Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It Was 30 Years Ago Today

Before I hung up my rock and roll shoes and became a mother, I bought my last two record albums, "vinyl" in today's lingo.  In November of 1980, I took some of my tips I'd earned waiting tables and bought Lennon's newly released  Double Fantasy.I loved the album, at least I loved Lennon's songs: I used to get up after every Lennon song and lift the needle to skip over Yoko Ono's songs, as I never did acquire a taste for her music.  On the other hand Lennon's songs were among the best he ever wrote:  "(Just Like) Starting Over," "Watching the Wheels," "Woman," and "Beautiful Boy," his tribute to Sean.  From that song we get quintessential Lennon wisdom:  "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."  Three weeks after Double Fantasy was released, John Lennon was assassinated.  I was in the restaurant busing a table when I heard the tragic news.  Aside from his death ending the speculation of whether The Beatles would ever get back together again, this was astounding news.  Yeah, there were lots of political assassinations in the sixties, but who murders a rock star?

Meanwhile somewhere in England, George Harrison was recording Somewhere in England.Released in June of 1981, this was the last album I bought.  (Three months later while I was busy with my plans of becoming a rock journalist, life happened and my own beautiful baby was born, so I stopped spending money on records and started spending money on diapers.)  Somewhere in England includes George's poignant tribute to his fallen bandmate, "All Those Years Ago."  The hit song with its allusions to The Beatles' song "All You Need Is Love" and to Lennon's song "Imagine"  features Ringo playing drums and Paul singing backup vocals.  It would be the last time the three recorded together until they reunited in the mid-nineties for The Beatles Anthology.

And then there were two.  George Harrison is no longer with us either:  He died of cancer on November 29, 2001.  Today, on the anniversary of Lennon's death, I remember my two favorite Beatles--and my youth--by playing those last two albums I purchased all those years ago.

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