Friday, June 16, 2006

The Secret Life of a Beatlemaniac!

It's true. I have a secret problem. Ever since I was a kid I've exhibited Beatlemanical tendencies.

It all started with the little record player my sister and I had when we were kids. It was one of those Mickey Mouse models with the arm and hand of Mickey as the tonearm. We didn't really have our own records, at least any that weren't Disney Read-Alongs or similar. For music we ended up with a little collection that was made up of hand-me-downs from our parents. These included various K-Tel compilations, some Everly Brothers, lots of early rock, a ton of 45's and most importantly a copy of Capitol's "Meet the Beatles". We listened to that album constantly. My Dad is a big Beatles fan (there may be something genetic there) so we had definitley been exposed to plenty of music by The Beatles. Dad had a pretty good assortment of Beatles LP's and 8-tracks. But this album was ours. To listen to as much as we wanted.

I was 9 years old when John Lennon was killed. The day after it happened I was home sick from school. I remember sitting by the radio. Listening to nothing but Lennon and Beatles songs and interviews all day and recording it all on to a bunch of cassettes that have long since disappeared. This is probably when I first realized how much of an impact The Beatles had on the world in general.

I got my second Beatles album from a contest on the radio. The question was, "Where did The Beatles perform their last concert?" My Dad was at work listening and called in with the correct answer, Candlestick Park, San Francisco. Since he was at work he didn't really want to have it broadcast that he was listening to the radio and calling in for contests, he provided them with my name. The prize consisted of the albums "1962-1966" and "1967-1970" on LPs. Since my Dad already had "1962-1966" I got the new one.

Things really started to heat up with my Beatles obsession when I was in Junior High School and started to learn to play the guitar. I would practice at home by learning Beatles songs out of a very simple guitar music book that my Dad had. As my guitar knowledge increased so did my ability to read music. I soon graduated from the very simply notated sheet music to REAL sheet music. My Dad has a 2 volume set called "The Compleat Beatles". It is a compilation of sheet music for all of The Beatles songs. I played through these songs over and over and over. This is the time when I really started listening to the albums. Before it was mainly the trendy/popular songs that I was interested. Now I was listening to the 'non-hits' and was amazed to find that I liked it all. For me it was all new. I listened constantly.

I started reading books about the band. I was really interested in John Lennon. I put up posters. I bought movies. My whole life through high school was The Beatles. When I bought my first CD player I also bought my first CD. Rubber Soul. Within a couple of months I'd bought the entire CD library. Then I started buying John Lennon CD's. I bought picture albums and singles. Rare albums like Two Virgins. I was reading everything I could get my hands on. I started reading the books that they had read during the Sgt. Pepper era. This is the time when I would say my Beatlemania was at its peak.

In the years that followed, I was able to control my mania. I still have a poster of John hanging in my bedroom and I still play a ton of Beatles on the guitar, I still have all the books, CD's and other memorabilia but to the casual observer I appear to be normal.

That is until the topic of The Beatles comes up and I unleash a tirade of obscure trivia and general knowledge that no one in their right mind should know. I ramble on and on until I notice that their eyes have widened, their jaw is hanging open and they have a surprised/shocked look on their face. That's when I stop mid-sentence and say, "Oh No! I've said too much!" and I back away slowly.

Happy 64th Birthday Paul.

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