Like many, I thought his tunes were more substantial than his partner’s, though Lennon-McCartney was arguably the greatest musical collaboration since the first man taught a second to whistle.
Nonetheless, I gladly ponied up the $250 for a first tier seat near the rear of the new Cowboy stadium last night.
Fortunately, the band was flanked by two 8-10 story video screens of amazing resolution.
I was treated along with Some 36,000 other fans, eight to 80 (I’m not kidding), to a sustained two-and-a-half-hour visit of my early years led by Paul McCartney.
Because I don’t like big crowds (and the human race for the most part, especially in mega numbers), I seldom attend concerts, but seeing McCartney was as much history and archeology as it was entertainment. Never having seen the Beatles in parts or in sum, it was probably my last chance. It it rumored that last night was McCartney’s last performance in the U.S.
The Beatles (and the Stones to a significant, but lesser extent) were responsible for the sound track of my youth, so with the memorized tunes in my ear and a flood of wonderful memory-movies playing in my head, I actually enjoyed the crowd.
Chatting a bit and on the move the entire night, McCartney favored the throng with dozens of songs and a 20-minute double encore; a consummate professional backed by talented, young band-mates not yet born when he wrote most of the evening’s tunes.
Fall, 1963. One of my classmates’ brother was in the entertainment biz in L.A. and he sent her two pre-album, Beatles 45 demos with no “B” sides, boldly marked “Not For Sale.”
One was "I Want to Hold Your Hand", I forget the second. How I wished I’d have talked her out of them.
I’d heard them via minimal radio play just a few times… they were largely unknown, but I was knocked out. I knew instantly “Beatle music” was amazingly different and thank gawd, a galaxy removed from The Beach Boys.
Around the holidays Capitol rush-released “I Want to Hold Your Hand” after a news broadcast about “Beatlemania” in the UK triggered a sudden and enormous demand, and the rest, as they say….
Most today doubt they ever existed.
Used, it cost me $50 when minimum wage was $1.25. New, I think they were about $80.
Last night I was happy or content—I get those mixed up; each/either, are infrequent life emotions for me.
I recall a grousing conversation I had with my Dad about the Beatles.
I argued that The Boys couldn’t be lumped together with “that loud kids’ music” of 60s pop that exploded when I was in high school due in large part to the band originally known as “The Quarrymen.”
“Everyone will be listening to these same songs for the rest of my life,” I insisted.
Bold prediction for a 16-year-old? I suppose, but I absolutely knew that I was right.
And judging by the fact that a good 50-60% of the 36,000 fans last night were under 35, I was far too conservative in my long ago prediction.
To date The Beatles record sales are over 1 billion units worldwide.
And that’s just the nine years of the Lennon-McCartney/The Beatles career.
Just a few of their mind-bending music records:
- Longest span of Top Ten singles--"Cash Box" history ("I Want To Hold Your Hand" - January 25, 1964 to "Real Love" - March 30, 1996 - 32 years, 2 months, 5 days.)
- Group with most weeks--Cash Box albums chart (722 weeks up to 1974).
- Group with most weeks--Cash Box singles chart (601 weeks up to 1986).
- Group with most weeks---Record World albums chart (849 weeks to 1982).
- Group with most weeks---Record World singles chart (520 weeks to 1980).
- Most no. 1 singles--Record World Top 100 charts (23 no.1s).
- Most no. 1 albums--Record World albums charts (17 no.1 albums).
- Most weeks at no. 1--Record World albums chart (123 weeks at no. 1).
As I watched and listened, I thought how amazing it must be to be McCartney; still near the top of his game, wearing his fame and age gracefully and with the same trademark, sly “cheekiness” of his early years. Yes, amazing, but amid all the fame and money, there are tragedies and ghosts, brought home last night as McCartney dedicated songs to wife Linda who passed away from cancer in 1998, John Lennon murdered in 1980, and George Harrison who succumbed to cancer in 2001.
McCartney and the Beatles were there from almost the very start…. for my first real kiss (shared with the lovely TSC on a brisk evening in late 1963), my first drivers’ license, first car, a 1965 high school football championship, in joyous good times and in the worst of times; my many ghosts stand nearby reading over my shoulder as I write.
Summer—1969, Quang Nam, Republic of South Vietnam.
With the Beatles’ break-up only weeks away (not just ironic, but eerie as far as I’m concerned), Don and were laying out in the open in the middle of the Mike Company position on a warm, moonless night.
We decided to contest our respective Beatle song memories. I would later write:
BEATLES IN THE NIGHT
long after dusk,
savoring thoughts of home
songs mouth to ear,
Don and I whispered softly
in Charlie's backyard
during the second verse of
"In My Life"
…. third and fourth
in a two man foxhole,
in our heads