Nicholas Bate is writing a wonderful series of 100 posts on the Fab Four. I can’t wait for the book. In the meantime, my big Beatles memories:
I was born in 1964, with a sister 8 years older than me and a brother 11 years older. Both Beatles nuts (plus Clapton, Rory Gallagher and Flamenco guitar for the brother; Simon & Garfunkel, George Benson and Santana for the sister; jazz from Pop.) Great, great house to grow up in. Top of the Pops was a religious experience every week for us and I was always allowed to stay up for it, even as a tiny wee fellow.

One of my earliest memories is Paul at the piano singing Hey Jude to close TOTP – and going on, and on, and on … All You Need is Love on the Our World hook-up. The rooftop [Nicholas’ post brought back such memories of that!] The thrill as a new 45 would come into the house and be played over and over and over on the RadioGram. The Beatles played the Adephi cinema in Dublin in 1963 or 1964 and my father wouldn’t bring my sister – not even to go to the gig, just to stand in the street outside. and … be there! The silent treatment she gave him for that omission became quite a legend in our house.

Imagine my delight when I checked my younger (9) daughter’s library in iTunes recently and found that her most listened to song was Blackbird. Westlife zero. Boyzone zero. Girls Aloud, a handful of plays. Blackbird, over 60.

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My wife gave me the most wonderful 40th birthday present a few years back – she brought me to Liverpool. We did the Magical Mystery Tour and I spent hour upon hour in the Beatles Story Museum, reading every card and listening to every piece of VO. A magical weekend. When we stopped at Penny Lane, I got chatting with young tour guide on the MMT bus and he told me a lovely lovely story:

A few weeks before my visit the bus was pulling away from Albert Dock when a taxi came screeching up and two middle-aged Japanese gentlemen came spilling out, signalling frantically to Les the driver and the young guide. They very decently held the bus up for a few minutes while the Japanese gentlemen raced into the Museum and bought tickets for the MMT. Then they settled into the Tour and snapped pictures and got excited along with everyone else on the bus. The tour guide got chatting with the two gentlemen and asked them how they had come to arrive at the last minute that way.

“We have just arrived from Tokyo,” they said. “We flew into Heathrow and straight up to John Lennon and straight into a taxi and straight here. We have been friends for 40 years. We met as boys with a shared love for the Beatles music and we decided that there could be no better way to celebrate 40 years of friendship than to come here and see all the places our heroes, the men who cemented our friendship, came from.” How marvellous, says the tour guide, where are you staying? “We’re not staying. We are both Salarymen and we have to be back in Tokyo immediately. So as soon as the magical mystery tour finishes, we are going back to John Lennon airport and straight back to Heathrow for our flight to Tokyo.”

Wow. The trip meant a lot to me and I thought I loved the Beatles, but … wow!

Go and read Nicholas’ series – even if you are not a hardcore Beatles fan, his writing in this series is so evocative, it will gladden your heart. You can find it here.