Just when you think you have everything set straight in your universe, something comes along to screw up your preconceptions. Maddening that is.
Recently I bought the 27 cut CD of the Beatles’ songbook. It was a good price, and I thought it would be a good thing to have. The selections cover their career as an ensemble from their lovable moptops beginnings to that ‘Long and Winding Road’ somewhat acrimonious endgame.
I thought it would be a nice thing to have. I mean, I have tons of Beatles vinyl from days of yore, but I felt a handy CD compendium would be good, for the car, for example.
I always liked the Beatles very much though, in truth I was more of a Stones man, both as shit-kicking brilliant musicians (‘Keef’ rules!) who were never afraid to bend the rules of convention. But, the Beatles were, you know, nice. At least McCartney was nice. I was a Lennon afficionado and he was often less than nice, and that’s what made him an original and my fave-rave. George (the quiet one), as is recently revealed in a new biopic, was far from being nice and was such a philandering cocksman that he makes Mick look like a choirboy. Who woulda thunk?
Anyway, that previous passage takes me far from the point I wished to make. As I said, I bought the Beatles songbook and have enjoyed playing it. Most of the cuts are well-considered, though there are others I would have deemed more pivotal. But, it’s a good enough listen.
Yet, not as good as I thought it would be. Indeed, I daresay that eventually I found it kind of bland. You know, one of those moments in time that are perhaps better left lost in the past. Or maybe it was just the mood I was in.
On the other hand, and compounding my confusion about my past musical tastes, a few weeks ago I watched a PBS special on Simon and Garfunkel. It was one of those tiresome but necessary PBS fundraisers that are interrupted every 20 minutes for a bit of shilling, but the footage was still immensely watchable and listenable. Indeed, far moreso than I would have suspected.
Years ago, when my first wife and I split we had to go through the kind of emotionally-agonizing exercise known as ‘dividing our stuff.’ Not an agreeable task for the faint-of-heart, which we both were at the time. Anyway, our rather extensive record collection was part of the mix. I decided that since she liked more ‘folky’ stuff than I did, she should take the stuff in that genre, whereas I’d take the R&R and blues stuff. It worked at the time so the S&G went in her direction.
But, when I watched the special I realized that I actually really missed those guys and liked them far better than I’d realized at the time. Art’s wonderful voice on Bridge Over Troubled Water brought it home to me and I actually felt a bit misty with it. They may have been a bit trite in their poetics, but the nostalgia evocation was stronger than I would have suspected.
Just goes to show you.
Now I want to get my hands on some S&G to make up for it.