Half of my formative English vocabulary came from Beatles and Wings songs. I used to spend days at a local bookshop reading lyrics from a Beatles song book. The shop owner was kind enough to let a kid sit in a corner and read his books for free. My love for Paul John George Ringo spread to the boys. They’re now part of the tiny minority of their generation who still listen to the Beatles.
Naturally we were all chuffed to watch Paul live in Melbourne. 3 hours non-stop, no fill-ins, no support – just him and his band, his voice trembling and feeble at times, carried and lifted by dominant bass and percussion. But the charm and wit still shone through. Not shabby for an octogenarian plus.
It was November 1984… Mrs Indira Gandhi had just been assassinated by her own bodyguards. I heard gunshots through the night towards the direction of the airport. A red sand storm swept through the streets of New Delhi surrounding our residence. I was supposed to attend school, but I found school underwhelming. So I skipped as many classes as I could, and idled my days away with Paul-John-George-Ringo’s music. The first time I heard “Live and Let Die” and “Hey Jude”, they hit me in the face. Wham, I was stunned like a deer blinded… I have always found school (including universities) boring and underwhelming.
What does it matter to ya?
When you got a job to do
You got to do it well
You got to give the other fella hell!
And anytime you feel the pain
Hey Jude, refrain
Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders
For well you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder
In the classic rock scene, there’s a saying “There are rock stars, and then there are Bob (Dylan) and Paul (McCartney)”. Once you’ve seen him live, you’d know why.
But of course, music is personal and intuitive. The right music always comes to one at the right time in one’s life. The music you love says a lot about who you are.
Thank you Paul (… and John, and George, and Ringo).
Charm and Wit… two rare qualities on the music scene.