Sunday, February 9, 2014

My Long and Winding Life as a Beatles Fan

I’ve been a Beatles fan since February 1964, when they first came to the United States. I was in the second grade, sick with the measles, and spent about a week in bed with my transistor radio, listening to this band who sounded like no one else, and who the adults hated because they had long hair.
My first record was the 45 of Do You Want To Know A Secret?.  A “record”, by the way, was a black, flat, round plastic thing that you put on a machine, called a turntable, that made the record spin. You put an arm with a needle on the record, and somehow, music came out. (I still don’t understand how that works.) My iPod is now packed with Beatles music.
I remember watching the Beatles in A Hard Days Night and Help, and wanting to be them. Then, watching Let It Be, and wondering what was going on. I remember sitting in church, getting yelled at by a priest because John Lennon had said something about the Beatles being more popular than Jesus. I didn’t understand what the fuss was about.
I always wanted to some day go to the Abbey Road crosswalk, known in the UK as the “zebra crossing”, and get my picture taken walking in the same spot as the iconic album cover.
My forty four (now fifty) years of Beatles fandom hit a high point in August 2008, when I was in London on business. At the end of the week, I met my friend Paul, who lives in England, for dinner in London. He asked me “Did you get to Abbey Road?”. I said no, I didn’t have time. He said, “Let’s go now”. So we started up the street and followed the signs to St John’s Wood. By pure dumb luck, we stumbled on Abbey Road and the zebra crossing. We then attempted to take pictures of each other crossing the road. The photos are less-than-great because a.) it was 10:00 at night and b.) we had to wait for breaks in the traffic and duck the oncoming cars.
After taking the pictures, we walked over to the Abbey Road Studio, where much of the Beatles music was recorded. We stood outside the gates and gawked at the building for a few moments, trying to fathom that this was The Place, and we had found it.
Pilgrimage Accomplished. 
One of these days I will get back to London and take some photos in the daylight.