew!
But this morning, George, along with dignitaries, heads of state and music fans the world over, I salute you. You were an integral part of The Fabs and uttered one of the most memorable post Beatle-era lines: “As long as John Lennon remains dead there will be no Beatles re-union.”
Sadly George?s death has now made that prediction a certainty. Isn’t it a shame?