Maybe I don’t wanna hold your hand as much as I thought I did

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.


17 responses to “Maybe I don’t wanna hold your hand as much as I thought I did

  1. I’ve never been a fan of the Beatles – which in some people’s books makes me the ultimate philistine. But then most of those people don’t like Bach or Sibelius, so whatever floats your boat….

    As for S&G, love them, always have, to the point of having a boxed set of all their music. The first album was a little to “God-y” for me, but it got way better after that.

  2. Own up, age is catching up with you. Now what gets me out of bed still is good old soul and Motown.

    I agree the Beatles are a bit samey. Pretty samey in a brilliant way.

  3. In their time, the Beatles were cutting edge, -bleeding- edge, so I can forgive them seeming more marshmallow now in this time of Lady Gaga and that rude guy that makes so-called “music”… what’s his name?

  4. I never heard that George Harrison was a horn dog. Are you sure? He was my favorite Beatle, I am crushed. And I am married to a rock musician who never really understood why women were throwing their panties at him, just one of the many reasons I love him.

  5. He was Wendy’s favorite Beatle, too, Susan. But, according to Scorcese’s new film Living in the Material World, he was a notoriously unfaithful husband to both his wives. His widow attests to the factuality of the assertion. I suspect the tantric thing, I do.

  6. We have been really enjoying the PBS and Knowledge music specials, and it has been mainly the folk that has got us too. It so sums up the time and the emotion – can quite choke you up. So glad to have lived through that time, perhaps it was that there weren’t so many people back then, but it really did feel as thought you could actually make a difference. Tough to do that these days.

    • It’s true. When we were young and/or foolish, or idealistic or something, we did think we could make a difference. But, when I look at the mess the world’s in, I wonder if we had any impact whatsoever.

  7. It’s odd (well, maybe not really, ’cause you’re my Big Brother!) but I have been feeling the same way about the Beatles music for a while now. I have lots of their tunes on my iPod, but more often than not, when one of them starts playing, I skip to the next one. I’m beginning to wonder why I even HAVE those songs on my iPod now! I agree: their music now seems so bland. Maybe it’s because it’s become so ubiquitous, heard in every elevator, every grocery store. Or maybe, as you say, my musical tastes have changed.
    And just for the record, I NEVER skip any of my Simon & Garfunkel songs!

  8. Now, you just go to a place that sells CDs and try to find a Simon & Garfunkel offering. Good luck, pretty sister. Just cannot be found. But, it is interesting how our tastes change.

  9. The Beatles never did it for me…in any of their phases. Synthetic emotion.
    However, the Rolling stones and S and G…yes!
    Just the way Queen did later.

  10. Wow. Thanks, Ian, you set my brain on fire with this post. My comment was so big I made it a post linking back to here. Thanks! I actually discovered the secret of the midlife crisis.

  11. Now that you know it, please let me know.

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